Tim Atkin | Master of Wine

Tim’s Tasting Notes


2015 Boutinot, Les Six Cairanne, Côtes du Rhône Villages, Rhône Valley

£12.99, 14.5%, D. Byrne

Made with six different varieties - nothing compared with Châteuneuf-du-Pape's 14, but still quite a large number - this is a superb, modern, Grenache-dominated Cairanne, which carries its comparatlvely high alcohol lightly, thanks to the structure and acidity of the 2015 vintage. Spicy tapenade and wild herb aromas segue into a smooth, deftly oaked palate with very fine tannins and a core of sweet, tarry blackberry and blueberry fruit. Outstanding value. 





2016 Nunzio Ghiraldi Il Gruccione, Lugana, Veneto

£15, 13.5%, WineTraders UK

This delicious Italian white comes from the shores of Lake Garda and shows the pepper spice and perfume that are typical of the Lugana style. Savoury and tangy, with a touch of spritz, bracing, almost salty acidity and a long finish. 





2016 Dog Point Vineyard, Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough

£13.50, 13%, The Wine Society

There's always something of a rush to list and sell the new vintage of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, so it's good to see a winery (and a retailer in the shape of the Wine Society) that takes a more relaxed approach to vintages, selling wines with a bit of bottle age. Tangy, savoury and dry, this is a complex, flinty, well balanced white with no oak, allowing the quince, greengage and gooseberry fruit to shine. 





2010 Santa Carolina, Herencia Carmenère , Los Lingues & Peumo, Colchagua & Cachapoal Valley

£63.67, 14.8%, Desoutter & James

Some may baulk at the hefty, body-builder bottle, but there's no denying the balance, freshness and sheer class of this polished Carmenère from Chile. It's ripe, textured and not remotely vegetal, with fine tannins, subtle use of oak and notes of mint, cassis and damson. The sort of wine that makes you see Carmenère in a new light. 





2016 Rezabal Txakoli, Getariako Txakolina

£12.99, 10.5%, Winetraders UK

Frothy, zesty and refreshing, this is everything you'd expect from a white from so-called green Spain, with notes of lime and citrus peel, bracing acidity and a salty, mineral-edged finish. A wine that you just have to dirnk by the bottle. 





2015 Neudorf, Moutere Chardonnay, Moutere, Nelson

£35, 14%, From the winery

Consistently one of New Zealand's best Chardonnays, this is a rich, leesy, barrel-fermented style that treads the line (successfully, I might add) between opulence and pithy freshness. Citrus, oatmeal and honeyed notes are complemented by subtle vanilla sweetness and lovely, understated concentration. 





2012 Neudorf, Moutere Pinot Noir, Moutere, Nelson

£29, 13.5%, Available from the winery

Pinots from the clays of Moutere always remind me of the wines of Pommard in Burgundy. They are rich, bold, even slightly sturdy wines that are textured, a little gruff even, and extremely impressive. Structured and concentrated, this is savouery, spicy and intense, with notes of incense and sweet summer berries, supported by tannins. 





2015 Neudorf Twenty Five Rows Chardonnay, Moutere, Nelson

£21, 13.5%, Available from the winery

Neudorf makes some of the most characterful Chardonnays in New Zealand. This is their unoaked, Kiwi-meets-Chablis style that sess no oak, but seven months on lees to pick up some extra texture and weight. Supple and fruity, with notes of white peach and pear, taut acidity and a long, satisfying finish. 





NV Graham Beck, Brut, Western Cape

£13.99, 12%, Majestic

Bready, tangy and well balanced, this great value bubbly from the Cape's leading fizz producer would give a lot of basic Champagnes a run for their euros. Leesy, complex and frehsh with the Chardonnay providing acidic backbone and structure. 




2015 Domaine des Garennes Le Brossay, Saumur, Loire Valley

€4.80, 12.5, From the domaine

A youthful, easy-drinking, well-priced Cabernet Franc grown on clay and limestone soils on the Champ de Liveau plateau, this is grassy and refreshing with supple tannins, plenty of the perfume that's typical of the variety and a twist of graphite. Very attractive at the price.