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May 2006

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

Terrunyo Sauvignon Blanc 2005 Casablanca, Chile
This single vineyard offering from Concha y Toro impressed with a nice minerality adding complexity to the bright, lemon-edged subtly grassy fruit. Nice weight on the palate. This is nicely poised with good fruit, but not too much grassy character. Very good+ 88/100 (£7.99 Oddbins, Somerfield, Wine Society)

Staete Landt Sauvignon Blanc 2004 Marlborough, New Zealand
New Zealand Sauvignon can get a bit monotonous, so it’s really nice to catch one like this that makes you take a step back, because it’s just so good. It’s beautifully perfumed and sophisticated with great balance. There’s gently herby, grassy, gooseberry fruit with lovely weight on the palate and sophisticated, complex fruit. A brilliant effort. Very good/excellent 93/100 (Lay & Wheeler)

Ken Forrester Chenin Blanc 2005 Stellenbosch, South Africa
I’m a big fan of Ken’s Chenins, and this one strikes a nice line between commercial accessibility and that ever so slightly funky Chenin character that sets this variety apart. There’s a herby, lemony edge to the rich, plump oak-enhanced fruit, together with just a hint of dry hay. Very tasty. Very good+ 89/100 (£6.99 Waitrose, often on offer at £5.99)

Trimbach Riesling Cuvée Frédéric Emile 2000 Alsace, France
A cuvée that was first made in my birth year, and which is usually one of Alsace’s best Rieslings each vintage. It has a lovely fresh but delicate nose that’s perfumed and limey with some sweet notes, too. The palate shows lovely concentration of ripe, sweet lemony Riesling fruit (but with only 2.9 g/l residual sugar. The fruit sweetness gives a plump impression. A complex, delicious wine. Very good/excellent 93/100 (£23.99 Tesco)

Alain Graillot Crozes Hermitage 2004 Rhône, France
Deep coloured. Fantastic nose of dark olives, meat and spice with vibrant dark fruits. Fresh, concentrated, vivid fruit on the palate with good structure and high acidity. A fantastic individual wine with loads of personality. Very good/excellent 94/100 (£13.99 Waitrose, Yapp Bros)

Villa Caffagio Chianti Classico 2003 Tuscany, Italy
I don't drink enough Italian wine. I'd drink more if there were more like this, though. Tight, savoury dark nose with a nice spicy character. The palate is tannic and full with a good spicy definition and acidity. The dominant feature here is structured dark fruits. It’s a fairly serious wine: modern, but good. Very good/excellent 90/100 (£9.49 Marks & Spencer)

Tinto de Ãnfora 2003 Alentejo, Portugal
This Portuguese red wine has recently been reinvented: it used to come in a Bugundy-shaped bottle and was rather old fashioned. The new incarnation is in a Bordeaux bottle and has been made in a more modern, less oxidative style. It’s a bit of a bruiser, with intense dark fruits on the nose and a spicy, chocolatey edge. The palate shows ripe dark fruits with a rich chocolatey, spicy, earthy character. Not subtle, but there’s lovely fruit here and this is good value for money. Very good+ 89/100 (£5.99 Waitrose)

Joubert Tradauw Syrah 2004 Tradouw, South Africa
This is a new wine from an ambitious new producer whose heart seems to be in the right place (even if the other wine of theirs I tried seemed pretty bretty). A naturally fermented Syrah, this has a nose of sweet, ripe red and black fruits, together with some tarriness and minerality. The palate is sweet and quite lush with punchy, ripe, spicy fruit. There’s some tannic structure, but at the moment it is dominated by sweet, accessible fruit backed up by spicy new oak. A forward, new world-style red, but one that will likely develop complexity with age. Very good/excellent 91/100 (£9.99 Oddbins)

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