wa3.gif (3780 bytes)






August 2005

Previous months' recommendations: | June 2004 | July 2004 | August 2004 | September 2004 | October 2004 | November 2004 | December 2004 | January 2005 | February 2005 | March 2005 | April/May 2005 | June 2005

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.

Stonecroft Syrah 2002 Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
We begin with two crackers from Hawkes Bay. This first wine, from Alan Limmerís Stonecroft is dark coloured. It has a tight, intense dark fruits nose with some freshness and spicy, tarry notes in the background.Thereís a hint of minerality, too. The palate shows wonderful acidity providing a savoury, tarry minerality to the dark fruits. A pretty serious effort with the bright dark fruits emphasized by the acidity. A really good food wine, and possibly one for the future. Very good/excellent 92/100 (£14.99 Oddbins)

Redmetal Vineyards Basket Press Merlot/Cabernet Franc 2002 Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
This ultra-elegant red has a smooth, supple nose of berry fruits, together with a subtle herbiness. The palate is smooth with noticeable but well integrated oak and very soft tannins. Thereís some complexity, but the big draw here is the elegant, supple fruit. Very good/excellent 92/100 (Hellion Wines, www.hellionwines.co.uk)

Muddy Water James Hardwick Riesling 2004 New Zealand
A third New Zealand pick, this has a lovely, piercingly fresh nose thatís limey and open. The crisp, well defined palate is quite minerally and has lots of freshness and plenty of complexity. Thereís just a hint of richness, which is the only indicator of the 13 g/litre residual sugar. I guess the high acid counters this out, because it feels very dry. Very good/excellent 91/100 (Corney & Barrow £11.75)

Saintsbury Garnet Pinot Noir 2003 Carneros, California, USA
A brilliant, accessible Pinot with real character. Forward nose of sweet cherry and red fruits with a lifted, spicy, savoury edge. The palate has a nice balance between the sweet cherryish fruit and the spicy, slightly tarry savouriness. Good structure; rich but well balanced. Very good/excellent 91/100 (£10.99 Majestic)

Colombelle Vin de Pays des CŰtes de Gascogne 2004 France
France is back. Attractively packaged, this screwcapped white is fresh, grassy and fruity with vibrant fruit and good acidity. Itís a bit like a streetwise Sauvignon: brilliantly fresh. Very good+ 87/100 (£4.99 Oddbins)

Ramos Pinto Duas Quintas 2002 Douro, Portugal
Not a great vintage in the Douro, but this is a really nice wine. It shows restrained red berry and black fruits with a savoury structure, and quite elegant spicy tannins. Thereís a hint of earthiness, too. Drying finish, but a lovely fruit profile. A good, spicy, earthy, authentic Douro red. Very good+ 88/100 (£6.99 Majestic)

El Burro Kick Ass Garnacha 2004 Campo de Borja, Spain
Two serious bargains from Sainsbury follow. Despite the name, this is a lovely, fairly serious Grenache, with bright, sweet, pure raspberryish fruit, lovely acidity and fine, spicy tannins. The sweet rich fruit has a lovely freshness from the acidity, which in large part explains what makes this wine so compelling. Very good+ 89/100 (£7.99 Sainsbury, but on offer at £4.99 from 17 August until 13 September 2005)

Caracol Serrano Jumilla 2004 Spain
This is a blend of Monastrell, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. It shows really nice, pure summer fruits with a nice savoury, spicy structure acting as a foil to the sweet fruit. Exuberant fruit coupled with spiciness provides the interest. Very good+ 86/100 (£6.99 Sainsbury, but on offer at £3.99 until 13 September Ė a serious bargain)

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