Tim Atkin | Master of Wine

Tim’s Tasting Notes

91

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. 

ChickenAsianSpicyFish

 

 
 

89

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. 

BeefLambGame

 

 
 

91

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. 

ChickenFishVegetables

 

 
 

90

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. 

PorkChickenFishVegetables

 

 
 

95

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. 

PastaLambGameCheese

 

 
 

93

2014 De Martino Viejas Tinajas Cinsault, Secano Interior/Coelemu, Itata Valley

£10-15, 13%, Les Caves de Pyrene

Marcelo Retamal is one of the most exciting winemakers in South America at the moment, crafting wines that are as refreshing as they are restrained. This delicious Cinsault was fermented in old terracotta amphorae, eschewing the oak that marrs too many Chilean reds. The result is a wine with refreshing, cherrystone and raspberry flavours, subtle tannins and impressive palate length. Chile should be making more wines like this.

 

 
 

91

2013 G.D. Vajra Dolcetto d'Alba, Dolcetto d'Alba, Piedmont

£13, 13%, Liberty Wines

This is only the "entry point" Dolcetto from the Vajra family, but it's still a deliciously aromatic example of Piedmont's everyday red. Aromatic and fruity, showing flavours of plum and black cherry, as well as aromas of violets, it's at its best when lightly chilled. Aren't we all? Long and refreshing with chalky acidity. 

PastaLambGame

 

 
 

94

2008 Contino Reserva, Rioja

£19.99, 14%, Tesco; Berry Bros & Rudd; Moreno Wines; Oxford Wine; Cheers; Harrods

Contino is one of the properties that launched the single estate movement in Rioja, a superb wine that develops beautifully in bottle. 2008 was a late, cool vintage in Rioja, giving this blend of mostly Tempranillo with Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano a refreshing, low key elegance. Sublte and refined, with red fruits, subtle oak, some plummy tannins and deftly integrated oak. 

LambBarbecueCheese

 

 
 

96

2010 G.D. Vajra, Bricco delle Viole, Barolo, Piedmont

TBC, 14.5%, Liberty Wines

So appealing now that you are almost tempted to pull the cork, but give this superlative Barolo some time. Old vines, marl soils, a top vintage and brilliant winemaking all combine beautifully here. Elegant, minerally and poised, this has a red fruits sweetness that is almost reminiscent of Pinot Noir, but with a firmer backbone of acidity and tannin. Fine, silky and very long. 

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96

2010 G.D. Vajra Luigi Baudana, Cerretta, Barolo, Piedmont

TBC, 14.5%, Liberty Wines

Even chalkier and fresher than the Baudana bottling under the same label, this has more perfume, elegance and finesse, with a tautness and minerality that are thrilling to taste. Essence of Serralunga, with fine, silky tannins, good structure and a sweet, complex finish that goes on and on and on. Beautiful Barolo. 

BeefPastaLambGameCheese