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June/July 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

Champagne Marc Chauvet Brut Tradition NV
A grower Champagne from Rilly la Montagne, where the Chauvets have 14 hectares of vines. A fresh, well-balanced fizz with citrussy fruit, some subtle toasty warmth and nice acidity. It has a pleasant savoury depth and lovely poise, combining freshness and richness. Itís quite a serious wine, without being at all heavy. A proper, grown-up NV Champagne, blending together the attributes of Chardonnay and the two Pinots to good effect. As an aside, this producer does a joint venture with Quartz Reef in New Zealandís Central Otago region. 89/100 (£17.99 www.therealwineco.co.uk)

Verus Vineyards Furmint 2007 Slovenia
(Alternative name: Verus Stajerska Slovenia Kakovostino Vino ZGP äipon 2007, where äipon is a synonym for Furmint.) Beautifully packaged, this is a really stylish wine that reminds me a bit of Austrian Gruner Veltliner. It has a lively, fruity, almost peppery nose with some grapey depth to it. The palate is really lively and fresh, with an exuberant fruity, spicy character and a hint of spritz on the bright, acidic finish. This is a very pure, clean, minerally white that's full flavoured but zippy, and would be a versatile food wine. I like this a lot. 12% alcohol. 90/100 (£7.99 www.therealwineco.co.uk)

Disznůko Tokaji Dry Furmint 2006 Hungary
The ancient variety of the Tokaji region makes dry whites like this, as well as the legendary sweet Tokaji. This has a broad, rich, deep nose with a smoky, spicy edge to the melon and herb fruit. The palate is quite complex with a fresh minerally character underpinning broad, grapey, slightly spicy fruit. Thereís lots of interest here: a really food friendly style with a lot of personality. Beguiling stuff. 91/100 (£9.19 rrp, contact fionacampbell@btopenworld.com for more information)

Frankland Estate Olmoís Reward 2003 Frankland River, Western Australia
This is a blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot, with a bit of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon in the mix, and itís brilliant. Lovely ripe, aromatic nose with fresh, intense black fruits and a minerally edge. Expressive. The palate shows real poise and elegance with ripe, dark fruits and fresh minerality. Structured and savoury. 94/100 (£16.75 Berry Bros & Rudd)

Domaine Treloar ĎTahií 2006 CŰtes du Roussillon
The top wine from this domaine, who advocate the use of sustainable viticulture. Itís a big old wine, made with a fair dollop of new oak, but thereís more than enough fruit to deal with it. Tight, dark, concentrated and quite tannic, this could do with a few years to become more approachable and is potentially very long-lived. Ripe dark fruits dominate, with a subtly roasted coffee oak edge and a bit of plummy bitterness on the finish. Thereís a lot going for this wine, but itís pretty tannic and full-on at the moment, and the tannins overpower the finish. Iíd be fascinated to see how this wine will taste in a decade: I reckon it will be pretty serious. 93/100 (£16.50 Leon Stolarski Fine Wines)

Diane de Belgrave 2005 Haut-Mťdoc, Bordeaux
The second wine of fifth growth Ch‚teau Belgrave, this has a really attractive nose showing dark fruits, minerals, olives and spice. The palate shows generous, rich blackcurrant and raspberry fruit backed up by spicy, mineralic structure. Thereís some elegance here, and it isnít as square and tannic as some of the other 2005s I have been tasting of late. Stylish stuff thatís beginning to be approachable now. Drink now and over the next three years? 89/100 (£11.99 Majestic)

Philippe Alliet Chinon Vieilles Vignes 2005 Loire, France
Lovely dense gravelly nose showing dark fruits with lovely aromatics. Itís fresh and minerally. The palate has lovely depth of fruit with pure, fresh dark fruits. I lovely the gravelly edge to this refined Cabernet Franc. Fantastic stuff. 93/100 (rrp £13, Genesis Wines is the UK agent)

Marmesa Vineyards Hollister Peak Chardonnay 2005 Edna Valley, California
Unusually for California, this is an unoaked Chardonnay, aged on its lees to add complexity. Itís rich and boldly fruited, with a warm, buttery, broad character balanced nicely by citrussy, stony freshness. Imagine Chablis, taken up a couple of notches in richness, ripeness and weight, and youíll be close. Unoaked Chardonnay runs the risk of being boring, but this certainly isnít. 89/100 (£9.99 Oddbins)

EOS Reserve Petite Sirah 2004 Paso Robles, California
An inky dark purple black colour, this is a bold, intense red wine of real character, although it won't appeal to everyone. It's bursting with rich blackberry and raspberry fruit, together with some bitter dark chocolate notes, as well as a bit of earthiness. I'm even getting a hint of rubber here. All this is underlain by some firm spicy tannins. Not at all shy, but savoury and dense enough to stop it being just another sweet, over-ripe, over-cooked new world red. Hard to score such a distinctive wine. It's edgy, imperfect, but interesting. 89/100 (£9.99 Co-op)

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)

Corralillo Chardonnay Reserve 2005 San Antonio, Chile
This biodynamic white comes from Matetic, one of Chile's most exciting producers. It's almost overpowering, with intense flavours of nuts, vanilla, figs, citrus fruits and spice. Super-rich and very ripe, this wine almost has too much flavour for its own good. It really comes into its own with richly flavoured food, where the weight of the wine isn't quite so obvious. It would also work quite well with cheese. A big, complex Chardonnay for current drinking, and not for the timid. 90/100 (£9.99 Marks & Spencer)

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