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September/October 2008

Previous months' recommendations: June 2007 | July 2007 | August/September 2007 | October/November 2007 | December 2007 | January 2008 | February 2008 | March/April/May 2008 | June/July 2008 | August 2008

Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Sparkling Rose NV, England
Made by Chapel Down, this is really delicious. A very pale salmon pink colour, it's only just a rose. The nose is super-sophisticated with tight herby, citrussy notes as well as a hint of strawberry. The palate is dry and complex, with a hint of fruity richness offsettin the high acidity really nicely. There's none of the overt herbiness that is the besetting sin of so many English wines, and all the flavours work in tandem to create a stylish whole. Pretty serious effort - shame about the rather naff packaging. 90/100 (£17.99 Sainsbury's)

Matetic EQ Syrah 2006 San Antonio, Chile
Incredible stuff. Very deep coloured. Intense, pure blackberry and blackcurrant nose complemented by spicy, meaty, earthy notes, as well as a hint of olive and tar. The palate is earthy and dense with plenty of structure, but also lots of blackberry and plum fruit. There's lovely fresh acidity. Just a tiny trace of that Chilean rubbery greenness, but overall this is a really serious effort and I'll be buying some more with a view to seeing how it ages over the medium term. 92/100 (£17 Oddbins)

Huber Sauvignon Blanc 2007 Niederosterrich, Austria
Wonderfully pure, precise and aromatic, with lovely minerality and bright fruit, along with some freshness from high carbon dioxide levels. The palate is pure with rounded, fresh, almost transparent fruit, a hint of fruit sweetness, and then beautifully focused minerality. It's a bright wine, but it's not at all sharp or acidic. There's a lovely combination of ripe fruit and minerality, but none of the grassiness that's a signature of this grape in New Zealand. It reminds me a bit of Gruner Veltliner, with its textural components and hints of spiciness. 91/100 (£12.99 Oddbins, UK agent Thierrys) 

Sottimano Maté 2007 Vino Rosso da Tavola, Piedmont, Italy
From a 1.1 hectare vineyard in Treiso, this is a varietal Brachetto fermented with indigenous yeasts, and it's gorgeous. The nose is extravagantly aromatic with sweet cherry, herb and plum notes that leap out of the glass. The palate is light, fresh and subtly sappy with cherryish fruit together with some earthy, herby notes keeping things savoury. Think grown-up Beaujolais on steroids and you are pretty much there. Just perfect with antipasti, or even for sipping on its own - and it won't object to being chilled lightly before serving. There's a real elegance to this wine that I love. 91/100 (Available in the UK from http://www.lescaves.co.uk/

Chapel Down Pinot Reserve 2002 English Sparkling Wine
A blend of Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc. Aromatic nose is full with notes of ripe apples, toast and subtle nutty and herby notes. This is pure and quite sophisticated. The palate is citrussy and intense with good acidity and lots of flavour. There's some Pinot richness here, but overall the impression is one of focus and brightness. A serious effort with lovely purity, and justifying the price-tag. 91/100 (£24.99, from the vineyard)

Pedro Basta 2006 Alentejo, Portugal
A blend of Trincadeira, Aragonez, Alicante Bouschet and Cabernet Sauvignon, aged for 12 months in new and used French oak. Dark blackberry fruit on the nose with overt roast coffee character, plus a bit of plummy spiciniess. Quite savoury. The palate is dense with some firm, savoury, spicy structure underneath the sweet blackberry and plum fruit. Quite well structured with nice balance and focus. This is a warm climate wine with nice definition. 90/100 (£10.50 The Wine Society) 

Herdade de Malhadinha Nova 'Malhadinha' 2006 Alentejo, Portugal
A blend of Alicante Bouschet, Touriga Nacional, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, aged for 14 months in new French oak. Aromatically intense, with beautifully forward lush, sweet blackberry and blackcurrant fruit. Real purity here, as well as some warm spicy notes. The palate is ripe and sweet with concentrated, lush, pure fruit that marries well with some spicy oak notes. Despite the sweetness, there's lovely spicy definition and good acidity. Delicious now, but with the potential to develop. 93/100 (c £20, UK agent Raymond Reynolds)

Guerrieri Rizzardi 'Pojega' Ripasso 2006 Valpolicella DOC Classico Superiore, Italy
A single-vineyard wine made primarily from Corvina and Corvinone grape varieties, then aged in oak. It shows sweet cherry and berry fruit character with a liqueur-like purity, as well as some subtle earthy, spicy elements in the background. It's really quite elegant with good concentration, yet at the same time a lightness and purity to the fruit. There's a bit of textural richness but it never loses it fresh, cherryish fruity character. 90/100 (£9.99 HBJ Wines, Longford Wines)  

Waipara Springs Sauvignon Blanc 2008 Waipara, New Zealand
Part from ungrafted 20 year old vines; part from a new block of selected clones. Limestone-rich soils. This is a cracking Sauvignon with some Loire-like minerality and well as focused grassy, fruity, blackcurrant bud aromatics. The palate is concentrated with lovely bright grassy, herby fruit and lovely textural richness, finishing quite minerally with high acidity. Lively, intense and well balanced. 92/100 (£9.99 Hellion Wines, http://www.hellionwines.co.uk/ - this is the new vintage, just available, with the equally good 2007 vintage still available in a whole range of independent wine merchants, such as Stone Vine & Sun and Noel Young) 

Meyer-Näkel Dernauer Pfarrwingert Spätburgunder Grosses Gewächs 2006 Ahr, Germany
This is a really beautiful, complex wine. It’s the follow-on vintage from the one that won the Pinot Noir trophy at the Decanter World Wine Awards 2008. Fantastically aromatic nose reminds me a bit of a really good Marlborough (New Zealand) Pinot Noir: it’s sweet and forward, with bright fresh cherry fruit coupled with subtle green sappy and herby medicinal notes. It’s really attractive: one of those wines that you just want to smell again and again. The palate is complex with spicy dark cherry fruit coupled with red berry notes. It’s sweet, but savoury at the same time, with some plummy bitterness in the background, good acidity and some grippy tannins, but always the sweet fruit is to the fore. This shows just how good German Pinot Noir can be, but it does come at a price. 93/100 (£41.50 The Wine Barn, /www.thewinebarn.co.uk)

Domaine La Combe Blanche 'Le Blanc' 2000 Vin de Pays des Cotes de Brian, France
A blend of Roussanne and Viognier aged in barrel for 12 months. Yellow/gold in colour this is very smooth, with a fruity sweet pear nose that also has complex notes of mandarin, fennel and apricot. The palate shows warm, sweet fruit with a crystalline fruits richness and some hints of nuts and peach. Broad, smooth and quite complex, with freshness as well as richness. Just lovely. 92/100 (£9.75 Leon Stolarski)

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