Tim Atkin | Master of Wine

Tim’s Tasting Notes

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. 

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90

2014 Domaine des Garennes Empreinte Blanc, Saumur, Loire Valley

€10, 13, From the domaine

Youthful, pithy and still quite tight, this barrel-fermented Chenin needs more time in bottle to show what it's really capable of. Apple, citrus and pear flavours are complemented by stony minerality, some vanilla spice and a tangy, focused finish. 

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93

2015 Bellingham The Bernard Series Roussanne, Paarl

£10, 14%, Sainsbury's

Bellingham's Roussanne is one of the few stand alone examples of the grape in South Africa, and it's getting better with every vintage, showing impressive weight, texture and finesse. This deftly-oaked, full-bodied white is rich but not unctuous, with notes of baking spices, citrus and green tea, a hint of tropical fruit sweetness and a grippy, almost tannic finish that works really well with food. 

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90

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. 

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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

 

 
 

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. 

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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. 

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88

2012 Zalze Chenin Blanc Reserve, Coastal Region

£9.99, 13.5%, Sainsbury's

Kleine Zalze deserves to be more famous than it is in South Africa. It consistently turns out a very good range of commercial wines, as well as smaller quantities of top end stuff. This belongs in the latter category and it's a great example of ripe, tropically fruity Cape Chenin. Pineapple and melon notes are balanced by the refreshing acidity that's the variety's calling card and rounded out by subtle oak fermentation. 

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90

2013 Quinta de Azevedo, Vinho Verde

£7.25, 11%, The Wine Society

The price of this eminently gluggable Vinho Verde has crept up in recent years (although it's sometimes on a deal at Majestic), but it was almost too cheap before, given its quality. It's light and refreshing, with appealing spritz, a whiff of the Atlantic and delicious peach, guava and citrus notes. Just as good as many more expensive Spanish Albariños produced on the other side of the border. 

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90

2012 Mavum Pinot Grigio/Pinot Nero, Veneto

£9.50, 12.5%, Amp Fine Wines, Hennings

Pinot Griio and Pinot Nero are very close genetically, so why not combine them in a white wine, vinifying the latter without its skins? The result is rather tasty, with aromatic, Golden Delicious apple, pear and quince notes, and just a hint of wild strawberry. Unoaked, refined and well balanced, this is a real find for less than £10. 

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