wa3.gif (3780 bytes)






July 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.

Devil's Rock Pinot Grigio 2004 Rheinhessen, Germany
German wines are still pretty unfashionable, so the producers of this impressive, fresh white wine have made great efforts to hide the fact that this is German. In fact they've done such a good job that this wouldn't look out of place in the Italian aisle of the supermarket wine selection. It's very fresh, modern and limey with a spicy edge to the crisp palate. Bone dry, modern, fresh and very well made. A precise, delicate style. Very good 82/100 (£4.79 Waitrose, Somerfield)

Villa Maria Gewürztraminer 2004 East Coast, New Zealand
This is a remarkable wine. Gewürztraminer is a slightly weird grape that rarely thrives outside Alsace (its home in France), but here it excels. The nose is sweet, grapey and melony with a hint of muskiness: it comes across quite thick and sweet. The palate is slightly off-dry with a rich texture and lovely fresh fruit. It's a kind of paradox: a wine that is rich and fresh at the same time. Not for everyone, but I like it a lot. Good with powerfully spiced or exotic cusine. Very good+ 89/100 (£8.99 Waitrose)

Dirler-Cadé Gewürztraminer Grand Cru Kessler 2002 Alsace, France
Taking things up a notch with the same grape, this stunneris from little known biodynamic producer Dirler-Cadé. A deep colour, this has a nice broad, herby nose with some richness. Good concentration and lovely richness on the palate, which has a thick texture and finishes medium sweet. Quite a pretty, but serious wine. 92/100 (£19.25 Berry Bros & Rudd, www.bbr.com

Castello Banfi San Angelo Pinot Grigio 2004 Italy
Pale in colour, there's a lovely freshness and transparency to this refreshing white wine, with some minerally depth to boot. Quite refined and well balanced - enough class to make a versatile food wine for fine dining. Beguiling in a subtle sort of way: the minerality is the key. Very good/excellent 90/100 (£7.99 Majestic, www.majestic.co.uk)

Chileno Merlot Rosé 2004 Central Valley, Chile
Two rosés follow, beginning with one I like a lot. It has a distinctive nose of fresh, forward red berry fruit, but its best feature is the subtle herbal tang to the palate. It’s quite dry and fresh, and this gives it a savoury sort of character that means it works well with a variety of foods. A bit more grown up than most rosés at this price. Very good+ 85/100 (£4.49 Somerfield, Co-op)

Castellero del Diablo Shiraz Rosé 2005 Maule Valley, Chile
A very forward, playful, upfront sort of rosé with a vividly fruity nose that has a tiny hint of bubblegum to it. On the palate it’s all cranberries and cherries, with a little bit of fruit sweetness – the sort of wine that you can drink on its own just as easily as with food. This one would go down very well with the footballers’ wives crowd. Very good 84/100 (£5.49 Oddbins, Majestic, Asda, Sainsbury)

Clot de l’Oum Saint Bart Vieilles Vignes 2003 Côtes de Roussillon Villages Caramay
Two reccomendations follow from Eric Monné's wonderful Clot de l'Oum. A deeply coloured wine. Ripe, forward spicy nose shows intense, liqueur-like fruit. The palate is concentrated and rich with lovely forward, spicy fruit. Dense and modern, yet with a nice minerally streak, too. Very good/excellent 92/100 (£14.50 Grand Cru Wines, www.grandcruwinesltd.net)

Clot de l’Oum Numero Uno 2003 Côtes de Roussillon Villages Caramay
A very dark, inky wine. Sweet, intense nose of dark red and black fruits with a lovely liqueur-like edge. The palate is powerful, dense and spicy with integrated tannins and some structure. Bold and full with a nice spicy, mineralic twist. Very good/excellent 94/100 (£19.95 Grand Cru Wines)

Millennium Dolç 2002 Terra Alta, Catalunya, Spain
Xavier Clua’s amazing sweet Garnacha was harvested on 7th November, put into barriques on 30 December and bottled in April 2004. Just three barriques of this oddity were made, and it is remarkable stuff. It has a vivid, spicy, sweet nose with a distinctive aroma of smooth blackcurrant jam. It’s remarkably rich and pure. On the palate it is vivid, bold and spicy with a great conentration of sweet blackcurrants and blackberries, with a tannic, spicy backbone. Good acidity provides focus. This is a profound effort: quirky, but utterly delicious. Excellent 95/100 (£19.99 Cadman Fine Wines)

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