An exploration of wine

Co-op press tasting: everyday wines that real people drink

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Co-operative supermarket tasting book

Co-op supermarket’s Autumn Tasting booklet

It was great to have the chance to attend the Co-op supermarket’s press tasting, where they showed the below 62 wines and a handful of spirits. All too often, wine people live in a fine wine world, which is a comparatively tiny part of the wine that actually gets sold, bought and drunk in the UK.

Tasting a supermarket’s offerings is important to remember what goes on in the real world, and to assess the wines that most people drink, most of the time – even if this tasting had a disproportionate number of wines on limited release at less than 1,000 of the Co-op’s over 2,500 stores (not including the recent Nisa acquisition).

It’s also a very good reminder of how hard the task is for supermarket buyers to source wines in the £5-8 core price bracket and actually deliver good value. With Duty rates meaning only 40-50p is available for the wine itself in a £5 bottle of wine, and only around £1.50 at £7, buyers have a job on their hands.

Co-operative Nero de Troia very good value

Very well-bought Nero de Troia, very good value at £5.50

That’s what made Co-op’s sourcing of Caldirola’s Il Sarmento Nero di Troia 2017 particularly impressive, as it delivered very well for just £5.50 (15 / 20 or 87 / 100). There were a few others that demonstrated good value for money in the £6-8 range too.

Of course there were misses. Early on, the Co-op Irresistible Viognier was very much resistible. If you’re going to let your marketing guys label it as such – you can’t really let that happen. Especially immediately before the textbook Semillon-heavy, barrel fermented Clos Floridène Graves Blanc 2016. Generally the Irresistible range didn’t do it for me, other than the Mount Benson Shiraz.

That said, the Really Awesome Wine white, vegan Spanish blend had decent enough Verdejo character to pull off the RAW branding.

With money no object, there were definite highlights on an absolute quality scale, my top 5 (well, 6 because of mathematics) being:

  1. Taylor’s Quinta de Vargellas Vintage Port 2004 (17+ / 20; 94+ / 100)
  2. Clos Floridène Graves Blanc 2016 (16.5 / 20; 92 / 100)
  3. Château de la Maltroye Chassagne-Montrachet 2016 (16.5 / 20; 92 / 100)
  4. Pol Roger Extra Cuvée de Réserve Champagne Brut NV (16 / 20; 91 / 100)
  5. Trapiche Medalla Malbec Mendoza 2015 (16 / 20; 91 / 100)
  6. Château Roumieu Sauternes 2014 (16 / 20; 91 / 100)

I also decided for the first time to score / 100 as well as the / 20 that I’ve used so far, just to see what happens. It seemed to work OK. For me, the translation from one to the other is:

Exceptional to great: 20 = 100, 19.5 = 99, 19 = 98, 18.5 = 97, 18 = 96, 17.5 = 95, 17 = 94
Very good to solid: 16.5 = 92-93, 16 = 90-91, 15.5 = 88-89, 15 = 86-87
Basic to poor: 14.5 = 84-85, 14 = 82-83, 13.5 = 80-81, 13 = 78-79

The wines are listed in the order of the tasting book, although I actually tasted all the whites first, then went back to reds, before finishing with fortified and sweet wines.

 

Wines 

Co-op Irresistible Prosecco Brut NV (14.5 / 20; 85 / 100)
Made by Zonin. 100% Glera. 11% ABV. £8 / bottle.
A: Very pale lemon with a bright mousse
N: Floral apple & pear. Simple but clean, bright and with some character. Correct
P: Sweet then dry entry. Bright apple and floral. Moderate length, but with some more character than many

Les Pionniers Champagne Brut NV (15.5 / 20; 89 / 100)
Made by Piper Heidsieck. 50% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Meunier, 20% Chardonnay. 12% ABV. £18.99 / bottle.
A: Pale lemon with a fairly fine bead
N: Fresh, bright, clean lemon sherbet. Ripe citrus. Hints of brioche lees
P: Loose mousse. Apple, some citrus and background lees. Drier than many bruts. Medium-long. Good value

Pol Roger Extra Cuvée de Réserve Champagne Brut NV (16 / 20; 91 / 100)
34% Chardonnay, 33% Pinot Noir, 33% Pinot Meunier. 12.5% ABV. £40 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Pale lemon; light bead
N: Dusty, spice lees with some toast – notable density of lees. Some citrus fruit beneath
P: Fine mousse – some finesse here. Creamy mid-palate and ripe citrus. Medium-long

Bollinger Special Cuvée Champagne Brut NV gift pack (16 / 20; 90 / 100)
60% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay, 15% Pinot Meunier. 5-15% of primary fermentation in old oak barrels. 12% ABV. £44.99 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Pale-medium gold, with a medium intensity, lazy bead
N: Pronounced coffee and biscuit lees. Some flinty mineral. Rounded oxidative tone to dense apple fruit
P: Fairly fine, prickly bead. Full body. Rich. Some tannic grip, surprisingly. Long. Dry and brisk

Domaine Les Chaumes Pouilly-Fumé 2017 (15.5 / 20; 88 / 100)
12.5% ABV. £13.75 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Pale lemon
N: Marked cucumber, asparagus and flinty stone. Green citrus fruit beneath
P: Dry, with powerful pea-pod and capsicum pyrazine mid-palate. Quite aggressive flinty-smoky character. Lots of extract. Medium-long

Domaines Schlumberger Pinot Blanc Les Princes Abbés 2016 (15.5 / 20; 89 / 100)
70% Pinot Blanc, 30% Auxerrois. 13% ABV. £11 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Pale gold
N: Sweet, rich, flesh white peach. Chalky mineral. Scented. Characterful
P: Brisk acidity gives life. Chalky texture and minerality. Dry – no RS here. Medium-full body. Not that long though

Co-op Irresistible Viognier St Gabriel Vineyard Pays d’Oc 2017 (13.5 / 20; 80 / 100)
13.5% ABV. 100% Viognier. 15% oak aged for 3 months. Screwcapped. £8 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Pale lemon-green
N: Peanut-soil character before white flower and apricot. Industrial oil tones
P: Bitter. Rich oiliness but oil flavour not apricot. No

Clos Floridène Graves Blanc 2016 (16.5 / 20; 92 / 100)
Jean-Jacques Dubourdieu. 51% Sémillon, 47% Sauvignon Blanc, 2% Muscadelle. 8 months in oak on lees. 13% ABV. £19 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Very pale lemon
N: Nutty, lanolin-laced lemongrass and hints of vanilla. Rich and dense. Perfumed citrus and wax
P: Aromatic grapefruit peel, lanolin and lemongrass. Brisk, terpene-link bitterness. Medium-long to long. Would like just a little more mid-palate weight, but classic style of Graves Blanc

Domaines des Valanges Saint-Véran 2017 (15.5 / 20; 88 / 100)
9 months in French oak. 13% ABV. £12 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Pale gold
N: Honeyed, apple-crumble oak over peachy fruit. Dusty
P: Bright acidity. Rounded yellow peach. Some oak toast. Moderate length with some pleasant bitterness

Château de la Maltroye Chassagne-Montrachet 2016 (16.5 / 20; 92 / 100)
10 months in French oak. 13% ABV. £39.99 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Pale-medium gold
N: Hint of struck match. Spiced, toasted hazelnuts. Rich citrus
P: Integral, brisk acidity. Some bacon fat and hazelnut. Rich mineral. Spicy oak and a creamy finish. Good length

Château de Pizay Réserve de Pizay Beaujolais Villages 2017 (15.5 / 20; 88 / 100)
13% ABV. £8 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Pale-medium purple
N: Floral, slightly jammy blackberry and black cherry fruit. Dusty, fudgy complexity
P: Juicy, jammy black cherry. Furry, fairly firm tannins. Not massively long, but more than moderate length. Good value

René Lamy Chassagne-Montrachet Rouge 2015 (15.5+ / 20; 89+ / 100)
12-14 months in oak. 13% ABV. £24.99 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Pale ruby-garnet
N: Roasted, spicy fruit. Mocha oak. Stem touch? Baked earth
P: Rich, dense, spicy, dried red cherry. Herbal. Chewy, fairly firm tannins. Medium-long, with a creamy-toasty finish. A bit clumsy, perhaps? Big, robust style rather than with finesse

Tour d’Autan Corbières 2017 (13.5 / 20; 81 / 100)
40% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 30% Carignan. 13% ABV. £7 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Mid ruby
N: Horsey – brett here? Baked blackberry beneath
P: Leathery black fruit. Gentle spice. Chunky, wild, firm tannins. Moderate length. Not enough fruit for the structure

Cave de Roquebrun Les Hauts de Saint Martin Saint-Chinian 2017 (15.5 / 20; 88 / 100)
45% Syrah, 30% Grenache, 15% Carignan, 10% Mourvèdre. 13.5% ABV. £7.50 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Deep purple
N: Smoky reduction. Grilled bacon meatiness. Dense, spicy, jammy black fruit with a liquorice lift
P: Smoky, spicy and savoury. Just a bit of astringent bitterness to the tannins. Medium length

Domaine Agly Bio Réserve Rousillon Villages 2017 (15.5 / 20; 88 / 100)
Vignerons Catalanes. 80% Syrah, 20% Grenache. 14% ABV. £10 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Mid-deep ruby
N: Slightly wild, funky-gamey notes. Juicy red cherry. Savoury, dried thyme lift
P: Red and black cherry. Smoky and spiced. Firm, slightly wild tannins. Bacon fat and pepper finish

Château l’Esparrou Languedoc 2016 (15 / 20; 87 / 100)
60% Grenache, 40% Syrah. Syrah aged in French oak for 8 months. 14% ABV. £10 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Mid-garnet
N: Mellow, dried red fruit, old tobacco – somewhat oxidative. White pepper savouriness
P: Old leather, white pepper. Dried and jammy red cherry. Spicy. Fairly-firm, peppery tannins

Famille Perrin Côtes du Rhône-Villages Les Cardinaux 2016 (16+ / 20; 90+ / 100)
80% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 5% Mourvèdre. 13.5% ABV. £10 / bottle.
A: Mid purple
N: Rich and spicy berry fruit. Slight baked tone to raspberry and scented, floral cherry. Some stones and garrigue complexity
P: Medium-full body. Ripe, raspberry and cherry. Dense. Firm, grainy tannins. Decent length. Needs time. Pretty good value

Delas Saint-Joseph Les Challeys 2016 (16 / 20; 90 / 100)
100% Syrah. Part aged for a short period in oak. 13% ABV. £18 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Mid-deep purple
N: Ripe raspberry and red cherry. Cracked black pepper. Stones. Floral lift
P: Brisk acidity. Plum and black cherry. Spice. Firm, slightly grainy tannins. Medium-long

Clos Montalbanie Pécharmont 2015 (15 / 20; 87 / 100)
Chateau de Tiregand. 55% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc, 5% Malbec. 20% aged for 12 months in French oak. 14% ABV. £8 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Mid garnet
N: Subtle cedar-vanilla and cocoa, over fresh earth and spice. Broad red and black plum fruit. Dusty
P: Some red fruit density. Dusty mineral. Chewy, fairly-firm tannins. Overperforms for its price

Château Jouanin Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux 2016 (15 / 20; 87 / 100)
80% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot. 60% aged in oak. 13.5% ABV. £9 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Pale garnet
N: Tobacco and tomato leaf. Cigar box, spice and crushed rock
P: Brisk acidity. Tomato leaf and red cherry. Tobacco finish with fair length. Moderate, peppery tannins

Château Dasvin-Bel-Air Cru Bourgeois Haut-Médoc 2015 (15 / 20; 86 / 100)
60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc. 50-70% aged in oak for 16 months. 14% ABV. £12.50 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Mid ruby with garnet glints
N: Baked earth and cedar. Scented tobacco leaf. Some capsicum. Rich cassis – slightly baked
P: Cassis and tobacco. Capsicum touches. Medium body. Fairly-firm, fairly-fine tannins. Moderate length

Château Sénéjac Cru Bourgeois Haut-Médoc 2015 (16+ / 20; 90+ / 100)
Alfred Tesseron. 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot. 12-15 months in 30% new oak. 13.5% ABV. £17 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Mid-deep garnet
N: Clove, vanilla and cedar. Integral. Tobacco and gravel mineral. Precise, savoury cassis
P: Dense, cassis spice and gravel mineral. Leafy tobacco. Compact, firm, ripe tannins. Needs time!

Co-op Irresistible Gavi Broglia 2017 (15 / 20; 87 / 100)
Unoaked. 13.5% ABV. £8.50 / bottle.
A: Very pale lemon, with some spritz
N: Neutral. Ripe apple and apple core. Herbal-floral overtones
P: Ripe apple. Chalky-dusty mineral. Some dustiness of texture. Fair length. Pretty good value

Caldirola Il Sarmento Nero di Troia IGT Puglia 2017 (15 / 20; 87 / 100)
100% Nero di Troia. Screwcapped. 13% ABV. £5.50 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Mid-deep ruby
N: Crushed rock and black pepper over dense, ripe blackberry
P: Plush, ripe blackberry. Curiously brisk acidity (acidified?). Dense flavour. Jammy. Peppery, fairly-firm tannins. Delivers very well for its price-point. Really good value

Tenuta Trerose Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva 2013 (15 / 20; 86 / 100)
85% Sangiovese, 7.5% Merlot, 7.5% Cabernet Sauvignon. 18 months in oak. 14% ABV. £12 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Mid garnet
N: Clay-earth mineral, balsamic with lifted vanilla and coconut, suggestive of American oak. Mocha. Baked blackberry beneath
P: Firm, grainy Sangiovese tannins. Drying. Some dried red and black fruit with spicy tones, but overall just too much tannin for the fruit

Bertani Novare Valpolicella Ripasso 2015 (15 / 20; 86 / 100)
80% Corvina, 20% Rondinella. 12 months in French oak. 13.5% ABV. £11 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Pale ruby-garnet
N: Fresh leather and bitter almond, suggesting traditional winemaking. Dried red fruit. Some oak spice
P: Juicy, sweet red fruit. Spice. Stem-herb type tones. Fairly-firm, peppery tannins. Fair length. Not as dense as I would have expected from a Ripasso style

Villa Annaberta Amarone della Valpolicella 2015 (15.5 / 20; 89 / 100)
70% Corvina, 20% Rondinella, 10% Corvinone. 12 months in French oak. 15% ABV. £18 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Pale garnet
N: Dried cherry. Toasty mocha oak and nuts. Touch of VA lift. Dried herb and espresso
P: Sweet, dried red cherry entry. Definitely some RS. Balsamic, dried red cherry fruit. Powerfully-spicy alcohol tones. Fairly firm, but fine-grained tannins

Vila Real Rabelo Douro Red 2017 (15 / 20; 86 / 100)
40% Touriga Nacional, 30% Tinta Roriz, 30% Touriga Franca. Unoaked. 13.5% ABV. Helix, unscrewable, technical cork. £6 / bottle.
A: Mid-deep ruby
N: Swimming pool reduction touch. Spicy chocolate tones over ripe, slightly baked, mixed berries emerges
P: Juicy, black and red berry fruit. Some herb tones. Spicy. Sappy. Fairly firm, slightly chewy tannins. Quite good value at the price-point

Vinis Catalonia Cop de Ma Priorat Fort Selección 2017 (15.5 / 20; 88 / 100)
50% Garnacha, 50% Mazuela (Carignan). Aged in French and American oak. 14% ABV. £13 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Mid-purple
N: Dusty mineral and raisined black cherry. Mineral. Background, cedar oak touch. Savoury
P: Medium-full bodied. Quite dense, dried, spicy redcurrant and black cherry fruit. Fairly firm, wild-textured, Carignan tannins. Fair length

Albacea Jumilla Monastrell 2017 (15+ / 20; 86+ / 100)
100% Monastrell. Unoaked. 15% ABV. £10 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Mid-deep ruby
N: Fresh earth. Then spice, crushed rock and smoky black cherry. Floral notes. Distinctive
P: Juicy blackberry. Minerals. Spice. Some grilled meat. Big, chunky firm to high tannins. Warming, hot alcohol finish. Tannins and alcohol detract from this interesting wine

Beefsteak Club Tempranillo 2017 (14 / 20; 83 / 100)
100% Tempranillo. Unoaked. Screwcapped. 13.5% ABV. £8 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Mid-deep purple
N: Creamy red cherry with ashtray and rock overtones. Toast
P: Plum and black cherry. Big slab of chunky tannins. Drying. Hard

Bodegas Navalon Anciano Gran Clásico Tempranillo 8 Year Old Valdepeñas 2009 (14 / 20; 83 / 100)
100% Tempranillo. 18 months in American and French oak. 12.5% ABV. £9 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Pale-medium garnet
N: Coconut vanilla, with an ‘astringent’ lift of VA. Dusty-earthy – a bit dirty? Baked red cherry beneath
P: Sour red cherry. Creamy oak. Fairly-firm, chewy tannins. Fairly-long, vanilla-coated finish

RAW Really Awesome Wine Organic & Vegan Villaneuva de Alcardete Verdejo-Airen-Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (15 / 20; 86 / 100)
50-60% Airén, 30-49% Verdejo, 1-10% Sauvignon Blanc. Unoaked. 13% ABV. £8 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Very pale lemon-green
N: Moderate intensity, but bright, correct Verdejo fruit – greengage and tropical, with boxwood. Some cool ferment touches, then nutty
P: Apple, greengage, gooseberry and boxwood. Fair acidity but a little flat. Peppery touch to the medium-long finish

Murviedro Somos Cantina 34 Viura & Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (13 / 20; 78 / 100)
70% Viura, 30% Sauvignon Blanc. Unoaked. Screwcapped. 11.5% ABV. £6 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Very pale gold
N: Neutral. Pear drops. Apple
P: Empty. Some apple

Co-op Irresistible Rioja Crianza 2014 (14 / 20; 84 / 100)
Made by Bodegas Muriel. 100% Tempranillo. 12 months in American oak. Screwcapped. 13% ABV. £7.35 / bottle.
A: Mid-ruby
N: Integral, toasted coconut and vanilla oak, dust and ripe red cherry
P: Slightly dirty / earthy. Creamy. Firm, chalky tannins. Moderate length

Ramón Bilbao El Viaje de Ramón Garnacha Rioja Rosado 2017 (15.5 / 20; 88 / 100)
100% Garnacha. Unoaked. Screwcapped. 12.5% ABV. £8 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Very-pale onion skin
N: Spicy edge to slightly vegetal and savoury strawberry skin
P: Spiced, chewy, chalky texture. Some strawberry skin. Chalky, savoury style. Nice, but who is this for?

Quinta do Crasto Castrum by Crasto Douro Red 2016 (15.5 / 20; 89 / 100)
35% Touriga Nacional, 30% Tinta Roriz, 25% Touriga Franca, 10% Tinta Barroca. 5% aged in oak. 13% ABV. £10 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Deep black-purple
N: Schist mineral. Herb touch. Background nutty oak. Fresh leather / bitter almond. Rich black fruit
P: Medium-full body. Ripe black mixed fruit. Spice and schist mineral. Faint vanilla touch. Mulberry. Firm, wild tannins. Good length

CVNE Imperial Rioja Reserva 2014 (16+ / 20; 90+ / 100)
85% Tempranillo, 5% Garnacha, 5% Graciano, 5% Mazuelo. 2 years in French and American oak. 13.5% ABV. £19 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Mid-deep ruby
N: Dill, balsamic, nuts and toast. Rich, dense, slightly dried black cherry fruit beneath
P: Fairly full-bodied. Firm, chalky tannins. Creamy finish. Medium-long finish

Mount Rozier The Weather Man Sauvignon Blanc Western Cape 2018 (14 / 20; 83 / 100)
100% Sauvignon Blanc. Unoaked. Screwcapped. 12.5% ABV. £6.50 / bottle.
A: Pale lemon
N: Nutty. Vegetal-lees. Not much fruit beyond boxwood-sweat
P: Juicy, but not much density of earthy-nutty boxwood

Mount Rozier Fruit Orchestra Chenin Blanc-Viognier Western Cape 2018 (15 / 20; 86 / 100)
85% Chenin Blanc, 15% Viognier. Unoaked. Screwcapped. 12.5% ABV. £8 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Very pale lemon
N: Pear-drop cool fermentation notes dominant. Then fresh apple. Some floral emerges
P: Rounded green apple. Some spice. Crisp-enough acidity

Mount Rozier The Scarlet Pimpernel Merlot-Malbec Western Cape 2018 (15 / 20; 87 / 100)
76% Merlot, 24% Malbec. Unoaked. Screwcapped. 12.5% ABV. £7 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Mid-deep purple
N: Fresh leather, crushed pepper and meat tones over dense plum and blackberry
P: Bright acidity. Cassis. Fresh leather. Plum and spice. Moderate length maximum, with fairly-firm, chalky tannins

4 Winemakers Malbec Mendoza 2017 (14.5 / 20; 85 / 100)
Made by La Liga de Enólogos. 100% Malbec. Unoaked. 13% ABV. £6 / bottle.
A: Mid-deep purple
N: White pepper, jammy blackberry, cedar. Stony mineral
P: Sweet black, jammy fruit. Fairly firm, grainy tannin. Fair length. Not bad value

El Esteco Don David Blend of Terroirs Malbec-Malbec Calchaqui Valley 2016 (16 / 20; 90 / 100)
100% Malbec. Unoaked. 14% ABV. £9 / bottle.
A: Deep black-purple
N: Spicy, meaty, jammy blackberry. Some floral lift
P: Juicy, ripe, dense blackberry. Spicy. Jammy white pepper. Fairly firm, polished tannins. Pepper, medium-long finish. Proper Malbec. Pretty good value

Trapiche Medalla Malbec Mendoza 2015 (16 / 20; 91 / 100)
100% Malbec. 12 months in French oak. 14% ABV. £13 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Deep ruby
N: Marked, torrified vanilla-clove oak. Rich blackberry beneath. Some flinty-smoky complexity
P: Ripe, pure blackberry. Vanilla. Fairly firm, fine tannins. Long and creamy. Textbook oaked Malbec

Co-op Irresistible Carmenère Maipo 2017 (15 / 20; 86 / 100)
Made by Viña Indomita. 100% Carmenère. Screwcapped. 13.5% ABV. £7 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Mid-deep purple
N: Smoky, grilled fruit. Blackberry and black cherry. Coal smoke. Leaf and white pepper
P: Polished black cherry and green pepper. Medium, fairly ripe tannins. Jammy, moderate length finish. Decent. Not bad value

Marisco Vineyards The Ned Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2018 (15.5 / 20; 88 / 100)
100% Sauvignon Blanc. Unoaked. Screwcapped. 13% ABV. £9.99 / bottle.
A: Very pale lemon
N: Fair intensity but clean, sweaty boxwood and gooseberry
P: Some RS at entry. Vibrant acidity. Gooseberry. Some sweat at the finish. Classic

Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2018 (15 / 20; 87 / 100)
100% Sauvignon Blanc. Unoaked. Screwcapped. 13% ABV. £9.50 / bottle.
A: Pale lemon
N: Nutty overtones to pure, brisk, grassy citrus
P: Crisp acidity. Lemon-lime and grapefruit. Upfront. Pure

Shaw+Smith The Interlude Sauvignon Blanc Adelaide Hills 2018 (14 / 20; 83 / 100)
94.4% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Pinot Gris, 0.6% Semillon. Unoaked. Screwcapped. 13% ABV. £7 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Very pale lemon
N: Quite neutral. Some lime and kiwi fruit. Pear drop
P: Watery pear and kiwi. Some lime tones. Short

Yalumba The Y Series Pinot Grigio South Australia 2017 (14.5 / 20; 85 / 100)
100% Pinot Gris. Unoaked. Screwcapped. 12.5% ABV. £9 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Very pale lemon
N: Struck match, then musk spice emerges, with pear fruit hints beneath
P: Brisk acidity. Pear fruit and citrus. Some spiced grip at the moderate-length finish

Robert Oatley Signature Series Chardonnay Margaret River 2016 (15 / 20; 87 / 100)
100% Chardonnay. 5-6 months in 20% new French barriques. Screwcapped. 12.5% ABV. £11 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Pale lemon
N: Struck match. Lean lime-lemon and apple beneath. A bit tinned. Nutty tones
P: Medium-full body. Some richness with a nutty-toasty mid-palate. Hint of pineapple and lime. Creamy, fair length

Vandenberg Fortune Favours the Brave Chardonnay Adelaide Hills 2018 (15.5 / 20; 88 / 100)
Made by Limestone Coast Wines. 100% Chardonnay. 25% aged for 6 months in French oak. Screwcapped. 12.5% ABV. £10 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Pale lemon-green
N: Ripe apple and apple crumble. Toasty-nutty
P: Slightly angular, ripe and crisp apple. Brisk acidity. Nutty. Decent length finish, but just doesn’t quite hang together

McPherson Wine Company Laneway Chardonnay Victoria 2017 (15.5 / 20; 89 / 100)
100% Chardonnay. 8 months in French oak puncheons. Screwcapped. 14% ABV. £8.50 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Pale-medium lemon
N: Reductive touch, then lifted vanilla-almond oak. Spice
P: Juicy, peachy fruit. Some hints of vanilla, nuts and spice. Creamy finish. Some alcohol burn through the long finish detracts a touch

McWilliams Off The Press Shiraz Tempranillo New South Wales 2017 (15 / 20; 86 / 100)
62% Shiraz, 30% Tempranillo, 8% Other. 9 months in American oak. Screwcapped. 13.5% ABV. £9 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Mid ruby-purple
N: Baked tones to red and black cherry. Lifted, toasted coconut and black pepper. Meaty
P: Juicy, ripe, red and black cherry. Baked fruit. Fairly firm, fairly fine tannins. Jammy. Fair, creamy length

Mount Pleasant Philip Shiraz Hunter Valley 2015 (15 / 20; 86 / 100)
100% Shiraz. 12 months in French oak. Screwcapped. 13.5% ABV. £11 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Mid ruby
N: Bacon fat, fresh meat, tobacco. Sour red cherry and leafy tones of Hunter Valley
P: Sour red cherry and raspberry. Distinctive. Bacon fat. Spice and some oak tones. Fairly firm, slightly chalky tannins. Fair length

Nepenthe Shiraz Adelaide Hills 2016 (16 / 20; 90 / 100)
100% Shiraz. 18 months in French and American oak. Screwcapped. 14.5% ABV. £11 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Mid-deep ruby-purple
N: Jammy raspberry. Some grilled meat. Vanilla, caramel and clove overtones. Integral. Sophisticated
P: Juicy, bright blackberry. Clove, vanilla and toasted oak. Firm, ripe tannins. Good freshness and length

Co-op Irresistible Shiraz Mount Benson 2017 (15.5 / 20; 88 / 100)
Made by Limestone Coast Wines. 99.85% Shiraz, 0.15% Cabernet Sauvignon. 10% matured with French oak chips. Screwcapped. 13% ABV. £7 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Mid-deep purple
N: Leafy tones over bacon fat, black olive and stony mineral
P: Green pepper, leafy raspberry and blackberry. Stony. Spicy. Firm, fairly fine tannins. Bacon fat finish. Good value for £7

Vandenberg Fortune Favours the Brave Melee Limestone Coast 2017 (16 / 20; 90 / 100)
Made by Limestone Coast Wines. 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 50% Shiraz. Unoaked. Screwcapped. 13.5% ABV. £10 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Mid-deep ruby
N: Bacon, white and green pepper. Chalky mineral tones. Spicy-savoury. Black and blue fruit beneath
P: Medium-full body. Sweet black fruit entry. Creamy mid-palate. Fairly firm, ripe tannins. Medium-long to long finish

Château Roumieu Sauternes 2014 (16 / 20; 91 / 100)
89% Sémillon, 10% Sauvignon Blanc, 1% Muscadelle. 18 months in French oak. 14% ABV. £13 / 37.5cL. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Mid-deep gold, with green glints
N: Dusty, curry spice. Savoury botrytis. Some ginger stem and dried stone fruit complexity
P: Sweet – 120-130 g/L RS? – but with decent, balancing acidity. Vanilla cream tones. Stone fruit and ginger. Good botrytis bit at the finish. A little warming

Domaine de Lasserre Jurançon 2015 (15.5 / 20; 89 / 100)
Petit Manseng, Gros Manseng. Unoaked. 12% ABV. £7 / 37.5cL. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Mid-deep gold
N: Baked quince, pineapple, crystal stone fruit and honey. Classical
P: Vibrant acidity. Medium-sweet. Pineapple, ripe quince and cream. Good length, honeyed finish

Pedro Rodriguez Mil Pesetas Manzanilla de Sanlucar de Barrameda Sherry NV (15 / 20; 87 / 100)
Made by Bodegas Barbadillo. 15% ABV. £6.50 / 50cL. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Pale lemon with some gold glints
N: Pronounced apple skin aldehyde. Hint of olive. Not complex, but correct
P: Chewy texture. Green apple skin and hints of olive. Chewy, slightly bitter finish. Not the most refined Manzanilla

Co-op 10 Year Old Tawny Port NV (15.5 / 20; 89 / 100)
Made by David Guimaraens at Quinta and Vineyard Bottlers. Blend including Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francesca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca and Tinta Cão. 20% ABV. £14 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Medium-depth tawny, with a notably red core
N: Spirity tones over dried and preserved red berries. Some toasty, spice tones
P: Sweet, dried fruit. Spirity mid-palate. Nutty. Definitely long, but just a bit spirity and simple

Taylor’s Quinta de Vargellas Vintage Port 2004 (17+ / 20; 94+ / 100)
Made by David Guimaraens at The Fladgate Partnership. Blend including Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francesca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca and Tinta Cão. 20.5% ABV. £30 / bottle. Available in less than 1,000 stores.
A: Opaque black-garnet
N: Toasty, spicy, dried black fruit. Some black tea and balsamic. Integral and complex
P: Fully sweet but with smoky, spicy, crushed rock savouriness. Firm, still compact tannins. Long, slightly warming finish, laced with chocolate. Tannins still need time to soften

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