ESTIMATES suggest that 99 per cent of wine bought in the UK costs less than £10 a bottle, and our Best Buy column reflects this reality
Nevertheless, I am often asked about special-occasion wines. Disappointing as it is to spend a fiver on indifferent wine, doing so for a £20 bottle is really teeth-gnashing. To help, I have listed a few double-figure wines that I don’t think will disappoint. Remember, however, that tastes vary and individual satisfaction can never be guaranteed.
Let’s start with New Zealand, as I was very impressed by 2010 Te Mata Estate Cape Crest Sauvignon Blanc (£19.99, Majestic), with its delightful apple, tangerine and grapefruit flavours.
I have also had a look at New Zealand’s 2012 sauvignon and, despite reduced volumes, the quality remains high. The 2012 Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc (£9.99, Tesco), for example, centres – of course – on those characteristic gooseberry flavours but rounds them out nicely with fresh, clean grapefruit touches and some long, intense, peach influences.
I also enjoyed 2011 Seifried Nelson Riesling (£10.99, Inverarity Wines), which illustrates what a great job Kiwi producers do with this fantastic and seriously under-rated grape. Although it opens with the trademark hint of kerosene, that quickly disappears into fresh and lively touches of greengage and green apple. The acidity is nicely balanced and supports an impressive array of flavours that include a sherbet-influenced lime sorbet and those green Opal Fruits of our childhood.
In Europe, I was impressed by 2010 Chablis Premier Cru Fourchaume Seguinot Bordet (£17.99, Majestic), which has freshness and liveliness but underpins those qualities with a series of mellow and complex flavours that build on its concentrated lemon base. The more adventurous might try the 2011 Hatzidakis Assyrtiko (£10.99, Waitrose), which uses the superb assyrtiko grape to create a zippy, citrus-centred white with minty edges and a degree of softness, despite a concluding twist of minerality.
With the reds, the first call is to the cruelly neglected wines of Beaujolais. Even when Fleurie was the darling of the chattering classes, I had a soft spot for nearby Moulin à Vent, which presents a sense of homeliness with its tradition of shifting the windmills’ sails from a multiplication to a plus sign when a local has died. Its wines are also fuller, longer-lasting and more powerful. A good example can be found in the 2010 Château des Jacques Moulin-à-Vent (£13.49, Hailsham Cellars), which has all the generous acidity, smoothness, floral touches and raspberry fruit you would expect but combines them with very Burgundian hints of earthy beetroot and cherry.
Heading a long way south, I was urged to try 2010 Howard Park Leston Cabernet Sauvignon (£20.29, www.bibendumfinewine.com), from Margaret River in Western Australia, which is brilliant. It possesses the hallmark mint and blackcurrant characteristics in spades but wraps them in a typical New World juiciness and dense concentration before riding out on an appealing spicy finish.
Finally, to something unusual. The 2010 Zorah Karasi Areni Noir (around £20, Lockett Bros) is a magnificent wine from Armenia. It has a deep, dark colour, a menthol nose and multiple layers of flavour that run from blackcurrant and plum fruit through appealing cinnamon and vanilla influences to a warm chocolate finish. This is the perfect bottle for folk who think they have tried everything.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 25 mph
Wind direction: East
Temperature: 9 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 7 mph
Wind direction: North east