THIS week I have been seeking out quaffing bargains for a tenner or less from across the world.
The country which scored highest in this tasting was Spain for both its whites and reds: with interesting new up-and-coming regions offering great value in comparison to well known Spanish classics. We also unearthed some fantastic consumer-friendly wines in particular from Argentina, Chile and Portugal.
TERRACES GRUNER VELTLINER 2011 Domaine Wachau
For anyone looking for a dry white with a difference – Austria can deliver. This gruner veltliner from the famous Wachau region is light, spicy and characterful. It would be delicious as an aperitif, with seafood or Chinese dishes.
Rias Baixas, Spain
BURGANS ALBARINO 2011 Martin Codax
This ticks all the boxes for the popular albarino grape: aromatic peach/melon notes, zippy acidity and a rich textured mouthfeel. Made at the Martin Codax winery in the far north west Spanish region near Santiago de Compostela, it was very popular in our tasting.
Terra Alta, Spain
CATALAN EAGLE WHITE 2011
(£9.50, WoodWinters, Edinburgh and Bridge of Allan)
From the little known Terra Alta region in southern Catalonia, this clever blend of garnacha blanco with French Rhone white grapes, viognier and roussanne is an intriguing aromatic dry white from vineyards near Tarragona.
SEVILEN SAUVIGNON BLANC 2011
(£9.99, Marks & Spencer)
The Mediterranean climate here produces zesty, fresh, steely sauvignon blanc – and winemaker Florent Dumeau has given it six months on its lees to add a creamy roundness to the palate. This shows the future potential of this wine country.
LA LEGUA ROBLE 2009
(£8.75, Berry Bros & Rudd, www.bbr.com)
Made from tempranillo, the same grape as rioja, this comes from a little known region in central Spain – near to the Duero river with a fierce continental climate; its hot dry summers produce fabulous value chunky reds. With light raspberry notes, it is medium bodied with smooth tannins.
PORTAL DA AGUIA 2009 Quinta da Aloma
This is a fantastic value, modern, fruity glugger with very smooth tannins made from a blend of tinta roriz (aka tempranillo), castelao, syrah and alicante bouschet. Portugal’s Tejo region was once home to mass-market cheap light wines. Now producers are planting on better soils and the results are staggeringly good.
PORTILLO MALBEC 2011 Bodegas Salentein
(£9.99 or £6.99 each for 2,
A new find from Argentina’s stunning Tupungato region. I have visited Bodegas Salentein twice now – and reckon it has one of the most impressive winery locations in the world set right in the foothills of the Andes. With exceptional fruit purity with blueberry fruit aromas, sour cherry flavours and lots of spice and cloves, it would suit those who love big reds. This won the Decanter Trophy for Best Malbec under £10 this year.
McLaren Vale, Australia
WILLUNGA 100 TEMPRANILLO 2010
(£9.99, Mostly Wine, Kirkcaldy; Fine Wine Co, Musselburgh; Peckham’s, Glasgow; Drinkmonger, Pitlochry and Edinburgh; Longship, Orkney; Ellies Cellar, Dollar; House of Menzies, Aberfeldy; The Cave; Margiotta)
Made from the same grape as rioja. Australia has only 400 hectares of tempranillo planted mainly in South Australia and New South Wales. This delicious, fleshy, lush example from just south of Adelaide shows what potential the grape has Down Under. Imagine a very, very ripe upfront fruit rioja.
ZENATO VILLA FLORA 2011
Lugana is not a well known Italian wine area, but anyone who has been to Lake Garda might well have sipped a lugana. Similar to a soave in style, but with more floral aromas and a creamier richness to the palate than many soaves.
Leyda Valley, Chile
ANAKENA SINGLE VINEYARD DEU PINOT NOIR 2011
(£9.99 or £7.99 each for 2, Majestic Wine)
I have been a huge fan of the Anakena winery in the Rapel region ever since my visit there three years ago. It’s one of Chile’s best performing wineries for upfront fruit quality and excellent prices. Fruit for this pinot hails from their new vineyards in the cool Leyda Valley on the Pacific coast. This is elegant, polished and very approachable – the hallmark of the Anakena style.