4th Nov 2011
The pick of Waitrose's wine range
by Tim Atkin
2010 Saumur, Les Nivières (£7.49, 13%)
Essence of Loire Cabernet Franc, this unoaked red is a delight: soft and grassy with fresh acidity, no oak and pure blackcurrant and green pepper notes.
2009 Gérard Bertrand Minervois (£7.49, 14%)
One of the best value wines from this charismatic ex-rugby player, combining Syrah and Carignan to delicious effect: perfumed, spicy and as wild as the hills.
2007 Torre del Falco Nero di Troia, Puglia (£7.99, 13%)
Made from the aromatic, cherry-scented Nero di Troia grape, this Puglian rosso is refreshing, minerally and unoaked. Try it lightly chilled.
2009 Azienda Agricola Malvirà, Nebbiolo delle Langhe (£11.99, 13.5%)
"Cheap" Nebbiolo isn't always a pleasant experience, but this is lovely: savoury, refined and almost Pinot Noir-like, with just the right amount of tannin.
2008 Heinrich Hartl St Laurent, Thermenregion (£16.49, 12.5%)
Austria's reds don't get as much coverage as its whites, but the best are superb. This is textured and crunchy, with notes of tomato leaf and strawberry.
2009 Te Muna Road Craggy Range, Martinborough (£19.99, 14.4%)
Craggy is one of New Zealand's best red wine producers. This is ripe, but well balanced with fine tannins, subtle oak, sweet red fruit and impressive length.
2008 Odfjell Orzada Carignan, Cauquenes (£15.99, 14.5%)
Carignan is the most exciting grape in Chile at the moment, especially from Maule. Minty, stylish and sweetly oaked, with fresh acidity and a nip of tannin. 92 points
2010 Boekenhoutskloof The Chocolate Block, Western Cape (£18.99, 14.5%)
A great name and a great wine, this blend of mostly Syrah with three other grapes is wonderfully aromatic, with bags of blackberry fruit and seamless oak. 93 points
2010 Clonakilla Hilltops Shiraz, New South Wales (£17.99, 14%)
Tim Kirk makes some of Australia's finest Shirazes. This is his "entry point" wine, but it's still very complex, with zesty acidity, polished tannins and pepper spice.
2011 Cowrie Bay Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough (£5.99, 12.5%)
Classic gooseberry and grapefruit flavours with no cloying sweetness. Hard to do better than this from New Zealand for less than a fiver.
2010 Charte d'Assemblage, IGP Côtes de Gascogne (£7.99, 12%)
Made from Colombard and Ugni Blanc, this unoaked Gascon white is deliciously tangy, with flavours of melon and pink grapefruit and palate-cleansing acidity.
2010 Domaine Paul Blanck Gewurztraminer, Alsace (£13.99, 13.6%)
Far less OTT than some Alsace Gewurzs, this is a very poised, even restrained white with lovely balance, a touch of sweetness and subtle ginger spice.
2010 Leitz Rüdesheimer Rosengarten Riesling Kabinett, Rheingau (£10.99, 10%)
Johannes Leitz makes some of my favourite German Rieslings. This minerally white is zesty and floral with haunting balance between acidity and sweetness.
2010 Terredora Terre degli Angeli Greco di Tufo (£13.99, 13%)
A really complex example of this native Campanian grape: spicy, rich and appealingly honeyed with fresh acidity and a hint of bitter almond.
2010 Txomin Etxaniz Chacoli de Guetaria (£13.99, 11.35%)
Not the easiest wine to pronounce, but this Basque country white is the perfect aperitif: spritzy, light-bodied and refreshing with lemon and lime fruit.
2010 Palacio de Fefiñanes Albariño, Rias Baixas (£15.99, 13%)
My favourite Albariño on the market at the moment, combining weight and intensity with freshness. Pear, citrus and stone fruit with a very long finish.
2010 McManis Family Vineyards Viognier, California (£10.99, 13.5%)
A sign that California is finally starting to deliver in the mid-priced market? Creamy and textured with spice balanced by peachy, yet refreshing flavours.
2010 Catena Chardonnay, Mendoza (£11.99, 13.5%)
The Chardonnays from this forward-thinking producer are getting better by the vintage. This combines New World richness with Burgundian minerality.
2009 Vincent Girardin Meursault (£29.99, 13.5%)
Toasty and comparatively forward (2009s often are), this has the fatness of Meursault but is underpinned by racy, almost Puligny-like acidity.
Graham Beck Pinot Noir/Chardonnay Brut, Western Cape (£12.99, 12%)
For less than £13, this dry fizz has to be the best value sparkling wine in the UK. Small bubbles and complex flavours of toast and grilled almonds.
Waitrose Brut NV Champagne (£19.99, 12%)
Waitrose's own labels Champagnes are the best on the high street, but this one really stands out. Malty, creamy and full of Pinot fruit, it's a steal at £15. 92 points
2004 Waitrose Brut Special Reserve (£29.99, 12%)
An elegant, all-Chardonnay Blanc de Blancs from P&C Heidsieck that's a great foil for the Non Vintage Brut. Very fresh, very pure, beautifully balanced.
2001 Felsina Berardenga Vin Santo, Tuscany (£29.99, 16%)
If you're ever going to splash out on a great sweet wine, now is the time. Made from dried grapes, this has notes of incense, violets and spiced raisins.
Waitrose Solera Jerezana, Fino del Puerto (£8.49, 16.5%)
This is the pouring Sherry in my house at the moment. It's salty, yeasty and refreshing, like standing by the sea with the wind on your face.
Related topics: United States, New Zealand, Italy, Germany, France, Chile, Other Reds, Syrah/Shiraz, Pinot Noir, Nebbiolo, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Other Whites, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay, Albariño, Column
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