Les Pionniers Brut NV - 93pts
Champagne, France, Sparkling White (Cork), 12.5% abv
50% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Meunier, 20% Chardonnay
Pairs nicely with: Aperitif, smoked salmon and even Asian food such as sushi.
Without a doubt this is one of the best supermarket champagnes available today and at under £20 a bottle. Reliably delicious, this is made by Regis Camus at Piper Heidseick and is packed full of elegant, autolytic biscuity flavours with a superb mousse, length, flavour and balance. Terrific.
£18.90 from Co-Op
Saronsberg Brut Méthode Cap Classique 2015 - 90pts
Tulbagh, South Africa, Sparkling White, Cork
Pairs nicely with: Drink on its own as an aperitif or with superior fish and chips.
Spending three months on the lees followed by 24 months in bottle brings a biscuity quality to the ripe peachy fruit of the Chardonnay grape, a fine, fresh, balanced mousse of bubbles honed by Dewaldt Heyns and a degree of finesse thanks to a relatively low dosage of 5 grams per litre.
£14.50 from H2Vin
Wiston Estate Brut 2013 - 92pts
South Downs, England, Sparkling White, Cork
Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier
Pairs nicely with: On its own as an aperitif or with shellfish.
The aromas in this blend of the three major Champagne grapes come across as invitingly super-toasty thanks to an ageing process in the cellars for three years, while a relatively low dosage of 6 grams per litre keeps the fruit honest with flavours that combine zesty citrus fruits with a toasty, complex mousse and the finish is mouthwateringly bone dry. One of England’s finest.
£37.96 from The Finest Bubble
Clos Floridène Graves Blanc 2016 - 92pts
Bordeaux, France, Dry White,13% alc, Cork closure
51% Semillon, 47% Sauvignon & 2% Muscadelle
Pairs nicely with: Roast chicken or poached salmon.
This is a delicious wine with a very beguiling use of oak (the wine has spent eight months on lees in barrel) that is evident from the light, spicy notes that marry well with flavours of lanolin, quince, spiced pear and a sprinkling of herbs.
£19.00 from Co-Op
Château de la Maltroye Chassagne-Montrachet 2016 - 91pts
Burgundy, France, Dry White, 13% alc, Cork closure
Pairs nicely with: Fish pie, salmon, scallops, monkfish or chicken.
Long and layered, creamy and textured with notes of oatmeal, nuts, spice and riper orchard fruits, this is an elegant, impressive wine with pedigree and personality that has spent 10 months in French oak. Excellent.
£39.99 from Co-Op
Château de Crezancy Sancerre 2017 - 92pts
Loire, France, Dry White, 13% alc, Cork closure
100% Sauvignon Blanc
Pairs nicely with: Salads, seafood and light fish.
A very pretty herbal nose with fragrant elderflower and tomato leaf notes. This has attractive fruit and a great purity of flavor along with precision, balance and length.
£15.00 available from M&S
The Wine People Grillo 2017 - 89 pts
Sicily, Italy, Dry white, 13% alc, screwcap
Pairs nicely with: Gammon, white meats and pasta.
A pretty, light, fragrant wine with notes of pear and quince. The palate has a touch of spicy yellow plums and some greengage with a good weight and texture. Very drinkable and flavoursome at a good price.
£7.00 available from M&S
Terre da Vino Gavi di Gavi 2017 - 90 pts
Piedmont, Italy, Dry white, 12.5% alc, synthetic cork
Pairs nicely with: White fish or shellfish such as scallops or crab linguine.
Lightly floral, enticing aromas of violets and blossom with a suggestion of lime zest. The palate is long and tasty with notes of banana and mandarin on the finish. A refreshing wine with layers of flavour.
£12.00 available from M&S
GP Winery Mineralstein Riesling 2015 - 91 pts
Pfalz, Germany, Dry white,12% alc, screwcap
Pairs nicely with: Asian food such as Thai or Chinese.
Germany remains such good value for such great quality wines and this Riesling is absolutely a case in point. The nose is very pretty with notes of blossom but the palate is tangy, racy and lime drenched with notes of honeysuckle and tangerine with a swathe of lemon sherbet acidity. The residual sugar is 12.3g/l very well integrated. Utterly delicious.
£10.00 available from M&S
Denbies Wine Estate Bacchus 2015 - 89 pts
Surrey, England, Dry white,12% alc, screwcap
Pairs nicely with: Fish ceviche, oysters, seafood, goats cheese or asparagus.
Very pungent and pure with green notes on the nose and palate; peas, grass, tomato leaf and elderflower. Zesty, pure, distinctive and long.
£14.00 available from M&S
Johannishof Reinisch Rotgipfler Satzing 2016 - 91 pts
Thermenregion, Austria, Dry white
Pairs nicely with: Chicken, mild Asian curries.
Made from Austria’s indigenous grape variety, and a white, despite the red in the name, this is an aromatic, really appetising, organic dry white in which time spent on the lees brings fine texture and complexity to the peachy ripeness of fruit and an intensity of flavour thanks to its refreshing acidity that keeps the tastebuds working overtime.
£28.99 available from AG Wines
Natthias Hirtzberger Spitaler Grüner Veltliner 2016 - 92 pts
Wachau, Austria, Dry white,
100% Grüner Veltliner
Pairs nicely with: Paella, shellfish, white fish.
This aromatic, spritz-fresh Grüner from Mathias Hirtzberger (brother of Franz Hirtzberger) shows the quality of some of the Grüners coming out of Austria’s Wachau region and in particular this arresting dry white whose stone fruit flavours are deliciously juicy and yet there’s a grip and a light saline touch to the finish that curls round the back of the tongue and demands food.
£37.83 available from Clark Foyster
Blankbottle Moment of Silence 2017 - 90 pts
Wellington, South Africa, Dry white
Chenin Blanc, Grenache, Viognier
Pairs nicely with: Salads, firm white fish, pork.
South Africa is developing a reputation for its white blends based on Chenin Blanc; like this dry white from Blankbottle’s Pieter Walser, combining Chenin with Grenache Blanc and Viognier to create an appetisingly dry Cape-meets-white Rhône style with a delicious zingy fruit quality and nutty texture that’s kept fresh on the finish by a twist of tangy acidity.
£16.95 available from Stone, Vine & Sun
Eva Fricke Rheingau Riesling 2016 - 89 pts
Rheingau, Germany, Dry white
Pairs nicely with: Shellfish, seafood and white meats.
Eva Fricke is a Rheingau Riesling talent, thanks in part to her training at the brilliant J.B. Becker, and it shows in this fresh, spicy, lemony-aromatic selection Riesling from the very good 2016 vintage with its youthfully refreshing spritz and fine, juicy, yet teasingly dry and citrus-zesty fruit quality.
£17.25 available from Berry Bros. & Rudd
Frankland Estate Riesling 2016 - 90 pts
Frankland River, Western Australia, Australia
100% Riesling, Dry white
Pairs nicely with: Crab, prawns, scallops.
Frankland River is Australia’s ‘third way’ after Eden and Clare Valleys when it comes to Riesling and this example is quite delicious; full of fresh limes in aroma with a juicy succulence of texture and a tongue-tingling crisp acidity that adds a dry, almost mineral, dimension to the fruit quality. It’s a WIGIG (when it’s gone it’s gone, so don’t mess about).
£15.99 (£13.99 mix six) available from Majestic
René Lamy Chassagne-Montrachet 2015 - 90 pts
Burgundy, France, Dry Red, 13% alc, cork closure
100% Pinot Noir
Pairs nicely with: Game, grouse, venison, turkey.
A delicate, quite pale colour with some attractive bottle age on the nose but with a lovely aroma of cherries and spice underneath. This is drinking beautifully now with finely grained tannins.
£24.99 from Co-Op
Villa Annaberta Amarone 2015 - 90 pts
Veneto, Italy, Dry Red, 15% alc, cork closure
70% Corvina, 20% Rondinella and 10% Corvinone
Pairs nicely with: Roast pork and rich stews.
An attractive, modern style of Amarone with a succulent, spicy palate full of ripe black berries, Morello cherries, bramble, pepper and herbs.
£18.00 from Co-Op
Value choice of the Month
Quinta do Crasto Castrum Red 2016 - 90 pts
Douro, Portugal, Dry Red, 14% alc, cork closure
35% Touriga Nacional, 30% Tinta Roriz, 25% Touriga Franca, 10% Tinta Barroca
Pairs nicely with: Roast lamb, duck or game.
There is a really attractive purity to the red fruit flavours of raspberry and damsons with warming spice notes wrapped around it. This is elegant, classy, pure, fragrant and long. Excellent.
£10.00 from Co-Op
Paul Sapin Morgon 2017 - 89 pts
Beaujolais, France, Dry Red, 12.5% alc, screwcap
Pairs nicely with: Chicken, duck or sausages.
A very pretty, ripe wine with lots of mulberry, raspberry and apple flavours. Juicy and fruity yet with a superb underlying structure of finely grained tannins.
£11.00 available from M&S
Domaine Taupenot-Merme Gevrey-Chambertin 2013 - 92 pts
Burgundy, France, Dry Red
100% Pinot Noir
Pairs nicely with: Autumn game, in particular roast pheasant and partridge.
With five years age, this delightfully fragrantly raspberryish red Burgundy is softening nicely into a silky-textured glassful of sweet liquid cherry and pomegranate with a hint of vanilla oak supporting the fruit which is beautifully balanced and maturing at a rate that makes it approachable now.
£38.49 available from Stannary Street Wine Co.
Tongue in Groove Cabal Vineyard Pinot Noir 2014 - 92 pts
Waipara, New Zealand, Dry Red
100% Pinot Noir
Pairs nicely with: Rack of lamb, belly of pork.
Made by Lynette Hudson, formerly of Pegasus Bay, this South Island red announces itself as Pinot Noir with its fragrant spice and cherry perfume while the vanilla-laced palate is rich and juicy in loganberry and cherry fruit with a gentle touch of oak contributing to some firmish, youthfully grippy tannins that make the wine approachable while giving it the opportunity to develop further in the bottle.
£26.96 available from Lea & Sandeman
Le Galantin Bandol 2012 - 89 pts
Provence, France, Dry Red
Pairs nicely with: Irish stew, boeuf en daube.
It is unusual to find a French wine, any wine, that’s pure Mourvèdre, but that’s where Bandol on the Mediterranean comes into its own, with apparently the effect of softening and sweetening fruit that can otherwise be tough; and so it is in this mature, opulent Provençal red from sister and brother team of Céline and Jérome Pascal, who know how to make Bandol in the appetisingly savoury style, all the while retaining its firm spine of acidity and tannic grip.
£15.95 available from Tanners
Le Vieux Donjon Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2015 - 92 pts
Southern Rhône, France, Dry Red
Grenache Noir, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Cinsault.
Pairs nicely with: Roast meats, goose, duck.
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and while this classic style from Vieux Donjon is still relatively youthful, it’s not too soon to appreciate the vigorous, sinewy texture behind its spicy red fruit quality, whose intensity is magnified by a powerful structure based on old vine concentration that’s just on the right side of balanced at 14.5% alcohol. Worth squirreling away a bottle or two for five to seven years hence.
£39.00 available from Yapp Wines
Value choice of the Month
Tcherga 04 Thracian Valley Red 2017 - 87 pts
Thracian Valley, Bulgaria, Dry Red
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah.
Pairs nicely with: Moussaka, grilled sausages, pizza napoletana.
Fresh and primary in the first flush of youth still, this Bulgarian Bordeaux-style blend from the Marie-Brizard family would give many a claret a good run for its money thanks to its vibrant, pure dark berry fruit and a juicy nip of damson acidity on the finish. Note: It's a WIGIG (when it’s gone it’s gone) parcel!
£8.99 [£7.99 mix six] available from Majestic
Giovanni Almondo ‘Bric Valdiana’ Roero DOCG 2015 - 91 pts
Piedmont, Italy, Dry Red
Pairs nicely with: Chicken, pheasant, pork belly.
Roero? Think Barolo, because this succulent red is made from the same grape variety only in a different Piemontese terroir, but it’s reminiscent of good Barolo, with its haunting sweet cherry aromas and delicately spiced berry fruit underpinned by that classic grainy textured tannin and fine spine of acidity.
£19.00 available from Lay & Wheeler