Tom Cannavan's   

value wine archives 2003-2004

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

white - red - rosé - sparkling - sweet

 white wines

Lingenfelder (Germany) Bee Label Morio Muskat 2003
Wine of the week 23/10/04. The nose is filled with soft, downy peach-skin aromas and a delicate perfume. The palate is nicely balanced, with lots of sweetness but a raft of zesty mineral and lime and a fleshy mid-palate. The weight of succulent apricot fruit pushes through to the long finish in a distinctive and very enjoyable wine. £6.99 Oddbins.

Chiaro di Luna (Italy) Bianco di Custoza
Wine of the week 10/10/04. The nose is crisp and citrussy, with a little suggestion of creamy oatmeal, and a hint of sweeter tropical fruit. On the palate there is a sweet candied edge to the fruit, but the powering force is vivid and vivacious lemon fruit that is waxy and bold. There's a nice bite of acidity making this very juicy and mouthwatering, and an ideal partner to creamy pastas or a dish of char-grilled prawns doused in butter and lemon.
£3.99 Somerfield.

Monteney (France) Graves 2002
Wine of the week 26/09/04. Succulent pear and melon fruit, a streak of lemon, and just a background hint of vanillin oak adding a creaminess. The palate is solidly packed with citrus and crisp red apple fruit, in a big, zesty mouthful of flavour that is powerful through the mid palate, and just fills out into the finish with a little more of that creamy oak quality. Acidity is well-balanced, and this concentrated, tangy white wine is bottled in screwcap to retain plenty of zing. £3.99 Aldi.

Villa Maria (New Zealand) Cellar Selection Chardonnay 2002
Wine of the week 05/09/04. The nose is a gorgeous melange of ripe green fig, cashew nuts and toasty aromatics. On the palate it is concentrated and quite powerful, with a wrapping of warming, oaky flavours, but a heart of clean, limpid melon and crisp orchard fruit. The sweetness of the fruit is offset by a big rush of grapefruity acidity, and the alcoholic concentration (14%) helps make the long finish powerful, savoury but beautifully balanced. Excellent. £8.99 Oddbins.

Villa Malizia (Italy) Pinot Grigio 2003
Wine of the week 22/08/04. Straw, a touch of honeysuckle, and soft pear fruit on the nose with hints of both exotic, ripe nectarine, and a subtle floral nuance. On the palate it washes over the tongue with an easy-drinking fruitiness, but there is a nutty quality too. The fruit is again ripe pear and crisp apple, but those suggestions of sweeter, more tropical flavours linger on the tongue, and there is crisp, nimble acidity and a tiny hint of spice into the finish. This is uncomplicated, punter-friendly stuff, but we all need a bit of that from time to time. Lovely. £3.99 Aldi.

Cape Grace (South Africa) Sauvignon Blanc / Chenin Blanc 2003
Wine of the week 08/08/04. There's an interesting creamy note of custard powder on the nose at first, then a bursting fruit impression of crunchy green apples and a more tropical, melon and peachy fruit. On the palate it is quite rich and full-bodied, with a silky mouthfeel and a weight of ripe fruits. A punch of quite fat and oily, but cleansing lemon fruit and acidity cuts through the finish, with a just a hint of Sauvignon's herbal character. This is very easy drinking and just off-dry. £3.99 Waitrose.

Snake Creek (Australia) Chardonnay/Semillon 2003
Wine of the week 11/07/04. 10% Colombard in the blend is key on the nose giving an edge of real gooseberry and nettle pungency, before quite a vivid core of waxy lemon and gently toasty fruit. On the palate it is very vibrant, with a lick of grapefruit and lime against ripe, sweet tropical fruit all fleshed out with a little cashew and oatmeal from a short time in oak. With a nice mouthfeel and quite a long finish, this is highly recommended. £3.99, Oddbins.

Hacienda San Jose (Argentina) Sauvignon Blanc 2002
Wine of the week 04/07/04. The nose has a slightly oily fatness, with lychee and tropical fruits, and a hint of gooseberry crunch. On the palate there's lots of lemon and lime verve, with a hint of herbal, grassy quality and a broad texture on the mid palate. There's a little bit of alcoholic heat on the finish (13.2%) but that, with the wine's weight and the balanced acidity, equips it to take on grilled goat's cheese or a creamy risotto. £3.99, Aldi.

Simon Gilbert (Australia) Verdelho 2002
Wine of the week 23/05/04. Attractive nose of lemon and lime, with a doughy quality and beneath a gentle spice and delicate notes of white flowers. On the palate this is again delicate in flavour; there's almost a sweetness to the fruit, like jelly beans and nectarine juice, and then a dry white fruit character fills in, with plenty of crisp, fresh pear and apple. It has medium-body and a nice leesy texture, with some waxiness and richness emerging. It has nice acidity too, with lemony notes. Try matching to Thai and Chinese food. £4.99 Safeway. See stockists on (more).

Domaine la Combe Blanche (France) Four à Chaux de la Combe 2000
Wine of the week 25/04/04. A blend of the Rhône's Roussanne and Viognier with a touch of Chardonnay, it is aged in a mix of new and old barriques. The nose opened out to reveal a honeyed sense of limpidity, with plenty of creamy peach and yellow plum, still with some vanillin, custardy oak on top. The palate is full-bodied and chewy, with rich, bold fruit flavours suggesting melon and very ripe pears, but with a pineapply, tropical sweet edge. Quite unusal, and very good indeed. £8.75.

Château de la Fessardière (France) Muscadet 2003
Wine of the week 11/04/04. The nose is subtle and mineral, with some nutty elements and succulent, firm, pear fruit. There are little notes of salt and straw. On the palate it is very pure and concentrated; there's a real spine of steely, lemony character wrapped with supple, dry, melon and crisp pear. It is fresh and appetising, with bracing minerality and real complexity. £4.99 Sainsbury's.

André Bonhomme (Burgundy) Viré-Clessé cuvée spéciale 2002
Wine of the week 14/03/04. The nose is intense and vibrant, with a shimmering quality of lime and honeyed lemon fruit, and little notes of herbs and buttered toast. On the palate it is rich and full-textured, with a lovely oatmeally quality and a broad underpinning of mellow, background oak. The fruit is equally vibrant in the mouth, with real concentration and elegance, and plenty of tropical sweetness. Perfect white Burgundy, combining copious fruit with elegance and structure £9.99, Domaine Direct.

Inycon (Italy) Grecanico 2001
Wine of the week 07/03/04. A certain leafy pungency on the nose, but fairly restrained, with notes of almond and straw, and some of that citrus quality. On the palate it is really quite decisive, with a concentrated fruit quality that has a real tell-tale Italian bitter almond, or even Campari-like edge, to cool pear and lemon fruit. Though only 12% alcohol, this is a powerful wine thanks to a leesy, waxy concentration. £4.99, Safeway.

Peter Lehmann (Australia) Wildcard Chardonnay 2002
Wine of the week 18/01/04. This wine is unoaked, but 11% Semillon, plus an enriching regime of lees ageing and stirring, has given the wine complexity and an oatmeally quality that adds lots of warmth and texture to melon and white peach fruit. Thre is a real edge of sweetness on the palate, but those leesy, lightly waxy flavours and a great thrust of lemony acidity really kicks in, giving the wine power and a decisive finish, whilst it stays easy to drink and food friendly. £5.49 Oddbins, and Budgens.

Feudi di San Gregorio (Italy) Fiano di Avellino 2002
Wine of the week 28/12/03. Crystaline purity of fruit on the nose; luscious notes of peach, pear and almond, with hints of honeysuckle and spices. The fruit on the palate has a rich texture and hints of honey, but it is a the core of pure pear and apple fruit and shimmering acidity that dominates. This is a limpid and delicious unoaked wine of great poise and finesse. £9.99 Waitrose.

Santa Rita (Chile) Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2003
Wine of the week 14/12/03. Nose of lemon and gooseberry, with a nettly quality and hint of sourness. There's a dry, elegant minerality too. On the palate this wine really has some backbone, with a decisive rasp of acidity that shoots through the mid-palate, and a flood of waxy, citrussy fruit. There are teasing glimpses of a mealier, richer texture and some sweeter fruit, but then that hammer-blow of mouthwatering lemon returns, as clean and bracing as you could ask for from a great Sancerre. Lovely, concentrated and impressive stuff. £6.99 Majestic.

Bonterra (California) white 2002
Wine of the week 30/11/03. The nose has plenty of Muscat character, along with a distinct impression of ripe ogen melon and a little nutty, peachy note. On the palate it is quite full-bodied, with a lovely zing of gooseberry and lime fruit, but all set against a fine, nutty apple background, with more of that ripe melon fruit and a well-balanced, quite generous acidity. A very distinctive and harmonious wine that is clean as a whistle. What's more, Booths Online are is offering £15 off an order of £50 or more for first-time customers. £6.99, Booths

Viña Caña (Spain) Rioja Blanco 2002
Wine of the week 09/11/03. Beautifully fresh and lemony, but with a touch of creamy, oaty quality and just the merest sheen of vanilla. On the palate it is quite full bodied and powerful, with a wonderful, juicy, zesty fruit character shot through with crisp citrus flavours, but also rounded-out with leesy richness and a big, generous mandarin orange and grapefruit acidity. Lovely stuff and well priced too. £4.49, Somerfield.

Tesco (France) Muscadet Sèvre et Maine 2002
Wine of the week 26/10/03. Fresh, vinous nose crammed with the scent of apples, even notes of richer, tropical fruit, and just a hint of cold, briny seas. There's a hint of freshly struck match, but it is not unpeasant. On the palate there's a prickle of C02, and a plenty of zesty, crisp, tart green apple and lemony fruit. It is quite rich in texture, and there's a hint of nutty leesiness. Really very nice, but crying out for a big bowl of mussels in white wine and cream, and plenty of crusty bread. £4.69 Tesco.

Domaine Begude (France) Limoux Chardonnay 2001
Wine of the week 12/10/03. The nose is absolutely like a good Meursault, with a creamy ground ginger and waxy quality over melon and green apple fruit. The palate has crisp white fruit flavours, with juicy apple to the fore, but there are notes of herbs and minerals too, and just a subtle support from nutty oak. It is long and has great balance, with a stripe of acidity running through to the finish. £7.99 Booths (Oddbins have the 2002).

Torres (Spain) Vina Esmeralda 2002
Wine of the week 28/09/03. Floral nose, with scents of summer flowers, musk, and a downy mango- and peach-skin perfume. On the palate there's a little spritz of carbon dioxide that gives a tingling impression, then a surprisingly dry palate of crunchy green apple fruit, with just little edges of more tropical, sweet nectarine and again, mango flavours.
Booths, Oddbins, Waitrose, Tesco, Unwins £5.49-£5.99

Les Jamelles (France) Viognier 2002
Wine of the week 07/09/03. Expressive nose of apricots and peaches, floral, blossom notes and a touch of butter and cream. On the palate it is nicely rich and full-textured without being blowsy, with a great pillowing breadth of pear and downy, peach skin fruit. This has a really sweet edge, but it is also set against adequate acidity so that this wine finishes balanced and clean, if soft and easy to drink. A really nicely made example of Viognier. £4.99 Co-op Stores.

Peter Lehmann (Australia) Barossa Semillon 2001
Wine of the week 24/08/03. The nose slowly unravels to reveal quite complex notes of lanolin, beeswax and honey. There is a core of lime and some orchard fruit. On the palate it is fresh and clean as a whistle (it is unoaked) but it is also surprisingly powerful, with a searing core of acidity that runs like a ramrod through zingy citrus fruit. This is very enjoyable now, but cellaring for five to eight years is also on the cards. Down from £5.49 to £3.99, Sainsbury's until 16th September. Also Oddbins, Safeway, Unwins.

Schlumberger (France) "S" Vin d'Alsace
Wine of the week 27/07/03. The nose is aromatic and vivacious, with lychee, citrus and tropical fruits, and little notes of summer flowers. On the palate a lovely weight of peach and pineapply fruit is cut with orange and tangerine acidity. There's even a little sense of waxy minerality, before a long, pure, sweetish finish. Excellent for oriental cuisine or for those who like a sweeter style. £5.99 down to £4.99 until August 23rd, Safeway.

Champs du Moulin (France) Colombard/Chardonnay 2002
Wine of the week 13/7/03. Fresh, herbal, gooseberry-tinged passionfruit aromas, with little floral nuances and some lemony zip. On the palate it is clean and very fresh, shot through with vivacious orange and lychee flavours, and crisply-defined apple fruit and acidity. Quite light, and perhaps missing a little punch if you want to be hyper-critical, it is nevertheless a cracking little summer wine that has really good staying power in the mouth and offers a lot for the money. £4.49, but on offer at £3.99, Great Grog.

 red wines

Diemersfontein (South Africa) Pinotage 2003
Wine of the week 25/07/04. Fabulously deep fresh-ground coffee and chocolaty plushness on the nose, with layers of ripe, bursting blackberries, vanilla-pods and plums. Onto the palate, the wine is medium-bodied, and packs a real bittersweet punch with Pinotage's hallmark astringency tempered by super-sweet raspberry and black fruit and more of that enveloping espresso character. The finish shows tight, grippy tannins and acidity, adding some nerve and cut to keep this overflowingly sweet wine tempered and savoury. £6.99 Waitrose.

Domaine de L'Ausseil (France) La Capitelle 2001
Wine of the week 27/06/04. Soaring nose with lifted aromas of kirsch, raspberry and Morello cherry, underpinned by a luscious black fruit depth and rounded, gentle and harmonious vanilla. On the palate it has a thick, concentrated texture and fabulously sweet attack of ripe plum and bursting damson fruit. There is spice and integrated toasty oak notes, and a breadth of fine structure and bittersweet tannins. Lovely balance too, and really great length. £10.70, Le-Midi.

Kaapzicht (South Africa) Classic Red 2002
Wine of the week 13/06/04. Big, quite old-fashioned, rustic red with notes of brambles, earth and spice and a pleasantly distant whiff of sillage. On the palate it is just beautiful stuff: fantastic gloss of sweet black fruits, currant and plum, with a lovely sense of ripeness and open-hearted warmth, and a balanced finish showing some mellow oak and tannin. Note: this wine will feature in the next
wine-pages-shop offer, June 17th - July 28th 2004 with even more off Great Grog's cracking price. Great Grog, £5.99. (more)

Château de Cesseras (France) Minervois La Livinière 2001
Wine of the week 06/06/04. Minty, sweet, bold, leathery fruit on the nose, backed-up by toasty oak and a lovely core of blackcurrant and damson plum. Concentrated and dense on the palate, it is rich, smooth and dark, with a svelte, polished appeal, lots of sweet chocolate-coated black fruit and a fine plummy depth. Tannins are fine and ripe, and the balance is excellent. Note: this wine features in
wine-pages-shop, June 17th - July 28th 2004. Berry Bros. & Rudd, £9.55. (more)

Premius (France) Bordeaux Rouge 2001
Wine of the week 10/05/04. Spice, cedar and tobacco layered over soft red fruits. On the palate that toasty, vanilla-edged character continues, with lots of coffeeish flavour and tannins supporting cherry and raspberry fruit. There is a darker, blackurranty note, but then that mellow warmth of earthy red fruit and spiciness sweeps through. The finish is quite robust, with good tannins and sufficient balancing acidity. There is plenty of character here, and this is decent value at full price, but I spotted it as part of Tesco's current Wine Fair, down to £4.69, which is a definite bargain. £6.49. Tesco, Unwins.

Idyllwild (California) Malbec 2002
Wine of the week 03/05/04. Lacks a little of Argentinean Malbec's typical density, but it more than compensates with bold, chewy fruit, a fine layering of tannin, and a grippy edge of plumskin acidity. It is really quite harmonious and has good length, staying very fruity and polished. Weird, but kind of wonderful at only £4.49. Co-op.

Musella (Italy) Valpolicella Superiore 1998
Wine of the week 11/04/04. Heaves with plump, sweet fruit and generosity. Twelve months in new French barrels has imparted a toasty, smoky element on the nose, set against crushed blackberry and clove-scented fruit. On the palate it is rich and velvety, the broad-based cherry acidity and svelte, burnished tannins giving lovely support into a long, concentrated finish packed with fruit, spices and mellow, chocolaty depth. Sensational stuff. 13% alcohol. Oddbins £9.49.

Fairview (South Africa) SMV 2002
Wine of the week 04/04/04. Soaring nose of raspberry and redcurrants, and a real herbal, almost medicinal streak. That character fades with time in the glass, and a more lush, chocolaty depth begins to broaden out the picture. On the palate this is silky and refined, with plenty more raspberry and a dry, savoury, tugging acidity and spicy structure beneath. It has good length and balance, and a supple, food-friendly quality. £8.99 Waitrose.

Oracle (South Africa) Cabernet Sauvignon 2002
Wine of the week 21/03/04. Fine, aromatic nose with lots of tobacco, spice and green peppercorn aromas, as well as plenty of black fruit. On the palate it delivers a really broad, juicy mouthful of sweet cassis and plum, with a lovely coffee and spice background (it is aged in French oak) and a fine leathery, woodsmoke and earthy depth. 10% Syrah in the blend possibly helps add a dimension of chocolaty complexity, but what a terrific value wine this is with a long, smooth finish. £4.99 Oddbins.

Portada (Portugal) Castelão & Tinta Roriz 2001
Wine of the week 29/02/04. The nose has some spice, pepper and little briary nuances, as well as copious sweet red fruit. On the palate it is medium-bodied, but quite fleshy and rich, with loads of sweet baked plum pie fruit, and a fresh redcurrant and cranberry tang. Quite creamy, but the richness is sliced through with well-judged tannins and a lovely freshening acidity. This has really good length for the price, and a balanced, savoury finish. £4.49 Safeway.

Bodegas Castaño (Spain) Hécula 2001
Wine of the week 01/02/04. The nose deep and brambly, with dried currant notes, a cedary, leathery component and a fair lick of background spicy oak. On the palate it is rich and robust - it is not a smooth, sweet style, but has a rough-edged, earthy character and rustic force about it, though a firm, ripe tannic structure and quite keen acidity enliven the finish, and leave this long and savoury. I'm not sure it is in the 91 point league to be honest, but it is a wine packed full of character. £8.49, or £81.48 by the case. Also in Fine & Rare Wines for £74 per case.

La Chasse de Pape (France) Côtes du Rhône Reserve 2002
Wine of the week 25/01/04. The plummy, baked fruit pie and vanilla nose has all sorts of nuances; prune, nutmeg and parma violet. On the palate it is savoury and deep-chested, with a rounded, powerfully red fruited character, showing lots of plum and hedgerow berries, supported by chocolaty, thick tannins and a sinewy core of acidity. The spicy warmth of the oak fills out on the finish too, in a lingering, flavourful wine. Tesco £4.99.

Montalto (Italy) Sangiovese/Nero d'Avola 2002
Wine of the week 11/01/04. Crimson colour, and a ripe berry and chocolaty quality on the nose with some lifted aromatics hinting at violets. There are slightly leafy nuances too. It is fine and juicy on the palate, filled with sweet and concentrated fruit that is beautifully delineated, svelte and silky-textured. This is really bright and polished stuff, with crisp, ripe tannins and good acidity and very good length too, where a little earthy, warming, roasted fruit quality shows up. £4.99 Safeway.

Vale de Clara (Portugal) Douro 2001
Wine of the week 04/01/04. Rich, earthy red colour and a powerful vinous nose, with plenty of spice, bramble and leathery character, and lovely hints of sweet-fruited depth. On the palate it is rich and mouthfilling, with more of that robust, hearty fruit and plenty of structured acid and tannin underpinning. Lovely stuff. £5.99 Booths.

Caño (Spain) Tinta de Toro / Garnacha 2001
Wine of the week 21/12/03. Lovely, inviting nose flooded with ripe redcurrants, cherry and plum, and a hint of spice. On the palate there's a tremendously sweet impression at first; blackcurrant jam and ripe morello cherry, but also a bittersweet hint of liquorice and good acidity. There's a juicy, savoury quality here and a freshness about the finish thanks to the pert acids and well-balanced tannins. Really, a very nice drink - especially given 10 minutes in the fridge. £4.49 Bibendum, Luvians, Safeway, Peckhams.

Valdivieso (Chile) Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2000
Wine of the week 07/12/03. Another little star from my recent trip to South America, this has a nose of cooked plums, cloves and spices, with a glossy core of blackcurrant fruit that is very pure and ripe. It has a lovely palate; very sweet fruit suggesting cassis and red plums, with a silky texture and hints of lighter, more racy raspberry character. But then the mid-palate is quit expansive, with a chocolate depth, a rounded tobacco and vanilla note and that fine purity of fruit set against refined tannins. £6.99, Bibendum, Sainsbury's.

Catena (Argentina) Cabernet Sauvignon 2000
Wine of the week 23/11/03. Powerful note of Coconut and vanilla at first, before a great raft of ripe, deep, cassis and mint, with a terrific suggestion sweetness and a dark chocolate note adding more depth. On the palate it is silky-textured and has a massive fruit sweetness, with piercingly intense blackcurrant, big, but ripe and polished tannins, and great length. Staying very pure and very fresh into the finish, this has lovely balance and really is a beautiful wine. The 2001 is every bit as good. £9.99, Bibendum, Majestic, Sainsbury's, Tesco.

Trentham (Australia) Murphy's Shiraz 2001
Wine of the week 02/11/03. The nose is deep, soft, and solidly packed with damson plums and pepper. There's a background of tobacco and woodsmoke, leading on to a palate brimming with mulberry and plum and hints of chocolate and cedar. Acidity is quite generous and reined-back, but there's a spine of tannin that gives this backbone. A fabulous wine that punches way above its weight. £5.79 greatgrog.

Errazuriz (Chile) Merlot 2001
Wine of the week 19/10/03. The nose is an elegant melange of cedary tobacco and sweet blackcurrant compote fruit. On the palate there's an underpinning smoky, vanilla-tinged oakiness that is warm and enveloping, but then a bittersweet plum and damson fruit core emerges, with plenty of spice and firm, but polished tannins. The acidity is well-judged, leaving the wine fresh and savoury on the palate, despite its creamy texture, with good length where that spicy, fruitcake quality dominates. £5.99 Oddbins, Tesco, Sainsbury's, Thresher.

MontGras (Chile) Limited Edition Syrah 2001
Wine of the week 05/10/03. Deeply-hued mint-humbug, caramel, tobacco and spice character, with a surprisingly bright red fruit character suggesting cherries and summer pudding fruits. On the palate there is a quite a dense, lush mouthfeel, with plenty of coffee and tobacco oaky depth, and a nice combination of fruit sweetness, ripe, silky tannins and juicy plum and cherry acidity. £7.49 Safeway.

Warwick Estate (South Africa) Trilogy 2000
Wine of the week 31/08/03. Immediately elegant nose of creamy blackcurrant and crushed blackberries, a little cedary background and just hints of woodsmoke and chestnut. On the palate it has terrifically pure, sweet cassis fruit that is svelte and polished, set against fine-grained tannins and crisp acidity. Tobacco and smoky oak fills in on the finish, and this wine really does linger on the palate. A cracking Bordeaux-styled wine with copious fruit, at a very fair price. £9.99 Raeburn, Handford, Vicki's, Constantine.

Lafayette (France) Bordeaux Merlot
Wine of the week 03/08/03. The nose is quite savoury, with nuances of cedary, earthy perfume to straightforward plum and cherry fruit. The wine really comes alive in the mouth, where a fine, juicy, crisp character is enlivened by precise tannins and good acidity, supporting supple, fleshy red berry fruit. This is a fresh, food-friendly style of claret. £4.99 Tesco.

Celler de Capçanes (Spain) Mas Collet 2000
Wine of the week 20/07/03. This brilliant red has a fabulous perfume of sweet rose-hip, cassis and fudge, with violet and mint highlights, hints of game, and plenty of smooth fruit. On the palate it is dry and lip-smackingly savoury, with those elegant, scented sweet fruit notes surrounded by a deep-chested, honest muscularity of ripe fruit, supple tannins and well-balanced acidity. A cracking wine by any account, and tremendous value for money for this quality. £5.69 Waitrose, £5.99 Majestic.

d'Arenberg (Australia) The Galvo Garage 2001
Wine of the week 06/07/03. Beautiful nose, with sweet plummy aromas, concentrated black cherry and a depth of savoury cedar and tobacco. There's just a hint of ripe, minty chocolate. On the palate this is silky-textured and very fine despite its 14.5% alcohol, with a robust damson and plum-skin savoury bite to concentrated black fruits. Tannins are fine and quite mellow, and a lot of the structure here comes from fruit concentration and seasoned oak. Good length, and a very nicely balanced yet fruit-forward wine. £11.99 Oddbins.

Corte Rugolin (Italy) Valpolicella Classico 2001
Wine of the week 23/06/03. Gorgeous nose; very polished and deep, with sinewy, muscular, but vibrant cherry fruit and hints of chocolaty depth. There's a suggestion of something terrifically sweet about this too: parma violet or mint perhaps. The palate is very pure and concentrated, with firm red fruit and fine-grained tannins. Acidity is bright and focused, and this has only a background suggestion of warming oak. Delightful stuff and very good indeed/excellent. £6.95 Berry Bros & Rudd

Ermitage du Pic St-Loup (France) Cuvée Sainte Agnès 2000
Wine of the week 02/06/03. Seductive nose, with coffee-bean and briar adding warming depth to crunchy raspberry and cherry fruit, and little violet and herbal nuances. The palate is silky and quite rich, with plenty of black fruit and more of that zippy raspberry lightness of touch. Fine, but quite authoritative tannins make an impression on the finish in this balanced wine of really good length. Drink or cellar for a few £10.56. The regular cuvée from this producer is £5.99 from waitrose.


Co-op (Spain) Tempranillo Brut NV
Wine of the week 30/05/04. Vividly purple wine with a foaming pink mousse, and a nose showing lots of bold red berries and hints of chocolate and cloves. On the palate the mousse is rich and rolling, though it dies quite quickly. There's a sweetness to the fruit on the palate, and a drying chocolaty texture, then quite a kick of briary tannin pushes through. This is not in the same league as the best Ozzie examples, but it is several pounds cheaper, fun and enjoyable. Co-op, £5.79.

Champagne Carlin 1er Cru NV
Wine of the week 18/04/04. Minuscule bubbles rise in a steady stream across the width of the glass. The nose has lots of toasty, brioche and buttered pecan, with a generous weight of ripe pear and lightly spicy aromas. On the palate it is rich and rolling, with lots of fruit: plummy and peachy notes abound, as well as oatmeal and toast, and a wonderful, shimmering core of acidity. This full-bodied, dry wine is very broad and drinkable, whilst having subtle layers of complexity and great balance. Fantastic value. Aldi £10.99

Veuve Clicquot (France) Reserve 1996
Wine of the week 08/02/04. Already beautifully toasty, rich and nutty on the nose, that richness developing on top of crisp, cool lemon and peachy fruit. The mousse is rich and persists in the mouth, with lots of body and richness and a creamy quality. All the time there's a tang of grapefruit acidity that teases and cleanses the palate. This has fantastic length too, and is an absolutely brilliiant Champagne that should cellar effortlessly for 10 years and more. £29.99 Safeway until March 6th 2004. Also £165.50 for 6 (£27.58 per bottle equivalent) from Bibendum. £36.99-£38.99 elsewhere.

Philippe Michel (France) Crémant du Jura 2000
Wine of the week 14/09/03. Appetising green apple nose, with creamy, nutty autolytic notes. There are plenty of bubbles, rolling and persisting on the tongue. It delivers plenty of crisp, tingling, apple and pear fruit, broad on the mid-palate with some more nut and sour fig nuances, and plenty of incisive acidity. Beautifully balanced and not at all thin or cheap, this is classic, stylish fizz and I defy anyone to find a better value alternative on the market. Aldi £4.99

Tosti (Italy) Sparkling Pinot Grigio
Wine of the week 22/12/02. Sweet, ripe grapy aromas, peach and a tropical hint pineapple. On the palate it is full-bodied and powerful, with loads of peachy, punchy fruit and decent acidity, with no sign of tartness or tightness. No, there is no classic Champagne toast or yeasty complexity, but this is not a vino da meditazione, just a gluggable and yummy wine that should find friends in just about any crowd. Tesco, £5.99.
Label image

La Gioiosa (Italy) Prosecco Spumante
Wine of the week 03/11/02. Aromas of flowers and pear-drops, with crisp notes of freshly-cut apple. On the palate it is lively and deliciously easy to drink, with a hit of intense, sweet fruit, before a dry, tangy finish that is flooded with gooseberry and grapefruit zest. With only 11% alcohol, it is an uncomplicated but delightful wine. Tesco, £5.49.
Label image.


Château Tour de Mirambeau (France) Rosé 2002
Wine of the week 10/08/03. Made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, this is a rosé in an uncompromisingly dry, unfrivolous style. The colour is a deep salmon, and the nose, though rather closed at first, reveals lovely scents of minerals, herbs and redcurrants with a little airing. On the palate it is very dry and savoury, with a steely core of mineral acidity and a touch of tannic bite. Again that quality of redcurrant and tart raspberry fruit begins to show through. Bottled in a screw-cap. £6.49 Oddbins.


St Gisbertus (Germany) Beerenauslese 2002
Wine of the week 16/11/03. The colour is a medium gold, and the nose offers up aromas of honey and musky, floral notes, with some dried fig and herbal, tobacco scents. On the palate it is quite viscous and rich, with decent apricotty fruit and more of that honeyed flavour, and with 109 grammes of residual sugar, plenty of sweetness. There is no great length here, and the acidity rather flattens the finish, but at £2.99 for a very elegantly-packed 50cl, what a little treat this is. £2.99, Aldi.

Michele Chiarlo (Italy) "Nivole" Moscato d'Asti 2002
Wine of the week 21/09/03. 5.5% alcohol and gentley sparkling, this has an uplifting fragrance of blossom, spring flowers, apricot and delicate strawberry or violet creams. On the palate it has a magical sweetness of sherbet and summer fruits, with fresh, chilled grape notes and a sublime balance thanks to impeccable acidity. This is a real treat. Booths & Booths online, £4.99 per 37.5cl.

Seppelt (Australia) Rutherglen Muscat DP63
Wine of the week 06/10/02. Gorgeous nose of burnt, crème brûlée nose of caramel, marmalade, toffee and figs. It is dark, and mysterious. On the palate a thick, viscose texture floods the palate with sweet orange and toffee flavours, with nutty undertones and a chocolaty, treacle-pudding depth. Smooth, rich and intensely concentrated, it has terrrific length and quality. Oddbins, £7.49 per 37.5cl.

Value Wine Archives 2002-2003
Value Wine Archives 1999-2001

Bordeaux WI
Clarence Dillon
Armit Wines

quick TN search