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October 2005

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

The Standish Shiraz 2001 Barossa, Australia
Impressively packaged, this is one of the best of the new wave Barossa wines, made by Dan Standish whose day job was until recently as winemaker with Torbreck. It's a fantastic effort: bold, powerful yet expressive. The nose is sweet, dark and intense, leading to a smooth, rich palate of massive concentration. They don't come much better than this. Excellent 95/100 (c.£30 Bordeaux Index, The Cellar Door)

Petaluma Coonawarra 2000 Coonawarra, Australia
A 50:50 blend of Cabernet and Merlot, this is perenially one of Australia's top red wines, and I think it is substantially underpriced, and thus a bargain. The 2000 was a short crop, and it has produced a dark wine with a sweet, smooth ripe nose that is quite elegant, showing some chocolatey richness. The palate is quite dense but with lovely expressive dark fruits. Fantastic fruit and lovely structure. A brilliant effort. Excellent 95/100 (c.£20 Oddbins, Bibendum) [If you can't find the 2000, the 1998 and 2001 are almost as good - I rated both of these at 94.] 

Glen Carlou Tortoise Hill Red 2003 Paarl, South Africa
Deep coloured. Lovely nose of ripe black fruits with a minerally, tarry edge. Quite refined. The palate has a nice balance between the sweet dark fruits and the spicy, earthy structure. There's a slightly meaty richness to this win that is very appealing. Very good+ 89/100 (£6.99 Oddbins, sawinesonline.co.uk, Christopher Piper, George Hills) 

Casa Silva Lolol Viognier 2003 Colchagua, Chile
Powerful perfumed nose of sweet apricot and pear fruit, with a slight muskiness, too. Very striking. The palate is viscous and rich textured with nice balance: a delicious, rich white wine with lots of Viognier character and a hint of vanilla. Very good/excellent 91/100 (£8.99 Barrels and Bottles, Cairns & Hickey, Frank Stainton Wines, Great Northern Wine Co., Michael Jobling Wines, Richards & Richards, Tim Morrison Fine Wines, Thameside Wines) 

Philippe Butin Cuvťe Speciale 1999 CŰtes de Jura, France
Now for something weird but wonderful. This white wine has a powerful, pungent sherried, spicy nose with nice savoury intensity. The palate is thick and, once more, slightly sherried with a tangy, almost salty character. It's long, full and delicious - a perfect match for Comte, I suspect. Very good/excellent 92/100 (£13.95 Berry Bros & Rudd, www.bbr.com)  

Asda Cava Brut NV, Spain 
So youíre throwing a party where fizz is called for, and because of the thirsty guests you donít feel the need to spend a fortune on a posh Champagne. But at the same time you donít want your guests to gag on the wine, or suspect you of being cheap. Well this tasty Cava could be just what you are looking for: itís surprisingly sophisticated for the price, with nice savoury richness and refreshing tart acidity. Toast and lemon flavours dominate. Very good 83/100 (Asda £3.72)

Jacobís Creek Sparkling Rosť NV, Australia
Thereís something special about pink fizz, and this Aussie blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes is one of the good ones. Itís great fun, with some creamy softness to the berry and citrus fruit. Fresh, bright and accessible, itís a hard wine not to like. Very good+ 86/100 (£7.97 Asda, Tesco)

Wyndham Bin 555 Sparkling Shiraz, Australia
Sparkling Shiraz, a peculiarity of Australia, is weird but wonderful. If you havenít tried it yet, you should. This one is a remarkably dark colour, and shows lovely sweet, intense, meaty fruit with a smooth spicy character. It takes a while to get used to the idea of fizziness in a red wine, but this fizz gives a zip to the sweet fruit that helps keep things balanced. Delicious but odd. Very good+ 89/100 (£7.99 Morrisons) 

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