£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.
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.
£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.
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.
£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.
£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.
£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.
£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.
£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.
£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.