Tim Atkin | Master of Wine

Tim’s Tasting Notes

90

2017 Tapada de Villar , Vinho Verde

£9, 10.5%, Marks & Spencer

Vinho Verde is one of those styles that's often dismissed by wine experts for frivolity, but I'm a huge fan of the style when it's properly made. This Atlantic-influenced cuvée of Loureiro with 40% Arinto and 10% Trajadura is just off dry, with lots of spritz and zing, notes of white pepper, lime and boiled sweets and alluring frehsness. 

Fish

 

 
 

90

2016 Nord Est Vermentino, Sardinia

£8.99, 12.5%, Co-op; Majestic; Wine Rack; Berry Bros; Wine Rack; Wimbledon Wine Cellars; Cambridge Wine Merchant;

Vermentino is one of the great Mediterranean white grapes, retaining acidity when other varieties have gone as soft as a tired mattress. This lovely unoaked example has notes of lemon peel and aromatic herbs with good weight and texture and classic Vermentino crunch. 

ChickenFish

 

 
 

90

2016 Les Nivières, Saumur, Loire Valley

£9.49 down to £7.99, 12.5%, Waitrose

I often prefer unblended Cabernet Franc to Cabernet Sauvignon, especially at this end of the market. This unoaked, tufa limestone-sourced example from Saumur has long been one of my favourite supermarket tipples. Perfumed, encticing and grassy, with fine-boned tannins, refreshing acidity and gratiflyingly low alcohol. 

LambCheese

 

 
 

92

2016 Vita Vinea Saperavi, Kakheti

£22, 13, Oddbins

Kakheti is widely acknowledged as one of the very best regions in Georgia, located at altitude on limestone soils. This qvevri-fermented and aged example of the contry's signature red is at the cleaner, less funky end of the natural wine spectrum (good news as far as I'm concerned) with smooth plum and blackberry fruit, savoury tannins and balancing acidity. The lightly earthy note from the qvevvi adds another dimension of complexity.

BeefLambGameSpicy

 

 
 

94

2015 Dog Point Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc Section 94, Marlborough

£17-22, 13.5%,

A wine that's consistently a match for all but the very best (and much more expensive) wines of Pessac-Léognan, this deftly oaked Marlborough Sauvignon ages brilliantly too. Leesy, rich yet beautifully balanced, it combines flavours of vanilla spice, gooseberry fool, lanolin and vivid acidity. One of the region's very best expressions of the grape. 

PorkChickenFishCheese

 

 
 

93

2015 Dog Point Vineyard Chardonnay, Marlborough

£21, 13.5%, The Wine Society

Not as well known as the Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc releases, but every bit as good in my opinion, this is frequently among my favourite South Island Chardonnays. Toasty, savoury and enticing, it has citrus and beeswax notes supported by fresh, palate cleasning acidity and a nutty finish. Just starting to develop bottle-aged complexity. 

PastaPorkChicken

 

 
 

91

2017 Dog Point Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough

£14.50, 12.5%,

Classic modern, dry Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc from two of the masters of the region, James Healy and Ivan Sutherland, showing notes of lemon grass, passion fruit and fresh sweat (more appealing than it sounds, honest). Nettley, zingy acidity, plenty of focus and a long, refreshing finish. My kind of Kiwi white. 

FishVegetables

 

 
 

93

2015 Boutinot Les Six, Cairanne, 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. 

BeefLambGameSpicyBarbecue

 

 
 

90

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. 

FishVegetables

 

 
 

92

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. 

FishVegetablesCheese