July's Recommendations


We rate our wines out of a 100-points scale.
Our reviews and recommendations are completely independent and we do not have any commercial affiliation with the importers and/or retailers listed.
Please note that prices are correct at the time of our tastings/reviews but are subject to change without us being notified.

This is a special edition with a selection of wines, sakes & ciders tasted during the The Wine Gang’s London Summer Festival on June 15th


Aldi Exquisite Collection Crémant du Jura 2016 - 87pts

Jura, France, Sparkling White, 13% abv, natural cork closure
100% Chardonnay,
Pairs nicely with: Fish and chips, aperitif.
An Aldi stalwart, this pure Chardonnay fizz from the Jura is always good value for its appley freshness and creamy textured bubbles that finish on a crisp, dry, citrusy note; and works well as a mixer for Bellini or Bucks Fizz.
£8.29 available from Aldi

Oastbrook Estate Sparkling Rosé 2014 - 90 pts

Sussex, England, Sparkling Rosé, 12.5% abv, natural cork closure
Auxerrois, Pinot Noir
Pairs nicely with: Aperitif, cold salmon salad.
A distinctive blend of Auxerrois and Pinot Noir, this pale-salmon pink, traditional method rosé fizz from America Brewer sets out with a fine, brioche-like aroma and settles into a deliciously satisfying mousse of summer pudding red berries with an explosive dry backbite.  No wonder it’s good, it’s made by the talented Dermot Sugrue.
£38 available from Oastbrook Estate

Wine of the Month!!

Wine of the Month!!

Piper-Heidsieck Vintage 2012 - 93pts

Champagne, France, Sparkling White, 12% abv, natural cork closure
Chardonnay, Pinot Noir
Pairs nicely with: Aperitif, sashimi, onion tart.
Showing the remarkable progression made by Piper-Heidsieck in recent years, this latest vintage Champagne shows the quality of the 2012 vintage in a superbly crafted, fragrant fizz whose richness and full flavour is complemented by a gently smoky, lightly toasted mousse of persistent, tongue-coating bubbles that leave the palate satisfyingly refreshed.
£52 available from The Finest Bubble

Philizot et Fils Aldi Veuve Monsigny Champagne Brut NV - 89pts

Champagne, France, Sparkling White, 12% abv, natural cork closure
Pinot Noir, Meunier, Chardonnay
Pairs nicely with: Aperitif, shellfish.
It seems remarkable that Aldi can do this accomplished own-label fizz at this price, but it manages to pull off a Champagne whose biscuity notes and crisp, Cox’s apple fruit combine in a nutty mousse of more complexity than you’d normally expect for this amount.
£12.49 available from Aldi

Dry White

Bibo Runge Hargardun Riesling Trocken 2015 - 90 pts

Rheingau, Germany, Dry White, 12% ABV, screwcap
100% Riesling
Pairs nicely with: Crab cakes, barbecued prawns.
Old vine Rheingau Riesling showing a spicy aromatic hint of oak, a tingle on the tongue, and a ripe peachy quality of fruit cut nicely by a mouthwatering streak of cleansing fresh acidity for an appetising dry finish.
£22.50 available from Vin Neuf

Value choice of the Month

Boutinot Percheron 2018 - 88 pts

Western Cape, South Africa, Dry White, 14% ABV, screwcap
Chenin Blanc, Viognier
Pairs nicely with: Tapas, grilled fish, Niçoise salad, hummus.
It would be hard to find a better value dry white all summer than this deliciously bright, new vintage, stone fruited blend from the Cape, its texture both lively and juicy, with more fruit flavour than is decent at such a relatively modest price.
£6.95 available from The Wine Society

Gavalas Assyrtiko 2018 - 90pts

Santorini, Greece, Dry White, 13.5% ABV, natural cork closure
100% Assyrtiko
Pairs nicely with: Char-grilled octopus, mussels, grilled sardines.
In its distinctive blue bottle, this appetising dry white from the volcanic island of Santorini is fresh and citrus-scented, showing ripe, juicy stone fruit flavours that spreadeagle on the tongue in a mouthwateringly zesty, almost salty finish.
£26 available from Southern Wine Roads

Escala Humana Livverá Malvasía 2018 - 90pts

Mendonza, Argentina, Dry Skin-Macerated White, 13% ABV, natural cork closure
100% Malvasia
Pairs nicely with: Smoked eel, lamb sweetbreads, fideua with aioli.
Did you know there are old, high-altitude Malvasia vineyards in Mendonza? Neither did we. This wine is the result of a project to recover such vineyards and make them productive. 60 days of skin contact give it intense texture and phenolic richness supporting intense citrus and macerated herbs flavours alongside ethereal flower notes. A great companion to food, with a surprising acid finish.
£21 available from Helver Wines

Shumi Winery Kisi 2017 - 92 pts

Kakheti, Georgia, Dry Skin-Macerated White, 13% ABV, natural cork closure
100% Kisi
Pairs nicely with: Roast chicken, Bouillabaisse, Mezze.
Fermented and macerated in qvevri (clay vessels) for six months and then aged in french oak for another four, this wine has the characteristic aromatic intensity of a qvevri wine along with a roundness very much of its own. Orchard and stone fruit aromas are softened by fresh almond and sandalwood and pleasant umami notes of mushroom and cheese.
£16 (or £14.50 for 6) available from Taste of Georgia

Acheon Iron S 2017 - 88 pts

Aigion, Achaia, Greece, Dry White, 12.2% ABV, natural cork closure
100% Sideritis
Pairs nicely with: Shellfish, light salads.
An uncomplicated white that is a very good alternative to a Muscadet or an entry-level Riesling. A pure, clean expression of Sideritis, a rare variety indigenous o Achaia, that is - as the name would suggest - intensely mineral and precise.
£13.5 available from Southern Wine Roads

Sant’Or Santameriana Orange 2018 - 90 pts

Santomeri, Achaia, Greece, Dry Skin-Macerated White, 12.5% ABV, natural cork closure
100% Santameriana
Pairs nicely with: Buttermilk fried chicken, light pasta dishes, cheese plate.
To say that Santameriana is a rare grape is an understatement and is only thanks to Sant’Or’s Panagiotis Dimitropoulos that it was saved from complete oblivion. Here it ferments it naturally and lets it rest on the skins for six months for a wine that is rich in aromas of orange peel, nectarine and glazed pineapple, softly tannic and with a good, long grip.
£16 available from Southern Wine Roads

Wine of the Month!!

Wine of the Month!!

Penfolds Bin 311 2017 - 93 pts

Tumbarumba & Adelaide Hills, Australia, Dry White, 12.5% ABV, screwcap
100% Chardonnay
Pairs nicely with: Grilled mackerel, steamed lobster with butter.
You could wait for another seven years for the beautiful development that this wine will surely have. Or you could drink it now when it’s already showing a beautiful balance of power and elegance. A lovely acidity underpins the lemon, lime and cucumber flavours, while the nose shows a gentle nuttiness that will certainly evolve and expand.
£24.50 available from The Champagne Company

Dry Red

Apostolos Thymiopoulos  Xinomavro Jeunes Vignes 2017 - 89 pts

Naoussa, Greece, Dry Red, 13% alc, natural cork closure
100% Xinomavro
Pairs nicely with: Stir-fried pork, BBQ-grilled lamb cutlets.
Made by the talented Apostolos Thympiopoulos, this is a youthfully bright Greek red from Naoussa showing a fine, lightly minted fragrance and a deliciously juicy cherrystone fruitiness with just enough funk, but not too much, to bring personality to a very good value red. If you know Etna reds, this is a Greek answer to Etna.
£10.95 available from The Wine Society

GVino Mukuzani 2017 - 92 pts

Kakheti, Georgia, Dry Red, 13% ABV, natural cork closure
100% Saperavi
Pairs nicely with: Game, pork terrine, shepherd’s pie
Another qvevri wine, this time of the distinct Saperavi grape, that is allowed to ferment naturally and macerate for 4 weeks. This allows for the variety’s fruit to really come through in intense blackberry, black plum and bramble aromas, but for its sometimes overwhelming earthiness to be softened and integrated. Once opened it slowly reveals elegant notes of spice and tobacco.
£16 (or £14.50 for 6) available from Taste of Georgia

Penfolds Max’s Shiraz 2017 - 91 pts

South Australia, Dry Red, 14% ABV, screwcap
100% Chardonnay
Pairs nicely with: Lamb chops, roast beef, seared tuna.
As intense as might be expected of a South Australian Shiraz, full of the ripe fruit muscle, but finely balanced by a rich combination of spices (nutmeg, cardamom, black pepper) and smoky notes (dark chocolate, coffee, tobacco box). Velvety and with a soft long finish.
£19.99 (or £14.99 for 6+ bottles) available from Waitrose


Asahi Shuzo  Dassai 23 NV - 93 pts

Yamaguchi, Japan, Junmai Daiginjo, 15.5% alc, screwcap
Yamadanishiki (rice variety)
Pairs nicely with: Ceviche of white fish, grilled cod, sea bream, tofu.
Top of the range Junmai Daiginjo sake from the uncompromising Asahai Shuzo brewery based in Japan’s far south-west, this is a superbly crafted sake with floral and spicy sandalwood notes behind a richness of texture that turns to freshness and dryness in a pour of the most delicate purity.
£87 available from Japan Centre

Tosa Brewing Co  Keigetsu Junmai Daiginjo Gin-no-Yume 45 2018 - 92 pts

Kochi, Japan, Junmai Daiginjo, 15% alc, screwcap
Gin-no-Yume (rice variety)
Pairs nicely with: Aperitif, shelfish, light salads.
Muneki Matsumoto, 6th-generation man currently heading Tosa Brewing, has a passion for wine and has sought to bring the idea of terroir expressiveness to sake. His work is definitely heading in the right direction with an interesting range of very mineral and idiosyncratically dry sakes, such as this Junmai Daiginjo that combines citrus, stone fruit and floral aromas with a distinct minerality and a long flinty finish.
£25.99 available from The Ministry of Drinks

Hakkaisan  Snow-Aged Junmai Ginjo 3-Years NV - 92 pts

Niigata, Japan, Junmai Daiginjo, 17% alc, screwcap
Yamadanishiki, Gohyakumangoku and Yukinosei (rice varieties)
Pairs nicely with: Ferments, strong cheeses, roast duck.
Ageing a drink for three years under snow might sound like a marketing stunt but the fact is that the idea is based on a local tradition of storing food supplies in natural “freezers”. Over the 36 months it spends resting this sake becomes velvety and rich, with a broad mid-palate and a subtle umami character reminiscent of forest floor and wild mushrooms.
Please contact JFC UK for price and stockists.

Value choice of the Month

Tsuji Honten  Gozenshu “Mountain Stream” Junmai Bodaimoto Namasake NV - 93 pts

Okayama, Japan, Junmai Namasake, 17% alc, screwcap
Omachi (rice variety)
Pairs nicely with: Soused mackerel, tuna tartare, pickled vegetables.
Whilst we love nama (unpasteurised) sake for its body and richness - and even more so if enhanced by the sour character imparted by the traditional bodaimoto fermentation technique - it’s virtually impossible to find examples outside of Japan. No wonder therefore that we were excited to see this fine example in the UK market, and at a (relatively) moderate price. Don’t let the elegant and pure nose with aromas of canteloupe melon and rose water deceive you: the palate is broad and textural, with earthy and lactic (kefir) notes coming through.
£18 available from Tengu Sake


Brännland  Iscider NV - 93 pts

Svealand, Sweden, Dry Cider, 9% alc, natural cork closure
Swedish Apples
Pairs nicely with: Cheeses such as Cheshire, Cheddar, Comté, apple tart.
Based on Swedish apples fermented for 10 – 12 weeks and aged for three months, this is the ultimate in cider, an intense, winey cider with aromas of apple and stone fruit and concentrated flavours of crystallised apple, finishing on a dry, tangy note.
£34.80 (half-bottle) available from Hedonism Wines