wa3.gif (3780 bytes)






June 2005

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

Château de Fesles Rosé d’Anjou ‘Le Jardin' 2003 Loire, France
We begin this month with a seasonal wine: a Rosé with a hint of seriousness to it. A blend of Gamay and Groslot, this is very clean, fresh and fruity, with a palate of soft summer fruits with a subtle herbiness. Very clean and smooth. Nicely balanced, this is very accessible with an off-dry character. Just a hint of seriousness – a brilliant summer wine. Very good+ 87/100 (£6.39 Oddbins)  

Montana Sauvignon Blanc 2004 Marlborough, New Zealand
Another seasonal wine, and one that will be familiar to many readers. Remarkably engaging fresh, in-yer-face grassy Sauvignon with benchmark nose of aromatic gooseberry fruit. The palate is savoury, acidic and has some green herbal notes. It’s delicious: how do they do this for £5? Very good+ 88/100 (widely available, £5.99) 

Excelsior Viognier 2004 Robertson, South Africa
Viognier is fast becoming the new Chardonnay. It used to be a niche grape – a curiosity – restricted to the northern Rhône, but now people have woken up to its unique capabilities. And of late, even inexpensive Viogniers are tasting like the real deal. This is a brilliant example, showing peachy, rich fruit with a lemony edge. Perfumed and open. It has a rich, broad, fruity palate with more of that peach character; flat without being flabby, and absolutely delicious. Very good+ 88/100 (Waitrose £5.99)

Tio Pepe Palomino Fino Extra Dry Sherry
A brilliant wine for very little money. Let’s face it, Sherry is wildly unfashionable still, despite efforts from all quarters to get punters to change their minds. But this Fino style is versatile, fresh and food compatible, and with only 15% alcohol it isn’t any more intoxicating than many new world table wines these days. This is a complex, nutty wine with a bracing, marine-like freshness and good acidity. The mid-palate is kind of flat, but this is the sherry style. It’s got lovely freshness, so keep it well chilled and drink it within a few days of opening. Very good/excellent 90/100 (Tesco £4.22/half, £7.06/full bottle)

Albert Mann Tokay Pinot Gris Grand Cru Hengst 2002 Alsace, France
Very sweet, ripe open nose with lovely typicity: just what you’d expect from top-notch Pinot Gris. Richly textured palate with concentrated, soft, sweet gently herbal fruit, in particular melon and pear. Very rich textured and quite delicious. (£16.50 Waitrose)

Domaine de l’Ancienne Cure Monbazillac 1999 Southwest France
Christian Roche has fashioned a fantastic sweet white wine here, that I’d prefer to most Sauternes. A yellow gold colour, this has a lovely open nose of peachy, apricotty fruit with notes of straw, herbs and lanolin. The palate is viscuous and lush with lovely botrytis complexity and sweet apricotty fruit. Good balance here: a delicious sweet wine. Very good/excellent 93/100 (Les Caves de Pyrene, about £6 per half – I’ll double check)

Phillippe Butin Vin de Paille 1999 Côtes du Jura, France
Moving up in price, this is a profound wine from the wonderful Jura region. Quite deep coloured, this has a complex, expressive herby, undergrowthy nose with some subtle cheesy notes. The palate is fresh and open with lovely refreshing acidity. It’s in a rich-textured savoury style, but at the same time its very sweet and fantastically rich. Hard to describe, but with great length. Very good/excellent 94/100 (Berry Bros & Rudd £17.95/half bottle)

Cave des Clairmonts Crozes-Hermitage 2003 Northern Rhône, France
I’m sorta undecided about the 2003 vintage in the Rhône, in both north and south. It was hot, yes, which normally would be good. But this time, I think it was too hot, leading to an odd sort of phenolic development and some rather awkward tannins in the final wines. Harvest began here on 20 August, for goodness sake. But it was by no means a disaster, and this is one of the success stories. It shows forward, sweet raspberry fruit on the nose, and the palate is supple with lovely forward ripe fruit character. There’s savoury structure underneath this forward Syrah fruit, reminding us where we are. Very good/excellent 90/100 (£7.49 Waitrose)

Poliziano Rosso di Montepulciano 2004 Tuscany, Italy
This is a serious wine at an affordable price, which nicely combines modern and traditional aspects to fashion a classy red of broad appeal. A vivid colour, this has a lovely focused, savoury intensity to the pure, smooth red fruits. The palate shows restrained pure fruit with a savoury edge to it.  Really lovely. (£8.99 Sainsbury)

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