Some smart buys from UK retailer Waitrose

Highlights from the Waitrose Spring Wine Tasting, May 2021

These are some of the wines that caught my eye at today’s tasting at Waitrose. I’m emphasizing the more affordable wines here that offer lots of pleasure at reasonable prices (with one exception).

Celler Capçanes Lasendal Seleccio 2019 Montsant, Spain
90% Garnacha and 10% Syrah from 150-450 m. Some whole bunch for the Garnacha, all unoaked. Supple and sweetly fruited with floral cherry and berry fruit. Very modern with nice depth of flavour showing a fruity elegance and plenty of weight, and shiny ripe fruit. 90/100 (£10.99 Waitrose)

Chateau Musar Aana 2018 Bekaa Valley, Lebanon
55% Cinsault, 35% Grenache, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Ripe and bold with a lively spiciness to the cherry and plum fruit. Has a savoury twist with some sour cherry and damson, as well as some subtle leathery notes, and a touch of jammy warmth. Lots of fruit here: a really striking wine. Good concentration and intensity. I think I prefer this to the current release of Musar (2012). 92/100 (£17.99 Waitrose)

Surpass Barbera Passito 2020 Piemonte, Italy        
This shows really lovely bright, floral fruit with raspberries and strawberries and a really nice texture in the mouth. Lovely vivid fruit here with a touch of sour cherry on the finish. Such a bright, pure, expressive wine with real purity and concentration. 92/100 (£10.79 Waitrose)

Mullineux Great Heart Red Blend 2019 Swartland, South Africa
This is one of a pair of wines that are a staff empowerment project at Mullineux, where the workers have ownership and share the profits. Fresh and expressive with lovely balanced, elegant sweet cherry and berry fruits. This has lovely fruit purity and a real elegance: such an expressive, balanced, drinkable red with enticing floral fruit. 92/100 (£14.99 Waitrose)

Sierra Los Andes Malbec 2020 Mendoza, Argentina
From Lujan de Cuyo at 1050 m. Wonderfully aromatic, with a floral lift, meaty richness as well as nice vivid berry fruits. Fresh and juicy on the palate with subtle green notes framing the vibrant, juicy berry fruits. Lovely freshness and drinkability here. 92/100 (£8.99 Waitroser)

Domaine Bousquet Finca Lalande Malbec 2020 Mendoza, Argentina
From Tunpungato. Supple, balanced and fresh with a juicy edge to the sweet berry and cherry fruit. It’s ripe, but it’s also fresh, and so beautifully balanced with a bit of grip, too. Stylish. 91/100 (£10.49 Waitrose)

Trefethen Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 California           
Oak Knoll district. Concentrated and satisfying with bright, bold blackcurrant fruit, some stylish spicy oak, and a lovely richness, but without ever being clumsy or overdone. It’s expensive, but it tastes it, too: very stylish. 93/100 (£44.99 Waitrose)

Summer Road Old Vine Grenache 2020 Riverland, Australia
Partial whole bunch, from old vines. This is really good: it’s supple, balanced and light in style, just the way Grenache should be, offering bright cherry and plum fruit with good purity and a touch of spicy complexity. Lovely drinkability here. 89/100 (£8.49 Waitrose)

Calabria Orford Durif  2020 Riverina, Australia
Concentrated and rich with lovely berry fruits and a touch of blackcurrant, showing sweet, pure fruit but also a nice freshness on the finish. Very bright and delicious, showing a twist of sour cherry at the end. Matured on American oak staves, but surprisingly these don’t intrude at all. 89/100

Saint Clair Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2020 New Zealand
13% alcohol. Machine harvested, aged in French oak. Fresh, juicy, grippy and nicely elegant with fresh cherry and raspberry notes. Shows lovely freshness and a brightness with good acidity. Linear and pure. 91/100 (£12.29 Waitrose)

Mullineux Great Heart Chenin Blanc 2020 Swartland, South Africa
Linear and fruity with nice pear and citrus fruit. This has a nice rounded texture, with mandarin brightness and a touch of peachy richness, and it shows purity and balance. This is a really stylish wine. 90/100 (£14.99 Waitrose)

Giesen Dillons Point Sauvignon Blanc 2020 Marlborough, New Zealand
Highly aromatic with passionfruit, pear and citrus notes, with some green hints. The palate is bright and vivid with keen acidity as well as lively pear and grapefruit notes, with well integrated green characters. Lots of personality here. 91/100 (£9.49 Waitrose)

Trius Vidal Icewine 2018 Ontario, Canada    
So rich and complex with peach, apricot and lemons, as well as some spicy richness and a bit of melon too. Very stylish and has immense sweetness countered by high acidity. Remarkable stuff. 93/100 (£24.99/half, Waitrose)

H&H 10-Year-Old Sercial NV Madeira, Portugal
This has lovely spicy intensity, with citrus peel, mandarin, tar, nuts and some raisin in the background. Has some sweetness, countered by high acidity. Apple and honey notes too, with real intensity. 94/(£19.99 for 50 cl, Waitrose)

Website: Waitrose Cellar