2005 Château Carignan, Premières Côtes de Bordeaux
This is a wine that will keep four or five years, if well-stored, so even if you think the last thing you need at the moment is a £14.50 red Bordeaux, you could always save it for a rainy or less economically-challenged day. You’ve got the best of the old and the new Bordeaux traditions here: a cedar-sweet nose, velvety black-fruit flavours, supple tannins, freshness and balance. What you haven’t got is old fashioned dryness or modern over-extraction. If you haven’t come across Cambridgeshire-based Private Cellar before, it was founded by ex-Corney & Barrow people in 2005 and they’ve put together a good list. 13%
£14.50, Private Cellar (www.privatecellar.co.uk)
2007 Asda Extra Special Chenin Blanc
You don’t get a lot for a fiver these days, but you get more flavour and personality from this Chenin from Paarl in South Africa than you do from most Pinot Grigio. The nose is fresh and lemony with a touch of tropical fruit and the palate is crisp, citrusy and soft-textured with some apricot sweetness on the finish. It's made from the fruit of old bush vines (age is important for quality) at the Douglas Green winery, which is part of the large DGB group. A good aperitif. 13%.
2005 Bourgogne Blanc, Buisson-Battault
Basic Bourgogne can be, er, pretty basic, but this one, from a grower based in Meursault, is well above the average. It has rich, nutty, sweet-earth aromas together with a touch of fennel/celery and a full, nutty, flinty palate. A good bottle to take to a supper or dinner party, but, then again, perhaps not if you think your host won’t open it when you’re there. 12%.