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The wineanorak's recommended wines for 2000
More expensive wines (over £8)

Bargain picks: under £8

Old world

Santa Sabina, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 1997
Very attractive wine with real character. Dense, concentrated red/black colour. Bright smoky/herby nose with tar and spice notes. On the palate there is smoky, complex cherry and red berry fruit, backed up by firm tannins, spicy oak and high acidity. Quite serious stuff for the price. Very good+ (£7.99 Majestic)

Delas Frères 'Les Launes' Crozes Hermitage 1998
An impressive inexpensive Crozes Hermitage, with more concentration and character than you'd expect at this price. Big nose, initially a little sweet, but then stinky and meaty. Lovely sweet and sour palate, with ripe fruit and earthy, slightly animal notes. Grippy tannins and a bitter edge; beefy and rustic, but pleasant. Good concentration here and real interest, but avoid if you like polite, refined wines. Very good + (around £5.50, Worldmarechal)

Château Coupes Roses Les Plôts 1999, Minervois
Deep red/purple with a delicious nose: pungent, meaty and exotic. Tannic and full on the palate this is super stuff, with lovely herby complexity. Very good/excellent. (Majestic £6.99)

Lingenfelder Riesling 1998 (Bird label), Qualitätswein, Pfalz, AP No. 511 7050 1899, Germany
The best inexpensive German Riesling I've yet tried. Lovely bright, crisp Riesling with pure, piercing grapefruit and citrus flavours. Good concentration and high acidity, a nice wine for less than a fiver. Very good. (£4.99 Oddbins)

La Cuvée Mythique 1998, Vin de Pays d'Oc, Val d'Orbieu
This attractively packaged wine is the top cuvée from the large negociant firm of Val d'Orbieu in the Languedoc. This chewy, structured wine is a real winner. Dense red/black, with a nose of smoky, meaty red fruits. Chunky and with earthy tannins on the palate, the noticeable oak adds depth and spice to what is a satisfying and balanced wine. There's also a minerally, stony edge to the fruit. Very good (£6.49 Waitrose, Majestic)

Fox Wood Old Bush Vine Syrah 1998, Vin de Pays d'Oc
Made from 45 year old bush vines and aged in American oak. This concentrated southern red is full of character, with a stony/earthy nose and ripe, earthy fruit, firm tannins and some spiciness from the unobtrusive oaking. Very good+, and a bargain. (£4.99 Majestic)

Couly Dutheil La Baronnie Madeleine Chinon 1997, Loire, France
Vibrant red/purple, this wine is packed with chalky raspberry and cherry fruit, and has moderately high acidity. Very chalky texture and smooth tannins. Drinking well now: a juicy, tasty wine with good concentration. This wine would serve as a good introduction to Loire reds for anyone unfamiliar with them. Good. (£5.49, Tesco)

Le Pigeoulet des Brunier, 1998 Vin de Pays de Vacluse
This is a really super Southern French wine for a knockdown price (around £6/US$10). Made by the company that produces Vieux Telegraphe and Domaine La Roquette in Châteauneuf du Pape. It is deep red/purple with a good concentration. Lovely, meaty stinky nose (but I don't think this is brettanomyces this time, rather I suspect the grapes: does this have Mourvedre in it?). On the palate, well balanced and savoury, with dry tannins. More substantial and serious wine than you would normally expect at this price. Very good. 

Luis Pato 'Vinhas Velhas' 1995, Bairrada, Portugal
Made from 60 year-old vines, and spends 10 months in new oak barrels. This is an opaque red-black colour, showing a touch of fading around the rim. Subdued, gently leafy nose, slowly opening out but not giving too much away. On the palate this wine is sternly tannic: it is not fruit-driven, but instead shows notes of herbs, tea, chalk and minerals, with the effect of the Portuguese oak apparent. Very structured and dry, but a good food match and a steal at £4, for what is quite a serious, if stern, wine. (£3.99, Majestic -- part of the bin-end sale, so hurry).

Materne Haeglin Riesling Bollenberg 1997, Alsace
A serious Alsatian wine at a bargain price. Lovely open nose of citrus fruit and minerals. On the palate there is a lovely structure: it is light and citrus-laden, with good acidity and a touch of sweetness in the finish. Harmonious and interesting. Very good, perhaps even better. (£6.99, Majestic)

Mas de Gebre 1998, Coteaux du Languedoc
The Southern French revolution continues. This is an interesting concept: it is a single estate wine made by the local co-op, with 100% low yielding old vine Syrah grapes, fermented and matured in stainless steel tanks for five months before bottling. The wine is a concentrated purple/black. The nose is typical Syrah: smoky bacon fat and violets. On the palate it is savoury and tannic, spicy and peppery and with a mouth-coating texture. Very attractive stuff, and may develop well in the bottle. (£6.99 Oddbins) 

Dehesa Gago Chamerlot 1998, Toro, Spain
Deep purple/black colour. Initially closed on the nose, after a bit of air this opens up to reveal smoky, intense burnt fruit and wet stones. On the palate there is lovely Tempranillo fruit: initially bright and fruity, but later it is more smoky, mineralic, meaty and has moderately firm tannins. The structure is provided by both the tannins and the acidity, in much the same way as is common in many wines from the Northern Rhône. This is a complex, earthy, wild wine. Very good. (£6.50 Noel Young, also at Majestic)

Chapel Hill Irsai Oliver 1999 Balatonboglár winery, South Balaton, Hungary
The cheapest wine to make my recommended list yet, this is a more-ish quaffing white with some class. Delightfully aromatic, floral wine with a lovely flowery, grapey nose and a savoury palate bolstered by cutting acidity. Very good. (£3.29 Sainsburys)

Chapel Down Bacchus 1999, English Vineyards Quality Wine PSR
Another surprising, off-the-beaten track pick: Chapel Down have established themselves as the leading light in the UK wine scene, proving that English whites don't have to be lean and tooth-erodingly acidic. This is a boldly flavoured, leafy, rounded wine with a rich texture -- it's like a full-on Loire Sauvignon. Lovely aromatic nose. For an English wine this is right at the top of the tree, and it's priced attractively too. Very good. (£4.99 Majestic)

1999 Château Grande Cassagne, Costières de Nîmes Blanc
Grenache Blanc (80%) and Roussanne (20%). Lovely full, rounded nose. Attractively floral and waxy. On the palate this is crisp and full flavoured, with a touch of oak. Very impressive; I'm often unmoved by southern French whites. Very good. (£6.75, La Vigneronne)

Mas Bruguiere L’Arbouse 1998, Coteaux du Languedoc Pic St Loup
My first crack at the supposedly excellent 1998 vintage in the Languedoc. This wine is deep coloured with an enticing nose of smoky, earthy red fruits. It is medium bodied, with deep, almost mystical flavours that are predominantly herby, meaty and earthy than fruit-derived. There is a touch of chocolate-like richness and no detectable oak. Tannic and savoury, this is an ideal food wine. Interesting and very good. (£6.79, Noel Young Wine)

Syrah Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes 1999, J-P and J-L Jamet
Perfumed, meaty, smoky nose. Herby and light on palate with a bit of farmyard character, with good acidity. Despite the lack of density, this is an attractive, characterful wine with real appeal. Very good+ (£5.99 Majestic)

A Mano Primitivo 1999, Puglia, Italy
This has been announced as the red wine of the year at the International Wine Challenge, so I thought I'd better check it out. Primitivo has recently been confirmed to be the same grape as the USA's Zinfandel, but this is the first Primitivo that has reminded me at all of its American counterpart. A dense red/black colour, this is a huge wine, with chocolatey fruit, hints of treacle, tar and rubber, and with a medicinal, pungent nose. Rich and ripe, with good acidity and chunky tannins. I drink a lot of wine and it's rare these days that when I pull the cork I'm surprised by what I find. But this is one of those wines. Very good; worth its award. (Sainsbury £5.99)

Erich & Walter Polz, Grassnitzberg Weissburgunder 1998, Austria
A delightful full-flavoured Pinot Blanc from Austria. Displays rounded flavours of honey and apples with a crisp balancing acidity and smoky/mineral notes. Really good stuff: tastes a bit like a mature Chablis or Mâcon white. Great balance. Very good+ (£7.99 Oddbins)

Château Barrabaque Cuvée Prestige 1994 Canon-Fronsac, Bordeaux
An impressive mature claret at a bargain price. Mature brick red colour. Lovely cedar and mineral nose. On the palate it is medium bodied with chewy tannins. OK, it's not a first growth, but it is super stuff, drinking really well now. Very good + (Majestic £4.99) 

Kiwi Cuvée Sauvignon Blanc 1999, Vin de Pays du Jardin de la France
Nice idea: an inexpensive French Sauvignon made by a team of New Zealand wine makers. It’s also well packaged. Really pleasant fresh, zesty Sauvignon with some rich texture on the palate, which lies somewhere between the styles of New Zealand and France. Very good, and a bargain. (£3.99 Oddbins)

Reischgraf von Kesselstatt 1996 Graacher Himmerlreich Riesling Kabinett, Mosel Saar Ruwer, QMP AP 3561077 55 97 8.5º  alcohol
Striking nose of pears, apples and honey, with a touch of stinky cabbage. On the palate it is quite soft and gently sweet, with flavours of canteloupe melon and grapefruit. Some apples and honey, also. A nice wine for casual sipping: Fiona calls this a 'breakfast wine'! Makes a real change from the big new world whites that form the bulk of our white wine consumption. Very good. (Oddbins £7.49)

Château des Peyregrandes 1998, Faugères
35% Syrah, 30% Carignan, 25% Grenache and 10% Mourvedre. Yields of 35 hl/ha.
Deep purple/black colour. Muted stony nose. Firm palate with intense, earthy fruit and strong tannins. A structured, brooding wine; serious, but restrained. May develop nicely. Opens out nicely after a while in the glass to reveal smoky, herby elements. Very good (£6.20 Languedoc Select [winesoc.co.uk])

Domaine Capion Cabernet Sauvignon 1997, Vin de Pays de L'Herault
A really impressive domain-bottled Cabernet Sauvignon from the South of France, with a dreadfully dull label. Concentrated purple/black with a creamy, herbal, chocolatey texture. Leafy, rich blackcurrant fruit with firm tannins and good structure. A nice, new wave Southern French wine. (Berry Brothers & Rudd, £6.95)

Château de Lancyre Grande Cuvée 1997, Pic Saint-Loup, Coteaux du Languedoc AOC
From a 73 Ha estate, this is a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre matured for 12 months in barriques. A red/purple colour, this is wonderful stuff. A smoky nose is followed by a smoky, meaty, herby palate with medium body and quite high acidity. There are hints of tea and tobacco, firm tannins and some cherry fruit. Complex and refined, this is archetypal Pic Saint-Loup with quite a life ahead of it. Very good/ excellent. (£7.19, Tesco)

Trulli Primitivo 1998, IGT Salento, Italy
Winemakers Augusto Càntele and Kym Milne have produced a lovely spicy, meaty wine. Warm flavours combine with a lovely dry spiciness (from the oaking?), with hints of cherry fruit, olives and coffee. Nicely balanced and quite complex, super value. Very good. (£4.99 Oddbins; £4.49 Tesco)

Château de Lascours 1998, Coteaux du Languedoc Pic Saint-Loup, Rosé
Rosé wines are relatively neglected in the UK, but are drunk by the pitcher-full in the South of France. Attractive Amber/pink colour. Lovely fresh, fruity wine with good acidity, full flavour and a peppery edge. Clean and delicious when drunk well chilled. On a warm summers evening, this is the ideal wine, good with food. (£4.45, winesoc.co.uk)

Château de Lascours 1998, Coteaux du Languedoc Pic Saint-Loup
Lovely stuff. Youthful red/purple colour. A savoury, peppery, herby wine with good concentration and meaty undertones. Firm tannins underlying the fruit; lovely balance and good complexity. Has the distinctive regional character commonly found in many Pic Saint-Loup wines. Despite the meat/earthy character, it is not at all barnyardy or bretty. Very good + (£4.65, winesoc.co.uk)

Domaine de la Soumade, Rasteau 1995, Côtes du Rhône Villages, André Roméro
Deep red/purple colour. Lively, smoky, herby nose. Full and savoury on the palate with red fruits, a touch of farmyardy complexity and substantial structure from both the acid and the tannins. Good concentration and quite a bit of complexity. This is an old-fashioned, deep, earthy wine of real class. Very good + (Berry Bros £7.85)

James Herrick Chardonnay 1999, Vin de Pays d'Oc
Better than previous vintages I've tried of this wine. Lovely fresh nose of bright fruit. Ripe and full flavoured with a lovely, full creamy texture. Despite the roundedness of the palate, this is not at all fat, with the bright lemony acidity holding everything in balance. With no oak exposure, the depth and complexity comes from lees stirring. Previously I've been unconvinced by Languedoc Chardonnays, but this really gives other Chards at this price a good run for their money. Avoids being technological or synthetic. (£4.99, widely available)

Domaine Vessigaud Mâcon-Fuissé 1998
Macon villages often represent a good source for inexpensive white Burgundy. This is light, crisp and fresh, yet pleasantly rounded and full on the palate. Reasonably complex and concentrated this is a very attractive wine. Beautifully packaged, too. Good value. (£7.49, Oddbins)

Domaine de la Grande Bellane Valreas 1997, Cotes du Rhone Villages, France
A bright purple colour. Full herby, peppery nose with meaty, smoky fruit on the palate. Dry, tannic finish with a hint of bitter red fruit. Overall, this is a deep, exotic and sophisticated wine, but the moderately high acidity means that for it to be enjoyed at its best it needs to be paired with food. A good value offering far more concentrated than most wines from the Southern Rhone at this price. (£5.99 Fullers, Tesco; £6.49 Sainsburys). The 1998 vintage is now on the shelves in many shops: this is different in character, with more emphasis on peppery fruit, but is still good.

Quinta do Crasto 1997, Douro, Portugal
A blend of 50% Tinto Roriz, 25% Tinta Barocca, 15% Touriga Nacional and 10% Touriga Francesca. Red/purple in colour, this juicy herb and cherry-laced red has enough spicy complexity (perhaps from the partial new American oak treatment) to maintain interest. Rich and medium bodied, soft and ripe, there is a smoky edge to the berry fruit, and a touch of chocolate. Pretty good, but if you can afford it I recommend paying the extra £2 for the Reserva. (£5.99, Fullers)

Quinta do Crasto Reserva 1996, Douro, Portugal
This is a blend of old vine varietals that has spent 9 months in French and American oak. Purple black with a concentrated nose of bitter cherries and a hint of olives. Immediately after opening it is a little reserved, with a palate dominated by tart bitter cherry fruit. After about half an hour the wine begins to open out beautifully, revealing a pleasant herbiness/gaminess, and complex spicy fruit character. Quite a complex package, and one that will reward some cellaring. The oak is not really noticeable. Very good. (£7.99, Fullers)

Tre Uve Ultima, Vino da Tavola, Italy
This is an interesting branded Italian red wine with plenty of character. Vibrant purple/red colour, with seductive nose and palate of cherry fruit. Bracing acidity, good concentration and some spicy complexity. The high acidity makes this personality-filled wine able to stand up to some foods that other red wines would have trouble with. Very good, but quite unusual. (£5.99 Fuller's)

Materne Haeglin Pinot Blanc 1997, Alsace
An impressive, inexpensive Alsatian. Attractive spice and lemon nose. On the palate there is good concentration, with sweet floral notes and spice contributing to what is a nicely balanced and full flavoured wine. Touch of residual sugar? Very good and a steal at £5.49. (Majestic)

Mas Llaro Grande Reserve 1998, Cotes du Roussillon, France
Beautiful stuff and great value. This is a deep, smoky wine with a youthful purple colour. The nose is distinctly herby and smoky. Quite a clean wine (it's not bretty), but plenty of secondary complexity. Good concentration, ripe fruit. I don't know the cepage, but I'd suspect there is a strong Mourvedre component in here as well as some Grenache. Real interest here. (£4.99, Oddbins)

New world

Santa Julia Viognier 2000, Mendoza, Argentina
Viognier is one of the most trendy white varieties, but I've rarely been convinced by cheap examples -- this is an exception. Authentic varietal Viognier with an attractive nose of flowers, spice and peaches. Good concentration on the palate with crisp, clean, spicy flavours and good acidity. Very good. (£4.99 Sainsburys)

Bethany Riesling 1999, Barossa Valley
A really appealing, full flavoured Riesling at a great price. Almost overpowering nose of citrus fruit. Full, rich, concentrated citrus-laden palate. Delicious, full-on wine. Very good+ (Majestic £5.49)

Oxford Landing Limited Release Viognier 1999
A brilliant example of super-trendy Viognier at an attractive price. Luscious ripe nose with varietally true characters of peach, melon and apricot. Soft, full and fruity on the palate, showing nice balance. A bargain. Very good+ (Majestic £5.99)

Ken Forrester Chenin Blanc 1999, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Chenin Blanc is South Africa's most common white variety, and is most often used to make simple, inexpensive and rather plonkish wines. But this is a serious effort, made from 24 year old bush vines and barrel fermented. Gold in colour, it has a lovely toasty, smoky and honeyed nose, with a creamy, wet wool edge. On the palate it is richly textured and toasty, the spicy oak combining well with the concentrated, ripe fruit. Overall, nice varietal character is combined well with careful oaking, to make a complex, attractive wine. Very good/excellent. (£5.69 Oddbins)

Hawkesbridge Willowbank Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 1999 Marlborough
Delicious rounded Marlborough Sauvignon, with good intensity, soft fruit and great balance. Aromatic, grassy, ripe gooseberry fruit dominates. A really super example. Very good/excellent. (Oddbins £6.00)

Klein Constantia Rhine Riesling 1998, Constantia, South Africa
Light coloured wine with a slight petillance. Attractive, taut, crisp white wine with good concentration and a pleasant citrus edge. On the palate there is complex, lemony fruit. There is probably potential for evolution here; quite a bargain. Very good. (£4.99 Oddbins)

Warwick Estate Chardonnay 1999, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Rich, intense, nutty and toasty Chardonnay with a dense, mineral-laced palate and good supporting acidity. This is a huge savoury wine that represents excellent value for money. Really interesting, perhaps a little rough round the edges for some. Very good + (£6.99, Waitrose)

Etchart 'Rio de Plata' Torrontes 1998, Salta, Argentina
A hugely enjoyable wine that represents great value for money, from Argentina's 'own' white grape variety, Torrontes. Beautiful open nose of sweet floral notes is followed up on the palate by grapefruit and spice. Bone dry: a bit like a cross between a Gewürztraminer and a Sauvignon blanc. Very good + (£3.99, Asda)

Ironstone Shiraz Grenache 1998, Western Australia
Lovely sweet nose of ripe blackcurrant fruit. This is a wine of immediate appeal, with attractive primary fruit on the palate with a pleasant pastille-like edge. The fruit masks the tannins, and overall this is an attractive concentrated wine in a modern style. Very good/excellent. (Majestic, Unwins £6.99)

Tim Adams Riesling 1999, Clare Valley, Australia
Huge, powerful nose of lime fruits. Complex and intense, this wine is richly concentrated with an amazing array of citrus-like flavours. One of the most dramatic Aussie Rieslings I have tried. Very good + (£7.99, Tesco, Fortnums and Mason)

E & J Gallo, Sonoma County Chardonnay 1997, California
You may be surprised to see me praising a wine from Californian giants Gallo, but in addition to their mass market wines they produce much smaller quantities of premium wines from leading vineyard sites in Sonoma. This is the lesser of the premium Chardonnays they produce, but it has real class at a bargain price. Now mature, showing rich buttery fruit with complex notes of melon, spice and tropical fruit, together with some mineral notes. Great concentration and much better than oher Chardonnays in this price bracket. (£5.99 Bentalls)

Norton Barbera 1997, Mendoza, Argentina
Bright, fruit-driven red with lashes of cherry fruit and some exotic, porty/herby complexity. There are notes of coffee and olives too. Really good, chunky stuff, with some Italian character married to the pure primary fruit typical of new wave South American wines. (£4.99 Oddbins)

D'Arenberg Custodian Grenache 1996, McLaren Vale, Australia
Deep, rich, complex, concentrated wine. It has that distinct, burnt rubber Grenache nose. On the palate the lush fruit is countered by dry, chalky tannins and a touch of spicy oak. There is a port-like concentration, but it avoids being too 'soupy'. I think this is one of D'Arenberg's best efforts, but don't be tempted to hold on to it for too long. Excellent. (£7.99 Oddbins)

Lindemans Bin 65 Chardonnay 1999, South Australia
This may not excite wine geeks, but it would be churlish to deny credit to Lindemans for consistently producing such a full flavoured and sophisticated all-purpose wine, year after year in industrial quantities and at a knockdown price. It is our house white. (£4.99, universally available) Penfolds Koonunga Hill Chardonnay is equally consistent, but 50p more expensive.

Seaview Shiraz 1997, McLaren Vale, Australia
Really well put together, serious Shiraz with ripe fruit, pepper spice and nicely judged sweet oak. Excellent for the price, this is a real crowd pleaser that had people coming back for more and more when I served it at a recent family gathering. (£5.99 Oddbins)

Pewsey Vale Eden Valley Riesling 1998, Australia
Huge, fresh, exhilarating nose of lime fruit. On the palate this is concentrated and intense, with fresh citrus fruit and some honey notes. Nice, crunchy intensity and good balance. Australian Riesling can age well, but I'd drink this while it has its youthful freshness. Excellent. (£5.99 Oddbins)

Peter Lehmann, 'The Barossa' Semillon 1998, Barossa, Australia
Yellow gold colour, with a lovely nose of lemon and lime fruit. On the palate it has racy citrus fruit and fresh acidity, coupled with a nice smooth texture. There may be a touch of oak (undisclosed) filling the wine out, but certainly not too much. A rounded and tasty wine. Highly recommended. (£5.49, Oddbins) 

Miranda Rovalley Ridge 'Left Field' Red 1998, Barossa, Australia
Made from Tinta Cao grapes, a Portuguese variety seldom encountered in Australian table wines. A medium bodied red with a lifted nose of pepper, mixed herbs and cloves. Quite light on the palate, with high acid, but very juicy and supple: a good food wine. Interesting and very good for the price. (£4.99 Tesco)

Dashwood Sauvignon blanc 1999, Marlborough, NZ
This is the second label of Vavasour, made for early drinking, but don't be fooled into thinking that this is therefore not a worthy wine. It has an amazing nose of gooseberries and fresh-cut green peppers, with a slight herbaceousness and some tropical fruit thrown in. On the palate it is zingy and intense, with bright acidity. This is a tremendous effort, with good intensity and concentration at a very good price. Made from Wairau Valley and Awatare Valley grapes. Very good, but perhaps a little tart without food. (Oddbins £6.99)

Fetzer Viognier 1998, North Coast, California
Yellow gold colour. Lovely nose of peach, grapefruit and apricot, with an esoteric floral element. On the palate this is full and rich, with plenty of fruit (mango and apricot), some spice and a touch of oak. Very strongly flavoured, bold wine. Slightly sweet finish. Very good, and especially useful as for matching with strongly flavoured food. (£7.99 Tesco)

Millton Chenin Blanc 1998, Te Arai Vineyard, Gisborne, New Zealand
Biodynamically produced wine from a 20 Ha estate established in 1981. This was barrel fermented in 600 litre barrels. Pale yellow/gold. Lfted, creamy nose with a touch of honey and a slight smokiness. On palate there is soft, smoky fruit with some fatness and spice from the oak. Creamy and toasty, this is a rich savoury wine with a lovely soft texture and good intensity. The firm acidity suggests that this wine may develop further. Well priced. (£7.99, Tesco)

Valdivieso Chardonnay 1999, Central Valley, Chile
A strong contender in the highly competitive sub-£5 Chardonnay class. This is a lovely, full bodied yet restrained New World Chardonnay which combines appley/lemony fruit with a touch of spicy complexity, all underpinned by bracing acidity. In fact, it is almost like a souped up Macon villages. Great value for money here. (£4.99 Fullers, on sale at £3.99, also stocked by Waitrose)

Luis Felipe Edwards Cabernet Sauvignon 1996, Colchagua, Chile
Released with more bottle age than is common for most Chilean cabernets, this wine goes a little against the grain. Normally from Chile at this price level you'd expect upfront, soft blackcurrant fruit. Instead, with its firm tannins and leafy, herbaceous fruit, this wine is oddly reminiscent of a Loire red. I think it is authentic and interesting: very good. Bottled unfiltered. (£4.99, Majestic)

Lindemans Coonawarra Botrytis Riesling 1997
Golden colour, with a lovely nose of limes, marmalade and apricots. These are joined on the palate by spice and honey. Fat, luscious and complex, there is just enough acidity to hold the wine together. Very sweet, and with botrytis character aplenty. I like this, but purists may find it a bit 'full-on'. Very good. (£5.99/half Oddbins)

Cono Sur Pinot Noir 1998, Chile
Fruity and attractive, this is quite wild stuff with an earthy/animal stink and some vegetal notes, giving it really unusual character. You'll either love it of hate it: I think it works quite well: it is certainly the most interesting Pinot Noir on the market under a fiver. (£4.99 Fuller's)


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