Close Menu

Top 10 wines in the UK press

Abbotts & Delaunay Zephyr Limoux 2012

Three very different whites from the Languedoc were recommended by Terry Kirby, writing in The Independent this week.

The first was this Chardonnay from an Aude wine-maker, “that sounds like a firm of English solicitors”, which he said brings a more “refined tone” to an area known for its bulk wines.

He said: “Well-balanced between fresh, citric minerality and a richer depth, this is ideal for fine white fish, such as turbot, with salsa verde.”

Price: £16.99,

Racine Picpoul De Pinet 2013, Languedoc, France

Kirby’s selection for a wine to match a midweek meal came in the form of this “salty”, yet smoky Picpoul.

He said: “Mostly grown on limestone near the Mediterranean coast between Agde and Sete, Picpoul is beguiling, opening with zesty pear-drop flavours, followed by a salty, smokey tanginess that hits the mid-palate. Goes with any white fish or shellfish – it comes from a big oyster farming area, so they’re a natural accompaniment.”

Price: £9.30,

Waitrose Seriously Peachy Limited Reserve Pacherenc Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh Protégée, France

Susy Atkins, writing for The Telegraph, shared her love of what she said were the “unsung heroes of summer drinking” – lighter sweet wines.

She said: “I tasted a range of sweet Muscats, Rieslings and Chenins recently and was immediately reminded of their wonderfully delicate, refreshing qualities, floral scents, and, oh!, the flavours – juicy peaches, orange-blossom honey, ripe apples and citrus peel – the best, and most suitable for hot weather, with a palate-cleansing streak of crisp acidity balancing out the high sugar levels.”

Of this peachy dessert wine, she said: “Stronger, at 12.5%, and with a slightly bitter note of lemon peel from the Petit Manseng grape, which cuts through the peachy sweetness. Sip very cold with tarte au citron.”

Price: £10.99 for 37.5cl, Waitrose, currently down to £8.99

Darting Estate Huxelrebe Beerenauslese 2011 Pfalz, Germany

Another of Atkins’ recommendations was this German sweet wine.

She said: “An exquisite treat, utterly moreish on hot evenings with its succulent tang of acidity and delectable juicy apple, apricot and white peach flavours.”

Price:  £19 for 50cl, selected Marks & Spencer

Primarius Oregon Pinot Noir 2011, US

In keeping with the UK’s continued warm weather, David Williams, writing for The Guardian, picked a selection of lighter reds for outdoor drinking this week.

Of this Oregon Pinot Noir, he said: “Received opinion has it that the best barbecue bottles are the hale and hearty reds made in places where barbecues are part of the culture. But while it’s true that an Argentine Malbec or an Aussie Shiraz really comes into its own when there’s a steak on the grill, they’re not quite so much fun with lighter meats and fish – or, for that matter, in the afternoon, when their alcohol levels bring on a thumping headache. In a summer of many barbecues, my go-to choice has been lighter reds that work best after a half-hour in the fridge, such as this zesty, bright Pinot from the USA’s Pacific northwest.”

Price: £8.99, Tesco

Caruso e Minini Perricone Sicily, Italy 2012

Another of Williams’ recommendations was this Italian red made from the Perricone grape which he described as an “unusual wine”

He said: “A red wine needn’t be light in alcohol to take well to a chill. As a rule of thumb, if it’s young and unoaked, the fruit will almost always be brighter and more sharply focused after even a few minutes in the fridge. This unusual red, made from the local Sicilian variety Perricone, for example, is relatively beefy at 14% abv, compared to the 12% or so of the rest of this week’s wines. But its buoyant mix of darkly plummy and ripe red and black cherry fruit is at its best when the bottle is beaded and the spicy sausages are fresh off the grill.”

Price: £7.99, Marks & Spencer

2013 Mud House Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand

Matthew Jukes, writing for the Daily Mail, praised this New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc which he said is currently on offer at a “ludicrous price”.

He said: “I enjoyed an amazing one-on one tasting with Mud House winemaker Ben Glover, in June, and he told me in intricate detail how he makes this wine – it is a beautiful creation with awesome citrus aromatics and a keen, racy finish.  The deal price is ludicrous for a wine of this class.”

Price: £9.99, reduced to £6.66 each if you buy two, Majestic.

2011 Pactio, Fertuna, Maremma, Toscana, Italy

Jukes also highlighted this “incredible” Tuscan red.

He said: “The word Toscana is a mighty one on wine labels – it means Tuscany!  A huge region making whites, reds and sweeties, the most famous being Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino.  This incredible wine come from the Maremma region of Southern Tuscany.  Established in 1997, this estate is a joint venture between Giuseppe Meregalli and the Marchese Nicoló Incisa della Rochetta who makes Italy’s most famous and expensive wine, Sassicaia (another Tuscan hero).  Pactio is a work of art and a relative bargain, too!”

Price: £15.50, Wimbledon Wine Cellar

Bouchard Père et Fils, Fleurie 2012, France

Tom Cannavan, writing in The Huffington Post, recommended this French red as one which could be served chilled throughout the summer months, bringing out its “summery, bright red berry and strawberry notes.”

He said: “The UK has enjoyed a wonderfully hot and sunny summer so far this year, which means our thoughts naturally turn to chilled whites and rosé wines. But in very hot weather all red wines can be transformed by just 10 minutes in the door of the fridge: cooling them down just a little emphasises their freshness. Some red wines can suit being quite well chilled however, and the Gamay grape of Beaujolais is a great candidate. This week’s wine, from the top Beaujolias village of Fleurie, had 15 or 20 minutes chilling to bring outs its summery, bright red berry and strawberry notes, with riper black berries and just a hint of Beaujolais sappy and earthy character. On the palate it is a grown-up wine, with lots of savoury qualities and highish acidity giving it a supple, juicy and food friendly quality: a red wine with refreshment built in. Watch the video for more information and specific food matching ideas.”

Price: £11.99, Waitrose

Vinalba 50/50 2012, Domaine Vistalba, Argentina

Finally, Angela Mount, writing for the Bath Chronicle, recommended this “sumptuous” 50/50 Argentinean blend of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon, describing its as “a real beauty at the price”.

She said: “Argentina continues to knock out wave after wave of fabulous reds, and this is no exception. Worthy winner of a silver medal in the recent International Wine Challenge, it’s a bold, succulent, sumptuous blend of rich, curranty Cabernet Sauvignon, and rich, dark, violet scented Malbec, made up in the hills in the cooler region of the Uco Valley. The result is a stunningly ripe, inviting, and opulent red, crammed with dense, brambly black fruit, with hints of toast, liquorice and dark chocolate. A real beauty at the price, and perfect for the weekend barbecues, spicy lamb chops, and slow braised meats with a hint of chilli spice.”

Price: Majestic £11.99, down to £7.99 when you buy two

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No