2008 Pieropan Soave
Classico in all but name. Nino Pieropan, one of Soave Classico’s top producers, has elected to use screwcap instead of cork for his 2008, which means foregoing the Classico designation. Daft, but that’s Italian DOCG wine law for you. The wine is excellent – dry, crisp and lingering with lovely, clear lemon fruit and hints of blossom and honey. 12% alcohol.
£10.75-£11.75, Lea & Sandeman, Reserve Wines, Noel Young Wines, Bennetts Fine Wines, Harrods
2006 Balcon de la Villa Tinta de Toro
The reds of Toro in northwest Spain have improved enormously in the last few years. The region has always had the benefit of old vines, but the wines were generally rustic and chewy. Largely thanks to outside investment (much of it from Rioja and Ribera del Duero), that’s not the case now. This wine, made from 50-year-old Tinta de Toro vines (a clone of Tempranillo), is powerful, succulent and complex, with juicy blackberry fruit and vanilla-scented chocolaty oak. Great value, particularly because all that outside investment means that prices have soared. 14.5% alcohol.
£5.99, Marks & Spencer
2007 ‘T’ Toro Roble
This Toro comes from the same co-operative as the Balcon de la Villa above, but is a year younger and is aged in French as well as American barrels. It’s another full-bodied, rich wine, but with stylish fresh raspberry and spicy, mineral flavours. Again, very reasonably priced. 14.5% alcohol.