2009 Louis Jadot Marsannay (Blanc), Burgundy, France
Fresh, creamy nose with malty, light buttered Brazil-nut oak. Full, but quite tight and mineral on the palate with a creamy texture and zesty acidity. Fermented and aged for 14 months in French oak barrels. Eminently drinkable now, but will benefit from another year. 13% abv.
£17.99, or £15.99 when you buy 2 or more, Majestic
2010 Howard’s Folly Alvarinho, Vinho Verde, Portugal
From the subregion of Monção e Melgaço where Vinho Verde is allowed to be 100% alvarinho. This is David Baverstocks first white under the Howard’s Folly label, and very good it is. Ripe, sweet citrus and olive oil aromas. Intense, vibrant palate, with dried apricot and really zesty lemon fruit and a mouthwatering, slightly salty, sea-breeze finish. Good acidity and substance. Will take a bit of age. 13% abv.
£12.95, Hercules Wine Warehouse (herculeswines.co.uk)
2009 Domaine des Crès Ricards, Alexaume, IGP Mont Baudile, Terrasses du Larzac, Languedoc, France
I’ve recommended this new red before (if not here, then in House & Garden or Gourmet), but I tasted it for a second time recently and was impressed again. Very spicy on the nose with some crisp black pepper, perfumed berries and an attractive hint of Carignan leather. Full, smooth, clean palate; spicy, nutty, slightly chocolaty and honeyed, with deep, blackcuranty fruit. It’s a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Carignan grown in soils with large Chateauneuf-type pebbles and it’s a Jean-Claude Mas wine. 13.5% abv.
2007 Viña Mayu Syrah Reserva, Elqui Valley, Chile
I must have recommended this Chilean syrah in the past too but, again, I re-tasted it recently and it deserves another mention. Sweet, ripe and blackberryish on the nose with a welcome herbal freshness and the vanilla and chocolate of oak. Weighty but fresh on the palate, with a savoury combination of pepper, smoke, tar and liquorice in harmony with sweet, fresh, red fruit and evident but not overpowering oak (60% of the wine was aged in new and used French barrels for five to eight months). 14% abv.£9.15, Asda