Blackbook Clayhill Chardonnay 2017

Blackwood Clayhill Chardonnay 2017, 11.5%, England (£18.50, blackbookwinery.com) This is a wine that gets us excited - for many reasons. Firstly, it's made from Chardonnay.  We're aware that may be problematic for those many people traumatised by soupy, sickly, revolting Chardonnays of the past. But this isn't just any...

Louis Guntrum Pinot Noir 2017

Louis Guntrum Pinot Noir 2017, 13.5%, Rheinhessen, Germany (£13.99 down to £10.49 until 16.7.2019, Waitrose Cellar) Is Pinot Noir the wine lover's ultimate grape?  And, if so, where do you find great value bottles of the same? A short while ago, I posed these questions on social media.  In answer...

Roebuck Estates Classic Cuvée 2014

Roebuck Estates Classic Cuvée 2014, 12%, Sussex, UK (Enquiries via website) One of the wonderful things about working in wine is the potential for making new discoveries. Roebuck Estates is my most recent. Until mid-June, I hadn’t heard of Roebuck. It was only after chairing the WineGB Awards...

Chapel Down Bacchus 2018

Chapel Down Bacchus 2018, 12.5%, England (from £12, Sainsbury's, Ocado, Waitrose) Bacchus is a fascinating grape. It's originally from Germany but the UK seems to have co-opted it as its own and now it's England's answer to Sauvignon Blanc - aromatic, tangy and seemingly able to capture...

Nero Oro Appassimento 2017

Nero Oro Appassimento 2017, 14%, Sicily, Italy (£8.99, Majestic) For those who like their reds a bit smoother and richer, this is for you. It makes a really versatile drinking partner for many dishes – partly because the appassimento (drying the grapes) gives a bit of richness and...

Naoussa Single Vineyard Xinomavro 2016

Naoussa Single Vineyard Xinomavro 2016, Apostolos Thymiopolous 13.5%, Greece (£15.50, The Wine Society) The Greek grape variety Xinomavro literally translates as ‘sour black’. So this gives you some idea of the kind of punch it can pack. (Susie describes it as, ‘like Nebbiolo on speed’.) This rendition is pretty...

Mas Martinet Bru 2016

Mas Martinet Bru 2016, 14.5%, Priorato, Spain ($39, €18-22, £18.68 Justerini & Brooks) Catalonia is one of our favourite wine regions on the planet. It’s such a beautiful part of the world. Amazing food and wine. Wonderful people. A Mediterranean coastline that veers from the tourisy to the...

Chinuri Skin Contact 2015

Chinuri Skin Contact 2015 Iago Bitarishvili, Chinuri Skin Contact 2015, Kartli, Georgia, 13% (£19.60 for the 2016 vintage, Les Caves de Pyrene) If a recent trip to Georgia proved anything, it was the fact that no one single phrase neatly sums up the style of Georgian wine, whether...

Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1976

Robert Mondavi Winery Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1976, Oakville, California, 13% (Not commercially available) California’s Mondavi Winery is owned by Constellation Brands, a principal supporter of the Institute of Masters of Wine and sponsor of the IMW’s Robert Mondavi Winery Award. This award is given each year to...

Flint Vineyard Bacchus 2017

Flint Vineyard Bacchus 2017, 11.5% (£15.99 from the winery or £16.95 at BBR) The 2018 vintage will be a game-changer for many reasons in English and Welsh wine. This was the joint warmest summer on record, with beautiful weather from June to August, and then a very gentle...

Adnams Riesling 9%

Adnams Riesling 9% (£9.99, Adnams) ‘Seriously, what’s the point of wine with no alcohol in it?!’ Such was the reaction of a good friend when we told her we’d been doing a tasting of low-and-no-alcohol drinks. (The category is known in the industry as ‘low-and-no’.) On one level, the...

Cà dei Frati Rosa dei Frati 2017

Cà dei Frati Rosa dei Frati 2017, Lombary, Italy, 13% (c. £15, independents) I gave a bottle of rosé to a friend recently. He took one look and almost gave it straight back. ‘That’s not real wine, is it?!’ he exclaimed. ‘I mean, it looks like it’s a...

Chateau de Bel Franc de Bel NV

Chateau de Bel Franc de Bel NV, Bordeaux, France £23.90-29, Jaded Palates, Queen's Park Wines or via Wine Searcher  This is Bordeaux, but not as we know it. Olivier Cazenave has a broad smile and big ambitions. He's going against the grain in Bordeaux, one of the most...