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. 





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. 





2012 Finest* Denman Vineyard Semillon, Hunter Valley, New South Wales

£9.99 down to £7.49, 10%, Tesco

This cool climate, low alcohol white from the Hunter Valley is consistently one of the stars of Tesco's range. Its crisp, lazer-like acidity is offset by a little sweetness (although you don't notice it), but it's still leafy and green, with notes of dill and green olive and a tangy finish. Like Hunter Semillons, this wine ages extremely well. 





2012 Finest* Tingleup Riesling, Western Australia

£9.99 down to £7.49, 11%, Tesco

I told you Janice McDonald was an ace white wine maker and this is further proof of her talents, this time with Riesling. This is a beautifully, poised, ageworthy style, focused and pithy with youth on its side and bone dry, lime-scented fruit. Buy a few bottles and see how they age over the next decade or so. 





2011 Finest* Boranup Sauvignon/Semillon, Western Australia

£9.99 down to £7.49, 14%, Tesco

Janice McDonald is one of the best white winemakers in Western Australia, with a particularly adept touch with Bordeaux varieties. This Sauvignon/Semillon two step has no oak, so it's very much a New World rather than a Graves (Bordeaux) style, but that's part of its appeal. Aromatic and herbal, with palate-tingling acidity and fresh grapefruit and gooseberry notes. 





2006 Taste the Difference Hunter Valley Semillon, Hunter Valley

£9.99 down to £7.49, 13%, Sainsbury's

This wine has been on Sainsbury's shelves for a while (a reflection of Semillon's lack of popularity, rather than the quality of this example, which is outstanding), but now is still a great time to buy this aged Hunter white. Toasty, fresh and mature with focused acidity and notes of lemongrass and cream soda and a long, unoaked finish. Go on, give it a go!





2009 Leasingham Magnus Riesling, Clare Valley

£9.49 down to £7.11, 12%, Sainsbury's

Another Aussie white that may appear a little long in the dental department, but has actually benefited from the extra bottle age. This is just off-dry, showing delicious, lemon, lime and toasty flavours with a hint of kerosene. Focused and long, this is great with Asian food. 





2011 d'Arenberg The Hermit Crab Marsanne/Viognier, McLaren Vale, South Australia

£9.99, 13%, Sainsbury's

The wonderfully theatrical Chester Osborn is better known for his reds than his whites, but he has a suprisingly subtle touch with the latter, as this very lightly oaked blend of Viognier with 32% Marsanne demonstrates. It's a spicy, pithy, understated white, with good crunch and zest, a hint of apricot and a mealy, balanced finish. 





2012 Tesco Finest Tingelup Riesling, Western Australia

£9.99, 12.4%, Tesco

This isn't quite the amazing bargain it once was, but it's still one of the best whites on Tesco's books, a stylish, finely crafted white from Howard Park. It's fresh and minerally, with haunting lime-juice and citrus peel flavours and a dry, stony aftertaste. On past perfermance, it will develop well in bottle, too. 





2011 The Society's Australian Chardonnay, McLaren Vale, South Australia

£6.50, 12.5%, The Wine Society

It's a measure of how far Aussie Chardonnay has advanced in recent years, that even a Chardonnay from warmer climate McLaren Vale is light-bodied and unoaked. This is appealingly dry with flavours of stone fruit and a bite of lemon zest-like acidity.