Christmas Wine Bargains 2022

(By Peter) I took part in a blind tasting in late September 2022 for Which? magazine to find some great value sparkling and red wines for Christmas. Full results are in the magazine or the PDF below. It's quite a handy guide if you're on the lookout...

Cheval Blanc 1949

Château Cheval Blanc 1949, St Emilion  This isn't an attempt to grandstand. I was lucky enough to try this very special wine during a recent visit to 'The Fort Knox of wine', 100 feet underground in Octavian's Corsham Cellars, and I thought it would be interesting to...

Lyme Bay Pinot Noir 2020

Lyme Bay Pinot Noir 2020, 12.5%, England  (from £27.99, Lyme Bay website & cellar door, Amps Fine Wines, Fareham Cellars, Tivoli, Elizabeth Rose, Wickham Wines etc) When we put this tip out via social media, someone responded along the lines of: all English Pinots taste like battery...

Banks Brothers Chardonnay No 3

Banks Brothers Chardonnay No.3, 13%, Hemel-en-Aarde, South Africa (13%) (£21 for three 250ml cans) We've been trying a fair few wines in so-called alternative formats recently. Including cans - like this one. And this is, without doubt, the best wine we've ever tried out of a can. It's very...

Santa Tresa Rina Russa Frappato 2019

Feudo di Santa Tresa 'Rina Russa' Frappato 2019, 13%, Sicily, Italy  (from £8.99, The Wine Society, Ocado, Vintage Roots) This is a juicy, upbeat, lighter-bodied red perfect for autumn or spring drinking. It's also amazing value for money – plus it’s organic and suitable for vegans. On the back...

Bride Valley Dorset Pinot Noir 2018

Bride Valley Pinot Noir 2018, Dorset, England, 12% (£21.50, Bride Valley) This is a sprightly, elegant red with a spring in its step, a joie de vivre and a youthful charm, all of which captures something of its proprietor, Steven Spurrier, who recently died aged 79. His passing...

Leeuwin Estate Art Series Cabernet 2016

Leeuwin Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Margaret River, Western Australia, 13.5% (£47, Stannary Wine) One of the five founding wineries of the Margaret River region back in the early 1970s, Leeuwin estate has built an enviable reputation as one of Western Australia’s leading lights. In a region famed...

Hacienda San Juan Pinot Noir 2015

Hacienda San Juan Pinot Noir 2015, San Antonio, Chile, 13.5%  ($34, Vinos del Rey (Miami) and Crescent Inc (NY)) Freshness. Elegance. Complexity. That's what the best wines from San Antonio can give you. This coastal region is a relative newcomer in Chilean wine terms but right from the...

Pegasus Bay Pinot Noir 2018

Pegasus Bay Pinot Noir 2018, Waipara, New Zealand 13.5%  (£26.50, North and South Wines, Saxtys Wines, Must Wines, The Wine Reserve) February has proved a bleak month for those in lockdown in the UK but it was brightened somewhat by New Zealand Winegrowers holding its first ever...

Aristargos 2018

David & Nadia Aristargos 2018, Swartland, South Africa, 13.5%,  (£25, Justerini & Brooks) We cracked open this voluptuous but energising white to mark South Africa’s Heritage Day (24th Sept). You can see a short vid we filmed for the occasion, as below. Many wine industries around the world...

Eyrie Original Vines Pinot Noir 2016

Eyrie Original Vines Pinot Noir 2016, Dundee Hills, Oregon 14% (£80-90, Savage Selection) This was a lockdown wine to remember. And remember we did, because we only had about 100ml of the stuff (whole bottles tend to interfere with memory, we find). That's because this wine was part of...

Exquisite Collection Organic Malbec 2019

Exquisite Collection Organic Argentinian Malbec 2019, 13.5% (£6.99, Aldi) This juicy, fresh, easy-going red will give a lot of drinking pleasure. It’s worlds away from the body-builder reds that have fallen out of fashion in Argentina lately. This is upbeat, friendly stuff that also happens to be organic....

Neyen Malbec 2016

Neyen Malbec 2016, 13%, Apalta, Chile (c £50) I wasn’t supposed to taste this wine. The producer was supposed to send another wine. But somehow it was this very particular Malbec – just one of 762 bottles made – that ended up being despatched. Serendipity, I guess you’d call...

Clusel Roch Traboules 2017

Clusel Roch Traboules 2017, Coteaux Lyonnais, France (£12.67, Justerini & Brooks) Clusel Roch is an excellent producer best known for its excellent northern Rhône reds, including some delicious Côte Rôties.  This Traboules is an intriguing and utterly delicious oddity. It's from the south of the little-known Lyonnais appellation, not...

Sidewood Isabella rosé 2014

Sidewood Isabella rosé 2014, Adelaide Hills, Australia (£21 or AUS$32, www.sidewood.com.au) Owen Inglis’s Sidewood Estate in Australia’s Adelaide Hills is a new discovery for us.  Although the estate produces both still wines and ciders, it was the current releases of Sidewood’s sparkling wines that we were recently sent...

Frappato Syrah Terre Siciliane 2018

Passo Mastro Frappato Syrah Terre Siciliane 2018, 14%, Italy (£6.99, Lidl, *from 21st November 2019) This cheery, upbeat Italian red is a blend of Frappato with Syrah from Sicily. It was one of the better value wines on show among the 30-odd Lidl wines at this tasting – though...