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Top 10 wines in the UK press

Chapel Down English Sparkling Rose NV, England

Terry Kirby, writing in The Independent, recommended three sparklers to “celebrate the approach of autumn”, including this example from England’s Chapel Down.

“Redolent of piquant late summer berries and the scent of hay and hedgerows”, he said. “Ideal as a celebratory glass, to accompany canapés or for an autumn pudding, oozing with Victoria plums.”

Price: £22, Marks & Spencer; £26.99 (or £17.98 each for two bottles as part of purchase of six mixed bottles), Majestic

Nautilus Marlborough Cuvée NV, New Zealand

This “Pinot Noir-dominated” blend from New Zealand also received praise from Kirby, who described it as a sparkler that “recreates Champagne style at half the price”.

“Toasty, golden bubbles, real depth of flavour and distinctive New World tropical fruit notes”, he said. “An aperitif or for fishy starters and canapés.”

Price: £18.50,

2014 Oxford Landing, Viognier, South Australia

“My sole white this week is this luxuriously scented beauty”, said Matthew Jukes of this South Australian Viognier writing in the Daily Mail. 

“The sleek palate and fairly rich flavour make it a more robust wine than many Sauvignons and even Chardonnays and, believe it or not, this is a clever wine for lighter pork dishes, too because it loves apple sauce!”

Price: £7.99, reduced to £5.00 until 15 September, Tesco

NV San Leo, Prosecco, Veneto, Italy

Jukes also recommended this Prosecco from San Leo, which he described as “one of the most reliable sparklers in the UK”.

“This time not only are the bottles reduced, but the magnums (150cl) which I featured in my Summer Collection are also slashed from £20.99 to £15.49!”

Price: £10.49, reduced to £7.79 until 15 September, Waitrose

Ara Single Vineyard Pinot Gris, Marlborough, New Zealand 2013

David Williams, writing for The Guardian, highlighted three wines that showcase three versions of Pinot: Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir.

“In the thicket of branches that makes up the Pinot wine grape family tree, two names stand out as the most familiar, although their reputations could not be more different”, explained Williams.

“Pinot Noir is known for being fickle and finicky but capable of transcendently aromatic and silky reds; Pinot Grigio is synonymous with borderline neutral dry whites of the most innocuous and industrial kind. No wonder serious growers in New Zealand tend to use the French “Gris” when they’re making their increasingly excellent Grigio. With its ripe sweet pear flavours, Ara’s is a particularly glowing and fluent example, with a strong family resemblance to the spicy wines made from the variety in Alsace.”

Price: £10.99, Waitrose

Litmus White Pinot, Surrey, England 2011

Williams also recommended this white Pinot from Litmus in Surrey, England.

“If the pinot family, which, according to the set text on the subject, Wine Grapes, contains some 156 varieties, wasn’t confusing enough already, here’s a wine to further complicate the picture”, said Williams.

“Though it’s called white Pinot, it isn’t made from Pinot Blanc (aka Pinot Bianco in Italy or Weissburgunder in Germany). It’s a white wine, from red Pinot Noir grapes, with the skins separated from the juice before they can lend their colour. That’s common enough in sparkling wines such as Champagne, where Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier are used to make white wines. It’s rather more unusual for still wines, but it works brilliantly in the North Downs, creating a dry white of biscuity richness, berries and apples pitched somewhere between a Burgundian chardonnay and, perhaps inevitably, an Alsace Pinot Gris.”

Price: £22, Marks & Spencer


2013 The Society’s Exhibition Single Vineyard Otago Pinot Noir, Otago

Mirroring Williams’ Pinot theme, Hamish Anderson, writing for The Telegraph, picked out a selection of “the best” New Zealand Pinot Noirs.

“Otago, in the South Island, is defined by Pinot, and the Wine Society is working with one of its best small producers, Prophet’s Rock”, said Anderson. “Its Pinot vineyards are in one of the warmer sub-zones, producing rich wines. Here soaring blackberry fruit and spice are kept fresh by a good lick of acidity.”

Price: £13.95, Wine Society

2013 Akitu Pinot Noir, Otago

Another Pinot Noir to have made Anderson’s cut is Akitu’s “silky and complex” 2013 vintage.

“Like many new regions, Otago tried a little too hard in the early days, making brash wines that lost the point of Pinot”, he said. “Akitu is the perfect example of the refinement that the best now attain. It has a warmth of fruit that could not be from Burgundy, but is gloriously perfumed, silky and complex.”

Price: £27, The New Zealand Cellar

Pomares 2014, Douro

Finally Jamie Goode, writing for The Express, turned his attention to the “unsung heroes” of Portugal, its “fresh and fabulous” white wines.

“The Douro valley, home of port, is best known for its reds, but it’s also now making tasty whites”, said Goode. “This one is fresh and aromatic, with moreish citrus and pear fruit as well as a touch of fennel. It has rich texture, delicious depth and tastes delightful.”

Price: £8.25, (01438 741177)

Monte Velho 2014, Alentejo

Hailing from the southern region of Alentejo this “textured white” is a blend of local varieties Antão Vaz, Roupeiro and Perrum, and is “bursting with pear, white peach and melon fruit”, according to Goode.

“It’s clean and fruity, but it has some richness, too.”

Price: £6.50,

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