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January 2008

Previous months' recommendations:  June/July 2006 |August 2006 | September/October 2006 | November 2006| December 2006 | Jan/Feb 2007 | March 2007 | June 2007 | July 2007 | August/September 2007 | October/November 2007 | December 2007

Casa de Mouraz Branco 2005 Dão, Portugal
This organic white Dão is a bit of an oddity, but it’s fantastic. Lovely reductive, burnt match nose combines with some barrel-ferment richness. Long, broad, full palate is minerally and fresh with lovely depth of flavour. A very distinctive Burgundian style. 92/100 (£8.99 Duncan Murray Wines, Philglass and Swiggot, Corks of Cotham) 

Errazuriz Estate Wild Ferment Chardonnay 2006 Casablanca Valley, Chile
I like the concept behind this wine. 'Wild Ferments' are those where cultured yeasts aren't added. What happens is that indigenous yeasts from the vineyard and winery environment begin the fermentation slowly, and then after a while the regular wine yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, kicks in and finishes the job. Because of this, the wines that result (particularly the whites, in my experience) have added complexity of flavour, and a rather different mouthfeel. And here, with this Chardonnay, it works well. It has a warm, complex nose of butter, toast, herbs, vanilla and fruit spanning the spectrum from figs to lemons. The palate shows nice toasty complexity and nice fresh acidity, finishing long. Altogether, this is a thought-provoking, rich style of Chardonnay that may well improve with a couple of years in bottle. Good value for money. 90/100 (£9.99 Tesco, Stone, Vine and Sun; £11.95 Berry Bros & Rudd)

Montana Terroir Series Corbett’s Legacy Pinot Noir 2006 Waipara, New Zealand
One of the new terroir series from NZ giant Montana, this is a brilliant wine from the Waipara region, near Christchurch on South Island. There’s a bit of spicy, earthy presence to the meaty dark fruits nose. The palate has a nice spicy, earthy depth to it with good acidity. It’s a really lovely complex, savoury wine. 93/100 (Not sure of stockists – imported by Pernod Ricard UK)

Domaine du Closel La Jalousie Savennières 2005 Loire, France
A really fantastic, intense dry Chenin from the Loire, boasting aromas of herbs, honey, straw and lanolin. The palate is concentrated, mineralic and dry, with a strong savoury, almost cheesy character to it. Nice acidity keeps things very fresh. It’s quite a challenging drink now, but I reckon this will age very well and pick up complexity over the next decade. 90/100 (£9.95 The Wine Society, £11.95 Tanners)

Southern Right Sauvignon Blanc 2007 Walker Bay, South Africa
A fresh, intense and rather unusual Sauvignon Blanc from a relatively cool-climate maritime region in South Africa. The dominant feature here is a distinctive green pepper, chalky methoxypyrazine streak, which adds some savoury complexity to the intense herby, grassy fruit. It’s a concentrated wine that would work very well with food, but isn’t really suited to casual sipping. Beautifully packaged with a lovely label, a half-length silver capsule (a la Ridge) and a high quality natural cork. 88/100 (£8.99 Noel Young, www.sawinesonline.co.uk)

Cono Sur Visión Gewürztraminer ‘Las Colmenas’ 2007 Casablanca Valley, Chile
A perfumed, aromatic white with lovely fresh floral, grapey, lychee aromas. The palate is dry but exuberantly fruity showing fresh, citrussy, gently herby, grapey flavours. There’s nice concentration of flavour here, along with some delicacy—this grape variety is one that can tend to be overly heavy and fat at times. Delicious and food friendly. 89/100 (£7.99 Majestic)

Villa Maria Pinot Noir Cellar Selection 2006 Marlborough, New Zealand
Lovely nose: fresh, spicy meaty red fruits here, with nice perfume. Ripe but still very fresh and quite cherryish. The palate is complex and spicy. It's really expressive with lively acidity and an appealing meatiness. A delicious wine. 92/100 (£11.99 Tesco, Thresher, Booths)

Champagne Jean Moutardier Cuvée Selection NV
Quite deep coloured, this is a 50:50 blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. It’s a serious Champagne. The intense, toasty nose has a fine herby edge and hints of toffee. The palate has rich toast and brioche notes, along with a bit of nuttiness and some citrus freshness. Great depth and intensity: a full flavoured style that is just delicious. Brilliant stuff. 92/100 (£19.95 Great Western Wine)

Herbert Triebaumer Ruster Ausbruch 2002 Burgenland, Austria 
Yellow/gold in colour, this is a rich, almost pungent sweet wine with lifted aromas of cantaloupe melon and apricot, alongside spicy and herbal notes. The palate is viscous (163 g/litre residual sugar) with bold, concentrated flavours of ripe apricot, citrus and melon, together with some spicy complexity. It’s a serious wine of real class and intensity that just manages to stay balanced despite the immense sweetness. 93/100 (£21.95 Great Western Wine)

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