This week I have been scouring the shelves for bargain buys under a tenner. Chile and Argentina scored particularly high in our tasting – no surprise there as they are well known for offering some of our current best value quaffers. South American winemakers should not rest on their laurels too long though – as outsider Turkey looks like it will soon offer keen competition in the value stakes.
Chile TABALI ENCANTADO RESERVA CHARDONNAY 2011
(£9.19 until 29 October, Waitrose; £9.99 each for 2, Majestic Wine)
Chile’s Limari valley is home to one of the country’s most awarded wineries, Tabali. Beautifully made and affordably priced wines are produced from vines grown just 12km from the Pacific Ocean. This might be a New World-oaked chardonnay (10 months in older oak), but it is still superbly crisp, fresh and elegant. With orange peel, a candied fruits aroma, rich luscious citric fruit palate and a creamy length, it’s impressive for the price. STAR BUY
South Africa JORDAN CHENIN BLANC BARREL FERMENTED 2012
(£8.95, The Wine Society, www.thewinesociety.com)
The Jordans are one of the Stellenbosch’s most energetic winemaking couples, constantly experimenting and improving. Gary trained in the US, so his style does tend towards fuller New World – but this is an example of a very well-made, carefully oaked Cape Chenin.
Austria GROOVEY SALOMON GRUNER VELTLINER 2011
For those looking for an unoaked aperitif style with a difference, Austria’s signature white grape gruner veltliner offers crisp, dry, lightly spiced whites. This is made by a small family estate, Salomon Undhof, with vines growing on terraced sites in the Kremstal region, next to the famous Wachau area, west of Vienna. It’s good as an aperitif and with light Asian dishes.
Italy PECORINO TERRE DI CHIETI 2011
(£6.49, reduced from £8.79, Waitrose)
The same name as the cheese. The pecorino grape got its name as it was a favourite with the sheep which wandered into the vineyard and particularly liked the sweet taste of the grapes. Nutty, pear notes, creamy, honeyed with a sweet/sour note: a very good unoaked aperitif from the east Italian region of Abruzzo.
Turkey DIAMOND PAMUKKALE SHIRAZ/MERLOT/KALECIK KARASI/BOGAZKERE
(£7.99, reduced from £9.99, Waitrose)
An incredible bargain from a country to watch. Turkey has vast acres of vineyards and are keen to export to us, so this is just the beginning. A clever unoaked blend of shiraz, merlot with two native Turkish grapes: kalecik karasi and bogazkere made by the Takot family near Guney, in south west Turkey.Always a winner at tastings with its voluptuous ripe cherry fruits and earthy notes. STAR BUY
France DOMAINE DE LARZAC SYRAH/MARSELAN 2011
(£7.95, From Vineyards Direct, www.fromvineyardsdirect.com)
A much-awarded southern French blend of syrah with marselan (a grape created from crossing cabernet sauvignon and grenache). Imagine a combination of spicy syrah, deep gutsy cabernet and aromatic grenache. Very good for the price.
Argentina EL ESTECO TANNAT 2012
(£7.49, Marks & Spencer)
Tannat is a grape normally found in Uruguay or south west France, but Argentina seems to have scored with this grape too. This is a plummy, luscious version with its often firm tannins very ripe and smooth in this wine. Michel Torino is based in the high altitude Salta region where he gets very pure fresh fruit flavours. No oak is used, but it offers an incredible fruit concentration and chocolate undertones for the price. STAR BUY
Portugal PORTAL DA AGUIA 2009
Portuguese wine fans take note. This is one of the best bargains in Oddbins. A blend of alicante bouchet, tinta roriz, castelao and syrah from up and coming region Ribatejo – or Tejo as it is often called. This wine is named after the Eagles Gate of the long- established (1723) Quinta da Alorna, which makes the wine.
Brazil AURORA PINOT NOIR 2012
(£9.75, Vinos, Edinburgh, www.vinowines.co.uk)
A star pinot in our recent tasting – this surprise find has remarkable balance, ripe fruits and elegance, considering its origin. Made using a similar maceration carbonique method used in making Beaujolais, it has similar upfront pear and red fruit aromas and soft rounded palate. Made in Serra Gaucha by Brazil’s largest wine co-operative originally set up by Italian immigrants.
Chile TABALI LATE HARVEST MUSCAT 2010
(£7.49 hf bt, Virgin Wines; £7.99, Waitrose)
There is no better sweet wine bargain than this luscious honeyed late picked grapey scented muscat from northerly Limari. Always a winner at my tastings, tasters often confuse it for a much more expensive southern French muscat.
Join Rose’s South America Masterclass on Tuesday 5 November, £35, www.rosemurraybrown.com