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Top 10 wines in the UK press

2014 Peter Yealands, Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand

Matthew Jukes, writing for the Daily Mail, picked out the wine scoops currently on offer in the UK, which included this New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc by Peter Yealands.

He said: “Yealands also makes NZ’s most famous white grape in a more invigorating way than all of the big boys and it’s only a tenner. This is a dry, scented, mouth-watering wine of the highest grade.”

Price: £10.00, Co-op, Sainsbury’s

2011 Château de Caladroy, Cuvée des Schistes, Côtes du Roussillon Villages, France

Set to hit the shelves at Lidl on 26 February for the princely sum of £8.99, this “stunning, bold and complex” red will move fast, says Williams.

He said: “‘Schist’ is a laminated, crystalline rock-based soil often finely interleaved with quartz which vines absolutely adore. Some of the greatest vineyards in the world (Côte-Rôtie, Douro, Central Otago) feature schist soils and this stunning, bold, complex red which hits the shelves on the 26 February is an absolute belter. Do not miss out on this wine – it will move very fast and you have the scoop!”

Price: £8.99, Lidl

Pizarras de Otero Bierzo 2013, Spain

The rise of the Spanish red grape variety Mencía has taken Britain by storm, according to David Williams who this week recommended a number of wines made from the grape writing in The Guardian. 

He said: “It’s rare for a grape variety to break through to the mainstream as rapidly as Spanish red grape Mencía has. Just five years ago it was hard to find any at all in the UK. Now most retailers stock at least one example. Bierzo, just across the border from Galicia, is where it’s most widely planted, with Galician winemaking co-operative Martín Códax – better known for their textbook, sea-fresh Rías Baixas albariño whites – here conjuring up one of the best-value examples of the variety in its light and juicy easy-drinking mode: all crunchy berry fruit and floral freshness.”

Press: £9.99, or £6.66 if you buy two bottles, Majestic

Dominio de Tares Cepas Viejas 2009, Bierzo, Spain

Williams also recommended this 2009 example from Dominio de Tares Cepas Viejas, which he said had “darker fruit, spicy oak and savoury, earthy bass notes.”

He said: “One of the reasons for Mencía’s popularity is that it sits so well with the current preference for fresher reds: certainly the Pizarras, as well as Asda’s vibrant Pájaro Rojo Bierzo 2013 or the vivid, spicy El Castro de Valtuille Mencía Jovén 2013. It has a direct, racy quality similar to Beaujolais, and responds well to an hour or two in the fridge. But Mencía is also capable of being made into more serious wines that improve with age: Dominio de Tares’ old-vines bottling, for example, retains the cherry-freshness, but adds darker fruit, spicy oak and savoury, earthy bass notes.”

Price: £19.50, Swig; Lay & Wheeler



2009 Rioja Reserva ‘Cune’ CVNE

Sticking with Spain Hamish Anderson, writing for The Telegraph, revealed his three top Riojan wines – sales of which have continued to surge as the rest of the wine industry has declined. This has lead to predictions that Spanish wines will within three years account for a “greater share of the British market than their French rivals”. One recommendation was this Cune 2009 Rioja Reserva.

He said: “CVNE (Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España, to give it its full name) owns some of Rioja’s most famous brands, Cune being one of them. Traditional with a dash of modernism, this has flavours of oak, vanilla and sweet spice, but they do not dominate. The lasting impression of this supple, appealing wine is of plum and blackberry.”

£14.99, Majestic

2002 Rioja Reserva ‘Viña Tondonia’ López de Heredia

Another of his top picks was this 2002 ‘Viña Tondonia’, which at £19.99 is a “stone-cold bargain”, according to Anderson.

He said: “Tondonia are arch traditionalists (this spends six years in an oak barrel) and usually adorn Michelin-starred restaurant wine lists. Pale with subtle aromas of flowers, Asian spice and red fruit, it only grows in the decanter.”

Price: £19.99, Co-operative

Kaiken Ultra Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, Argentina

Terry Kirby, writing in The Independent, picked the best Cabernet Sauvignon wines from individual winemakers this week – one of the wine world’s “favourite grapes”.

He said: “Made by the Montes Chilean concern in the Mendoza region of Argentina and named after the wild geese that also cross the Andes, this packs a punch with big flavours of black fruits, vanilla, mint and tobacco. Will improve with age, but drinkable now with rare steak or beef sirloin.”

Price: £14 (minimum six bottles),; £13.50,

Chalkers Crossing Cabernet Sauvignon, Hilltops 2010, Australia

Another of Kirby’s picks was this Australian Cabernet from Chalker’s Crossing, make by a French winemaker in a “cooler, hilly area of New South Wales.”

He said: “This has echoes of Bordeaux and none of the over-oaked blast of some Aussie reds. Elegant, balanced, precise, concentrated blackberry flavours, some minerality keeping it highly drinkable.”

Price: £13.99,

Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay 2009, Auckland, New Zealand

Finally Jamie Goode rounded up a selection of the best oak-fermented white wines.

He said: “Oak adds flavours such as vanilla, spice, toast and even coconut, and in the right context this can be a positive addition. Some people like the flavour of oak and others don’t – some wines even market themselves as being “unoaked”.

Of this New Zealand Chardonnay he said: “Chardonnay has an affinity with oak and this is a top example. It’s toasty and peachy, with notes of quince and spice plus a lovely lemony core. The oak supports the fruit really well.”

Price: £18.99, Waitrose

Penfolds Thomas Hyland Chardonnay 2009, South Australia

This 2009 Chardonnay by Penfolds was also recommended by Goode.

He said: “Australian Chardonnay used to be really oaky, but they’ve reined it in over the last few years. This is a complex, rich, spicy example with pear and peach fruit plus some toasty oak adding interest.”

Price: £14.99, Morrisons

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