Tom Cannavan's   

value wine archives 2005-2006

Current value wines are here. Link to older archives at bottom of page.

white - red - rosé - sparkling - sweet

 white wines

Oak Valley (South Africa) Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Wine of the week 15/10/06. The nose has quite a depth of blossom, peach and a verdant spike of green that punches through. On the palate this is very cool, linear and composed, with lemon and lime flavours piercing through suggestions of more tropical, melon and peach, and a shimmering core of acidity that definitely suggests cool, clear minerality. It is subtley shaded this wine, and will marry with many foods just as well as it sips on its own. A lovely example of a relatively new style of wine from the Cape. £9.95, Great Western Wine.

Castello Banfi (Italy) Pinot Grigio 2005
Wine of the week 01/10/06. Lovely nose of slightly floral, slightly peachy, melon and ripe pear fruit with just a nuance of straw. On the palate it has beautiful fruit: it is almost tropical, with a hint of pineapple richness, but the overriding impression if of ripe, juicy pears and a tugging cut of citrus acidity that slices through to the finish. A very nicely balanced wine with a bit of real character. £7.99, Majestic.

Storm Bird (Australia) Colombard Sauvignon Riesling 2004
Wine of the week 17/09/06. Delightful, no-nonsense quaffer that is as crisp as winter's morning, yet has shimmering fruit all packed into just 12% alcohol by volume. The nose is aromatic and grassy, with vibrant gooseberry and lychee notes, and plenty of sherbetty pazzaz. On the palate it is dry, with succulent Sauvignon Blanc-like fruit, with tropical overtones but shot through with zipping acidity and plenty of grassy freshness. Buy by the half dozen from Oddbins, where their permanent 20% discount brings the price down to just £4.23. £5.29, Oddbins.

The Naked Grape (France) Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Wine of the week 27/08/06. Fine Sauvignon nose with gooseberry and elderflower notes, a nice nettly streak, and crisp orchard fruits. On the palate it is punchy and fresh, with some vivid herbaceous character and swathe of lime and lemon fruit. It has a good, rich texture through the mid palate, and the fruit just hints at more tropical ripeness, before a core of lemon and mineral acidity sweeps through the finish. A nicely balanced, food friendly wine. £5.99, Waitrose.

Bonny Doon (USA) Le Cigare Blanc 2003
Wine of the week 20/08/06. The striking impression on the nose is of intense, schisty minerality, backed up by honeysuckle and a fine, peachy ripeness of fruit, with a background of buttery vanillin. On the palate this is fairly massive, with terrifically bold, assertive fruit, a leesy richness of texture, and a vice-like grip of intense minerality at its core. This is priced somewhat above our normal £10 limit, but that is allowed now and again for a class act such as this that will also cellar. £15.95, or £14.35 by the case,
Berry Bros & Rudd. (more)

Concha y Toro (Chile) Winemaker's Lot 17 Gewürztraminer 2004
Wine of the week 13/08/06. There's a vinbrant core of orangey fruit, but grapefruit and something herbal also makes an appearance before characteristic varietal notes of lychee and exotic spices. On the palate it is full- to medium-bodied, with a real sense of richness and powerful intensity, though it has 13.5% alcohol, which is modest for Gewurtz. Fine citrus fruit and plenty of those spicy notes in the finish keep this dry, personality-packed wine tantalising to the end. £7.49, Oddbins, or £5.99 by the half-case.

L'Avenir (South Africa) Chenin Blanc 2005
Wine of the week 02/07/06. Lovely nose: rich, mealy, with plenty of nutty and apple fruit and a sense of depth. On the palate there's an immediate sweetness, with plenty of racy, crisp pear and apple and a little hint of more tropical ripeness. Lovely acidity is crisp but integrated and supportive. Beautiful stuff. £7.49, Great Grog, Andrew Chapman,, Wine Raks. See all stockists on (more)

Clifford Bay Estate (New Zealand) Marlborough Riesling 2004
Wine of the week 25/06/06. A hint of marmalade and honey, but waxy lime aromas, a whiff of Paraffin and floral, lighter aromas dominate. On the palate it is quite weighty, with a touch of a waxy, pear and apple skin richness, loads of searing lime fruit and acidity, and just a hint of residual sugar that adds a little fat and texture before a long, tantalisingly just off-dry finish. Very nice drinking this, and delicious for summer. £9.95 See all stockists on (more)

Domaine des Grosses Pierres (France) Sancerre 2005
Wine of the week 11/06/06. Beautifully clean, piercing lemon and lime fruit, with an undertow of grassiness and nettles, and a little touch of floral, lychee perfume. On the palate this wine is all about decisive, bracing lemony fruit and purity: it has a wonderfully racy character, that gets the gastric juices flowing, and fills the mouth with elegant fruit and taut acidity. There are notes of guava and nectarine that start to add richness on the mid-palate, in a delightful text-book wine. £6.99, Aldi.

Sarotto (Italy) Gavi Cru La Maddelena 2004
Wine of the week 28/05/06. Pear and ripe melon skin aromas, but also a nutty or honeyed nuance and an oatmeally quality. On the palate there is an immediately sweet rush of burstingly ripe, grape and stone fruit flavours with plenty of richness and fruit sweetness. But a spine of tangy, citrus and mineral acidity soon starts to cut through, giving a savoury dryness to the mid-palate, before the honeyed weight fills out the finish. £9.25, Berry Bros & Rudd and, or £8.32 if purchasing by the case. (more)

Errazuriz (Chile) Unoaked Chardonnay 2005
Wine of the week 23/04/06. Beautifully creamy apricot kernal and oatmeal notes, with plenty of orange and ripe, deep, apricot fruit. On the palate it has fine balance, with a medium-bodied but rich texture. A flood of cool, elegant orchard fruits and a seamless underpinning of acidity freshens the palate without detracting from the full, rich, but clean fruity character just hinting at a pineapple tropicality. £7.99, Thresher (3 @ £5.32 each).

Quinta de Covela (Portugal) Eschola White 2004
Wine of the week 09/04/06. Particularly succulent nose, where ripe, juicy pear aromas are underpinned by a little mealy richness and highlighted by floral nuances. On the palate it is quite forceful and direct (13.5% ABV) with a full, juicy, rounded palate of pear and apple fruit that is shot through with vibrant acidity, yet textured and layered with minerality and subtle, waxy lime fruit. Long and focused, this is fresh, beautifully balanced and delightful. £8.99, Corney & Barrow.

Tohu (New Zealand) Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2004
Wine of the week 19/03/06. Notes of nectarine skins and ripe, almost tropical fruit, and with a cut of grassy, zesty herbs and green bean aromatics, but in a controlled and quite elegant style. On the palate it is shot through with vivid lime and lemon fruit and acidity, with the more tropical, sweeter fruit pushed way into the background, and a steely, racy core of acidity extending and bracing the finish. A lovely example of the Marlborough styte, and very well priced. £7.99 - £9.99 Wine Rack (where it's on three for two offer), Makro, See all stockists on (more)

Livingstone (South Africa) Chenin Colombard 2005
Wine of the week 12/03/06. Bursting with vibrant, fresh, uncomplicated fruit that is sappy and zesty. It is mouthfilling and has hints of guava and ripe ogen melon, balanced by crisp, refreshing apple acidity. At £3.99 and just 12.5% alcohol this is a lovely quaffer, and a mixed case with Livingstone's Ruby Cabernet and Chardoanny (both also £3.99) would make for excellent everyday drinking. £3.99 Great Grog (free UK delivery).

Old Tblisi (Georgia) Dry White Wine 2004
Wine of the week 05/03/06. Gentle, succulent, ripe pear and melon fruitiness, with a hint of oatmeal. There's just a little floral perfumed note here too, but it is plays a very minor role. On the palate it is dry, fruity and fresh, something in the style of a French wine from the southwest. There is a straightforward fruitiness about this wine, and enough yellow pum acidity to make it a good match with seafoods, white pasta sauces and fish. £4.99, Sainsbury's Calais, Bristol Wine, Soho Wine Co, Peake Wines, Sussex Victuallers, Caves de Pyrene, Mortons.

Robert Mondavi (USA) Woodbridge Chardonnay 2003
Wine of the week 12/02/06. Exemplary Californian Chardonnay, filled with burstingly ripe, pineapple and orange fruit on the nose, all licked by a smoky, toasty layering of oak, that sits nicely beneath the fruit. On the palate those tropical, superripe flavours continue, and there is a certain sweetness, but the medium-body and rush of racy lemon and lime acidity cuts through the fat, giving this an extended, juicy mid-palate, before the vanilla and spice of the wood bolsters the finish. £6.49, and widely available, including Asda, Sainsbury's, Somerfield, Tesco and Waitrose.

 red wines

Battle of Bosworth (Australia) Shiraz Viognier 2005
Wine of the week 22/10/06. Cedary, savoury note to vibrant black fruit and just a a glimpse of something tarry and liquoricy. The Viognier component is probably responsible for a floral, high-toned fruit note. On the palate a raft of lush, spicy, mouthfilling berry fruit flavours washes over the tongue. A plush, dark chocolate and plummy note is deep and sonorous, but there's life and an edge of brightness about this wine too, with spices, nice acidity and a chewy edge of tannin. Absolutely delightful stuff. £9.99, Oddbins.

Premius (Bordeaux) Merlot Cabernet 2004
Wine of the week 09/10/06. There's a nice, typically bloody note to warm, autumnal berry fruit on the nose, with some cedar and a fudge-like note. On the palate this strikes a nice balance, with quite rich cherry and bramble fruit, and a savoury core of crisp acidity and mellow but perky tannins. It is harmonious, the oak adding a vanillin warmth into a decent, if moderate finish. A lovely drop at the price. Booths, £6.99 but on offer at £4.99 until October 10th. The Premius Sauvignon Blanc is also on offer in Tesco until October 10th, down from £5.99 to £4.49, and is a well-made, zesty Sauvignon with leafy and lemony fruit.

Chain of Ponds (Australia) Novelle 2003
Wine of the week 24/09/06. A blend of Barbera, Grenache and Sangiovese grown in the cool Adelaide Hills, this unoaked wine has a really seductive, velvety nose of crushed red berries and exotic spices, with a hint of somethig gamy and earthy too. On the palate it delivers an absolute rush of very ripe, very striking cherry fruit, with a plush, jammy sweetness, but a fine counterbalancing strike of roughening, grippy tannins and keen acidity. This is lively and delicious in the mouth, with a long, juicy finish. £6.49, Booths.

Cloof (South Africa) Bush Vines CPS 2004
Wine of the week 10/09/06. The nose is dominated by the Shiraz, giving pepper and spice along with bright cherry and raspberry fruit, and a touch of earthy, vegetal, Pinotage character. On the palate a very soft cloak of cedary oak flavours is layered over ripe, juicy cherry and black berry fruits, with plenty of black pepper and clove-like spice and a robust, earthy tannic structure. There is lovely freshness too, with good acidity and the bright fruit profile persisting. Delightful stuff, and well priced. £7.99 - £8.99, direct by the case from, and from Secret Cellar in Kent, Vicki's of Cobham, BV Liquormart London, Manor Cellars Horam. (more)

Finca Flichman (Argentina) Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2004
Wine of the week 06/08/06. Deep, meaty, plum and crushed blackberry nose, with cedary components and a dark, raisiny quality. On the palate this is a very substantial wine, with a thick, mouth-coating smear of black fruits that are ripe, sweet-edged and delicious, but all hewn from a rich, robust tannic core. There is massive grip that fuses with spice, pepper and leathery notes to make for a real mouthful of wine, but all nicely balanced and composed. This chunky but delightful red would be fair value at its £7.99 starting price, but that falls to £4.99 on Thresher/WineRack's '3 for 2' deal, making it a star buy.

Sabai (Thailand) Wine Spritzer
Wine of the week 31/07/06. Sabai has really come into its own during the past few weeks of tropical temperatures and humidity. Although new to this country, Sabai has been around in Thailand since 1986, and blends local white wine made from the Malaga grape grown on floating vineyards, with hibiscus fruit from Thailand's northern provinces. It is gently effervescent and the sweet, soft, almost strawberry-like flavours are cut with delicate acidity in a very easy-going and fun drink. £3.99 for four 275ml bottles, Tesco and Sainsbury's.

Chileno (Chile) Carmenère "Gold" 2005
Wine of the week 17/07/06. Beguiling nose, that is intensely creamy, with blueberry pie and juicy blackcurrant notes, and a smooth sheen of tobacco and cedary spices. On the palate it offers a big, lush, mouthfilling flood of ripe berry fruit: this has real decadence and creamy-textured weight, with plenty of spice and coffee adding depth and richness, and a soft structure of supple tannins and low acidity giving a plush, velvety character. It has masses of fruit concentration to power through the finish, in a joyous and impressive red at a very modest price. £5.99 Somerfield.

Buckingham Est (Australia) 'Crown Duals' Cabernet-Petit Verdot 2005
Wine of the week 09/07/06. Soft, enveloping nose of mulberry and spice, with clove and cinammon, and lots of autumnal berry warmth. On the palate it is medium-bodied, and although that raft of spicy, mulled wine and rich berry fruit continues, there is a juicy, brighter quality too, with a bit of cut to the wine through the mid-palate, with gentle tannins and decent acidity. The finish allows the smoky, spicy character to dominate again, but the overall effect is of an easy-drinking, fruity wine, but one with a bit of light and shade to it. £4.99, Morrisons.

Lammershoek (South Africa) Zinfandel Syrah 2003
Wine of the week 18/06/06. The nose is a pot-pourri of summer berries, fat Morello cherry, exotic sandalwood spice and all sorts of high-toned, floral nuances. It floods across the palate with a wash of spicy, deep, mulberry and plum fruit, all wrapped in toabcco, cinammon and clove. 18 months in barrique has given masses of charry toast and rich, chewy tannins, but the ripeness and fullness of fruit is well up to the task of balancing the wine. Hedonistic and delicious. £9.75, Swig, Jeroboams, Stainton. See all stockists on (more)

Concha y Toro (Chile) Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
Wine of the week 04/06/06. Lovely cedary and pencil-shaving nose, with a dusty quality to the blackcurrant fruit and a touchy of classic Cabernet leafiness. On the palate it is juicy and lively, with plenty of fruit packed into the mid-palate, a fine-grained, supple tannin quality, and notes of clove and tarry spices in the finish. It is fruity and forward, yet the acidity snaps in nicely. For a wine that is so widely available the quality is terrific. £5.99, Oddbins, Thresher, Asda, Budgens, Booths, Morrisons, Sainsbury's, Spar, Londis, Tesco, Waitrose, Somerfield.

Brown Brothers (Australia) Limited Release Merlot 2002
Wine of the week 14/05/06. There are aromas of deep, plummy, stewed prune fruit and spice. On the palate that huge hit of oak and ripe fruit sweetness floods across the tongue, with coffee and plum flavours and a supple but background tannic presence. The balance on this wine is good, and whilst I wouldn't recommend extended cellaring, it is also very composed and will drink well for quite some time yet. This seems to be a bit of a bargain.
£11.99, on offer at £5.99 until May 27th Booths.

Festivo (Argentina) Malbec 2003
Wine of the week 07/05/06. Ephemeral floral and rose-hip edge on the nose of this bottling, even though it has a bruising 14.3% alcohol. There's a solid underpinning of bramble and mulberry, spicy fruit. On the palate it has plenty of tannin, but it is chocolaty, rounded and so full of thick, supple fruit that it remains balanced. Acidity is rather lost under all that heft, but it is there into a leathery, rich and spicy finish. £6.50, Friarwood Wines, London & Edinburgh (020 7736 2628).

Stone Road (France) Shiraz 2004
Wine of the week 30/04/06. This southern French red sends out a deliberately New World call signal. The nose brims with spicy, engagingly peppery fruit suggesting ripe cherry and black plum. On the palate it is quite deep and smooth, with an edge of tart, juicy, cherry-skin acidity and a bite of tannin adding savoury freshness. £4.49, Co-op.

Château Reysson (France) Haut-Médoc 2002
Wine of the week 16/04/06. Attractive nose, flooded with charming berry and bramble fruit and a delicious undertow of coffee and pencil-shavings. The palate has creamy, forward, lip-smacking fruit with a chocolaty depth, plenty of plush, ripe berries, and a very nice supporting structure of cedary, fine tannins and refreshing cherry skin acidity. There is plenty of soft, east fruit here, but also fine structure and a supple, savoury edge. £9.99 Tesco.

Poggio Nibbiale (Italy) Morellino di Scansano 2004
Wine of the week 02/04/06. Beautifully sensuous wine, where the plush, dark, luxurious cherry and plum scents of the nose entwine with a tobacco and sweet fudge character. On the palate this is fresh and vibrant, with an earthy texture and a solid background of roughening tannins supports plenty of glossy black cherry fruit. Long and savoury, this is very fine Tuscan red that will cellar, but is crying out for a steak or rump of lamb right now. £9.95, or £8.95 by the case,
Berry Bros & Rudd. (more)

le Freak (France) Shiraz Viognier 2004
Wine of the week 26/03/06. There is plenty of ripe, spicy black fruit, and the Viognier component is not too evident . On the palate it is quite richly textured, with a mouthfilling fruitiness, and a puckering background of tannin. A sweetness of fruit, and suggestion of very ripe berries lingers n the mouth, in a very nicely made wine that integrates the two grapes well (these are co-fermented rather than blended). Inexpensive, robust, fruity and harmonious. £5.99, The Co-op.

Doña Dominga (Chile) Carmènere Gran Reserva 2003
Wine of the week 26/02/06. Astonishingly intense nose, with the essence of bright cherry, kirsch and violets soaring from the glass before a deeper, plum, spice and chocolate character starts to emerge. On the palate it just floods over the mouth with massively concentrated, creamy fruit. The combination of its full, generous texture and the sweetness and ripeness of fruit is almost overwhelming. Gradually, the coffee bean and dark chocolate qualities of the oak and supple, sweet tannins begin to fill in and add support, with a grippy quality just as it finishes. Cherry acidity and a structured framework of tannins and dark fruit add heft and length. £9.99, Oddbins.

Vidal Estate (New Zealand) Syrah 2004
Wine of the week 19/02/06. The nose is quite reserved, with muted, meaty tones but is dense and savoury. The palate has a densely-textured, quite creamy mouth-feel, with red fruits and a peppery, meaty quality. Good length and balance here too. The 2003 vintage might still be in some stores, but is well worth trying if the 2004 has yet to appear. £9.99 Noel Young, Valvona & Crolla, Thos. Peatling. See all stockists on
wine-searcher (more)

Celler de Capçanes (Spain) Lasendal 2003
Wine of the week 22/01/06. The nose has an absolutely haunting smokiness and depth of plush, plummy fruit. There are elements of dark chocolate and tobacco, and little highlights of Thyme and wild, floral notes. On the palate it has a massive fruit presence, with a ripe, sweet, full palette of black and red fruit flavours, a delicious lick of mocha coffee, and plenty of savoury, supple tannins that are warming and chocolaty. With good acidity, this is a terrific wine from a brilliant co-op, performing like a star estate. £9.66, or only £6.95 if buying a case, Wineandco. See all stockists at (more)

Tabali (Chile) Merlot Reserva 2003
Wine of the week 08/01/06. Suffused with those aromatic, spicy notes, along with a pool of vanilla and milky coffee and ripe, rich, berry fruits. On the palate it is perhaps a touch too oaky and smoky for my taste, but there is fine concentration and depth here, with a great firm-edged, juicy quality of mulberry, blackcurrant and bramble fruit. Tannins are very nicely placed: they sit just in the background, but give good, firm structure. There is a nice juiciness about the acidity than keeps the finish fresh. A lot of wine for your money. £7.99 Selected Asda, Roberson.


Flagstone (South Africa) Fish Hoek Rosé 2005
Wine of the week 21/05/06. An unusual blend of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Pinotage and 13% Shiraz, it has a beautiful pomegranate colour and a nose just brimming with rose-hip and cherry, and soft, elegant summer berry fruits. Served well-chilled, the palate has a burst of ripe, fresh fruit that floods across the tongue, with a decisive but very nicely integrated acidity and any hint of creamy fruit sweetness tempered by its dry, savoury finish. £5.99, Oddbins.

 sparkling wines

Philippe Michel (France) Crémant du Jura 2004
Wine of the week 03/09/06. Mouthwatering pear and apple nose, with creamy, seductive yeasty notes. There are plenty of tiny bubbles and it has a good, fresh but luxurious mousse on the palate. It delivers a dazzling array of crisp, tingling, apple and lemon fruit flavours, but broadens out with some nutty richness and a hint of tropical sweetness, before plenty of incisive acidity kicks in. This is perhaps slightly less dry than previous vintages, but it is beautifully balanced and very stylish fizz. Well done again Aldi. £5.49, all Aldi stores.

 sweet wines

Blandy's (Portugal) Madeira Alvada 5 Year Old
Wine of the week 21/01/07. An aromatic wine, it displays little floral notes and quite delicate stewed fruit and nut aromas. On the palate it is sweet, but there’s a tart orangy quality to the acidity, like Oxford English marmalade, that gives it more tang and a more vivacious character. The finish is bright and the acidity is crisp in a wine that is both modern and classic, but above all, delicious. £8.99, Waitrose. See all stockists on

Value Wine Archives 2004-2005
Value Wine Archives 2003-2004
Value Wine Archives 2002-2003
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