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August 2008

Previous months' recommendations:  Jan/Feb 2007 | March 2007 | June 2007 | July 2007 | August/September 2007 | October/November 2007 | December 2007 | January 2008 | February 2008 | March/April/May 2008 | June/July 2008 |

Pierre Luneau-Papin Semper Excelsior Clos des Noelles 2002 Muscadet Sevre et Maine, France
After a 30 month elevage, this attractively packaged Muscadet is just beautiful. It's a concentrated, full flavoured white with expressive, complex mineral and herb notes on the nose. The palate is rich with powerful mineralic fruit and hints of citrus pith, as well as an almost marine-like quality that's hard to describe. Almost profound. 90/100 (www.lescaves.co.uk)

Secano Pinot Noir 2007 Leyda Valley, Chile
Made for Marks & Spencer by Vina Leyda. This is a really vibrant Pinot Noir with lovely pure, sappy cherry and raspberry fruit, complemented by a subtle spicy, medicinal note that remains in the background. It's perhaps a little too green and herbal, but the fresh, bright fruit here has a lovely purity to it. It's a delightfully fresh wine that tastes like Pinot. Very primary, but quite joyful. 88/100 (£6.99 Marks & Spencer)

Santa Rita Floresta Sauvignon Blanc 2007 Leyda Valley, Chile
Attractively packaged, this Sauvignon comes from the cool-climate coastal Leyda region in Chile. It’s quite impressive, with a mandarin and grapefruit notes, as well as some green pepper and a bit of minerality. Concentrated but smooth and quite understated, this is sophisticated rather than showy. A serious effort. 91/100 (£8.99 Waitrose)

Ochoa Graciano & Garnacha 2005 Navarra, Spain
A beautiful, fruit-forward red wine made with Grenache combined with the highly regarded but now rare Rioja grape Graciano. Deep coloured, the dominant feature here is vibrant, juicy, sweet raspberry and dark cherry fruit with very little oak impact and a spicy, tangy finish. This is a stylish, modern red wine of real appeal, for current drinking (it's sealed with a purple coloured synthetic cork). 89/100 (£7.99 Taurus Wines, Christopher Piper, Bentley's, Arthur Rackhams)

Dönnhoff Oberhauser Leistenberg Riesling Kabinett 2006 Nahe, Germany
What a remarkable wine. It’s incredibly rich – much richer than you’d expect a Mosel Kabinett to be – with bold, sweet citrus, melon and pear flavours mingling beautifully with spicy minerality and brisk acidity. All the competing elements are held in almost perfect tension, with the sugar/acid balance supporting the expressive fruitiness quite wonderfully. It’s concentrated and quite sweet, and really elegant and harmonious. It’s great to find so much complexity in a relatively young wine like this. 8.5% alcohol. 93/100 (Les Caves de Pyrene)

Buglioni Il Clandestino 2007 Bianco Veronese IGT Italy
From Valpolicella country, this is a really attractive fruit focused white. The nose has complex herb, smoke and mineral layers as well as some fresh white peach notes. The palate is focused and fresh with some gentle melony fruit as well as a stony, minerally finish. 89/100 (£8.55 Great Western Wine) 

Maycas del Limari Syrah Reserva 2007 Limari Valley, Chile
Amazingly deep colour. Beautiful nose of sweet brooding blackberry and raspberry jam with complex spicy notes and lovely purity. On the palate there's a hint of rubbery greenness, which along with the pure blackcurrant fruit which makes it taste a bit Chilean, but there are also warm spicy notes. It's a ripe, fruity wine of broad appeal, and overdelivers for its price point. 90/100 (£8.99 Oddbins, Tesco)

Macia Batle Crianza 2005 Binissalem, Mallorca, Spain
Sweet, seductive ripe fruity nose with some savoury, spicy, tarry notes. Quite sophisticated in a warm, ripe style. The palate is sweetly fruited but has bold, earthy, spicy notes, too. Nicely savoury, finishing long and earthy. A complex wine that should evolve nicely for the next three years or so. 90/100 (£10.99 Noel Young, The Vineyard Dorking, Thomas Panton, Corks of Cotham)

Jorge Ordonez & Co Malaga Seleccion Especial 2006 Spain
Made from Moscatel grapes dried on the vine. Light yellow in colour, this has a beautifully fresh aromatic nose of citrus oil, grapes and mandarins. The palate is super sweet and quite viscous, but with lovely bright spicy orange fruit and good acid providing a perfect counterpoint. Deliciously fresh, and quite complex for a young wine, this is tremendously easy to drink. 92/100 (£12.99 per half, Indigo Wines, Lay & Wheeler, The Vineking)

Monte Tondo Casette Foscarin 2004 Soave Classico, Italy
Yellow/gold colour. Complex nose of lemon, mandarin and herbs leads to a palate that is mouthfilling, dense and rich, with citrus fruit, honey and a bit of nutty depth. There are some pithy, bitter notes on the finish. It's a complex, food-friendly white that's peaking now. 91/100 (£12.30 Great Western Wine) 07/08

Tamellini 2006 Soave, Italy
Full yellow colour. Rich and a bit nutty with a sweet, mealy, toasty richness and some melon fruit, as well as some finer honeysuckle notes. Sophisticated and broad with a distinctive sweetness. 89/100 (£9.99 Cadman Fine Wines)

Julien Schaal 'African Dream' Syrah 2005 Western Cape, South Africa
From a vineyard in Elgin, this is made by a French winemaker and matured in 900 litre French oak barrels, and it's really good. The nose is sweet and ripe with dark cherry and blackberry fruit framed by a subtly roasted, spicy character, as well as a bit of meatiness. The palate combines lush fruit with spicy definition, as well as bright acidity. It's very ripe, but minerally and fresh with it. I wouldn't go so far as to call it Rhone-like, as some has done. It's more like an elegant take on Barossa Valley. Finishes fresh. Great value for money, this. 91/100 (£9.99 Handford Wines) 

My rating system explained. Use www.wine-searcher.com to locate a stockist in your area and my directory of UK wine merchants for details of those listed here. See also: the wineanorak's shopping list - recommended wines from each of the main UK retail outlets. These recommendations are truly independent: I don't accept payment or other favours for inclusions, nor do I sell wine.

E-mail me with your recommendations or suggestions at jamie@wineanorak.co.uk