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April 2006

Previous months' recommendations: March 2005 | April/May 2005 | June 2005 | July 2005 | August 2005 | September 2005 | October 2005 | November 2005 | December 2005/January 2006February 2006 | March 2006

More whites than reds this month, so let's hope that the late-arriving spring in the UK puts me in a white wine mood... 

Marcel Deiss Pinot Blanc Bennwihr 2002 Alsace
Deep yellow colour. Fabulous rich melony, slightly nutty nose, with a creamy vanilla custard edge and a bit of apricot. The palate is concentrated and rich, slightly fat, and shows nice melon and apricot fruit. Just off-dry with great balance Ė a lovely wine. Very good/excellent 91/100 (£8.99 Oddbins)

Tres Olmos Verdejo 2004 Rueda, Spain
This is a superb example of Rueda at its best. Lovely aromatic, fresh nose with some spice. Perfumed. The palate is rich, full and fruity with a hint of grassiness and lots of spicy richness. Nice texture, too. Fresh and zippy, but rich at the same time. Very good/excellent 90/100 (£6.95 Berry Bros & Rudd)

Ridgeview Bloomsbury Cuvťe Merret 2003 Sussex, England
For my money, this is the UKís best fizz. Predominantly Chardonnay, with 22% Pinot Noir and a touch of Pinot Meunier, most of this is matured in tank, but a bit goes into old barrels. It has good fruit on the nose with a subtle herby edge. The palate is quite complex with tight herby fruit, good acid and some yeasty, biscuitty richness in the background. A good future ahead of it, I reckon. Very good/excellent 90/100 (Waitrose £15.99) 

Henschke Julius Riesling 2003 Eden Valley, Australia
Three Aussie Rieslings this month. This has a beautifully perfumed aromatic nose, which leads to a bright lime and herb-tinged palate without any phenolic heaviness. Itís fresh and delicate, yet full flavoured at the same time. Delicious. Very good/excellent 90/100 (£12.25 Lay & Wheeler)

Palandri Estate Riesling 2003 Frankland River, Western Australia
Itís the Eden Valley and Clare Valley regions of Australia that are most commonly associated with Riesling, but here are two really good ones from Western Australia. The first, from Palandri, has a powerful, almost pungent limey aroma with a bit of marmaladey richness. In the mouth, itís full and savoury with a crisp dry finish. A bracing wine thatís delicious and refreshing, with good weight and high acidity. Very good+ 89/100 (£6.99 Somerfield)

Tesco Great Southern Riesling 2003 Western Australia
Yes, the label design is appalling, but if you can get past that this is a very smart wine, made by Howard Park for Tesco. Honeyed, limey nose is quite generous but still precise. The palate is lovely, with some residual sugar adding weight and sweetness to the lemony fruit, balancing the acid really well. Itís still dry, but is at the sweet end of dry if you see what I mean. Reasonably complex and very enjoyable. Very good+ 89/100 (£6.99 Tesco)

Montana Terraces Estate Pinot Noir 2003 Marlborough, New Zealand
Rich, perfumed nose of refined spicy cherry and berry fruit. Nice weight on the perfectly balanced, concentrated palate with elegant berry fruit. Some structure here, too Ė a brilliant effort. Very good/excellent 92/100 (£12.99 sainsburyswine.co.uk)

Fontodi Vigna del Sorbo Chianti Classico Reserva 2001 Tuscany, Italy
A blend of Cabernet and Sangiovese, this is serious stuff. Dark, spicy and subtly chocolatey, with tarry dark fruits on the nose. Savoury and intense. The palate is concentrated and full with structured, spicy dark fruits and good acidity. It is fruity and modern and dense, but with that lovely, slightly bitter tannic Sangiovese character. Itís a brash, self-confident sort of wine, but it can pull it off. Lots of potential. Very good/excellent 93/100 (£28.50 Tanners, Selfridges, Liberty, Peckham & Rye, Luvians, Valvona & Crolla)

Barbeito Sercial 10 Year Old Reserve Madeira
Pale brown colour. Lovely nose is perfumed with some sweet vanilla/fudgey notes, together with a bright fruity lemony character. Nutty old furniture, too. The palate is rich and spicy with lovely lemony freshness and a really long finish. The wonderful freshness keeps it from tasting really sweet, although thereís a fair bit of sugar here. A fantastic, complex Madeira of great appeal. Very good/excellent 92/100 (£19-£22, Handford, BBR, Richard Granger, Eton Vintners, Raymond Reynolds)

My rating system explained. Use www.wine-searcher.com to locate a stockist in your area and my directory of UK wine merchants for details of those listed here. See also: the wineanorak's shopping list - recommended wines from each of the main UK retail outlets. These recommendations are truly independent: I don't accept payment or other favours for inclusions, nor do I sell wine.

E-mail me with your recommendations or suggestions at jamie@wineanorak.co.uk