2006 John Duval Wines Plexus
If you can have a wine that is seriously sumptuous, this is it: a Barossa Valley red made by John Duval, the man who, for many years, made Penfolds Grange. It’s a blend of shiraz, grenache and mourvedre (52:30:15) and the fruit is succulent, fresh and focused (to Duval its red fruits; to me it’s more blueberries). There’s a seam of crisp black pepper and the oak is supple and subtle, rather than a heavy presence. For all its mouthfilling richness, there is real elegance here – and if you serve it cool, which you might want to at this time of year, you’ll get a hint of mint, too. 14%.
£18.00-£19.99, HarperWells Ltd, Noel Young Wines, The Secret Cellar
2001 Crémant de Bourgogne Grande Cuvée, Albert Sounit
Matured for six years as if it was vintage champagne and made from 100% chardonnay – and, yes, it’s been worth the time and effort. Toasty, biscuity with touches of brioche and macaroon on the nose; ample and creamy on the palate with grilled brioche flavours and lively, balancing acidity. 12%. This Crémant is a good cheaper alternative to vintage champagne, but if you want something younger and more floral, Berrys Extra Dry Crémant de Limoux made by Jean Louis Denois is well worth having (£8.75)
£14.60, Berry Bros & Rudd
2007 Laurent Miquel Nord Sud Viognier
There’s a lot of viognier in the south of France and a lot of it tastes like the diluted syrup from a can of peaches. This wine shows what can be done. Textbook fresh, ripe peach and apricot flavours with citrus freshness, good acidity and just enough oak to add interest, but not to shout. It costs about a quarter as much as Condrieu, but is at least half as good. 13.5%