Tim Atkin | Master of Wine

Tim’s Tasting Notes


2013 Kosi Bay Selection Shiraz, South Eastern Australia

£5.99, 14%, Wine Rack

The dip in the value of the Aussie dollar has made it easier to source wine like this again, which is great news for UK consumers. Spicy, soft and just off-dry, with smooth tannins, a hint of spicy oak and juicy brambly fruit. A great party red. 





2014 Terre de Gneiss Muscadet Sèvre et Maine, Muscadet Sècre et Maine, Loire Valley

£19.99, 12%, Carte Blanche

Not many wine writers have the guts to make their own wines, so take a bow Christelle Guibert, my colleague from Decanter for making something as good as this from her native Loire Valley. As the label suggests, it was grown on gneiss soils (in case you were wondering) and was fermented in über trendy concrete eggs. It's all about old vine texture rather than perfume, owing as much to Burgundy as to the western Loire. Mineral, refreshing and bone dry, this is one of the best Muscadets I've ever drunk. Let's hope this is the first of a range of wines.







2009 Berry Brothers & Rudd Gevrey-Chambertin, Burgundy

£29.95, 13%, Berry Brothers

Showing the sweetness and silky drinkability of the 2009 vintage in Burgundy, this Gevrey from the excellent Rossignol-Trapet domaine is one of the best wines in Berrys' newly-launched own-label selection. Supple, textured and forward, it has aromas and flavours of summer pudding and a hint of savoury oak, underpinned by just the right amount of acidity. So good, you'll want to drink it now, but this has more stuffing than you think. 





2014 Patatsfontein Steen , Montagu

£29.95, 13.5%, Edgmond Wines

This is my white wine discovery of the year in my recently published South Africa report. Sourced fromthe little-known area of Montagu, it's a brilliant Chenin Blanc (Steen) made by three friends, including the talented Reenen Boorman of Boschkloof. Formerly sold off to the local co-op, these grapes have produced something remarkable in the first vintage under their own label: saline, textured and mealy with some skin tannins, wax and spice and perfectly judged oak. One of the Cape's best Chenins. 





2013 Palatia Pinot Noir, Pfalz

£10 (down to £8), 13.5%, Marks & Spencer

Gerd Stepp used to buy wine for Marks & Spencer before he returned to his former life as a winemaker in Germany. M&S' loss is our gain (and they are still stocking his wines anyway) because this is an oustandingly well priced Pinot from a country that has more of the variety in the ground than New Zealand does. It's a smooth, savoury, easy-drinking red with some spice, sweet plum and raspberry fruit, good texture and a long, supple finish underpinned by subtle oak. 





2012 Tbilvino Qvevris, Kakheti

£9, 11.5%, Marks & Spencer

Fresh from a trip to Georgia, I recommended this wine on Saturday Kitchen as a way of pushing the vinous boundaries on daytime TV. I'm delighted that it was so well received. As orange wines go, this Rkaciteli from the country's best wine region, Kakheti, is not that extreme, as only part of the blend was fermented and aged in clay amphorae (qvevri). But it's still a very good example of the style: bone dry and slightly bitter (from the skins) with notes of orange rind and black tea and a lingering, dry finish. 





2011 Finca Carelio Tempranillo, Castilla y León

£6.66, 14.5%, Majestic

If I were tasting this blind, I'd put it in Ribera del Duero, rather than the hotter Castilla y León region, such is its freshness and perfume. There's quite a bit of oak on offer here, but it's more than balanced by fruit weight and acidity. The tannins are extremely smooth for a wine at this price, complemented by notes of bramble and blackberry, subtle vanilla sweetness and a cool, almost grassy finish. 





2013 Bleasdale Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills

£9.95, 12.5%, The Wine Society

Anyone who doubts that the Australian Chardonnay revolution is one of the most exciting trends in the world, right now, booting the old "sunshine in a glass" cliché into the Great Southern Ocean, should join The Wine Society and get hold of a bottle of this remarkable wine from the cool climate Adelaide Hills. Burgundy could only dream of providing such value at under £10. Fresh, minerally and yeasty, with subtle oak and a savoury undertone, it tastes like a really good Saint Aubin. Drink over the next five years. 





2013 Raats Granite Blocks Chenin Blanc, Coastal Region

£8.61, 13.5%, Majestic

Bruwer Raats makes some of the best Chenin Blancs in South Africa, expressing precision and place rather than tropical fruit flavours. This Fairtrade-accredited example is very lightly oaked, with just a whiff of cinnamon and vanilla to complement the pear, citrus and stone fruit nuances. Tangy and refreshing with a stony bite. 





2010 Seresin Sun & Moon Pinot Noir, Marlborough

£52.99, 14%, Armit Wines

Sun & Moon is the top Pinot from Seresin (made in this instance from the Raupo Creek vineyard) with a price tag to match. It is consistently among the best New Zealand reds and that's the case here with this outstanding 2010, which is maturing with grace and elegance. Concentrated, savoury, yet also refreshing this combines structure with succulence, sustained by acidity and not afraid of tannin. A wine that will age for another ten years.