Marks & Spencer, Casa Leona Chardonnay, Cachapoal Valley 2008
Casa Leona has been a staple part of Marks & Spencer’s range for some time now and it seems to get better by the vintage. This is crammed with tropical fruit on the nose and hints of apricot. Well-structured on the palate with vibrant acidity and clean ripe fruit this is a very good value wine.
Settesoli, Fiano, Sicily 2007
The Fiano grape is one of the most highly-rated white grapes in Sicily, and many hopes for the success of this island’s wines are attached to it. This is a definitive example; it’s intense, rich, with tropical fruits and a mineral note. Big and upfront, it still delivers a clean, fruity glass of wine in an attractive and enjoyable style.
Atlantique Sauvignon Blanc-Gros Manseng, Vin de Pays des Côtes de Gascogne
Fine and dry, ocean-influenced wine that’s clean, fresh and brightened by some herbaceous and apple notes. Balanced with good intensity, the Sauvignon imbues it with bright, grassy characters. Long length
Gwenaël Guihard, La Grille, Cool-fermented Chenin Blanc, Anjou 2007
This is dry but also textured and exotic, with lime and apple aromas and hints of honey on the nose. The palate is distinctly more tropical, with fine balance and admirably long length.
Skalli, Terra Vecchia Merlot/Nielluccio Réserve, Vin de Pays Ile de Beauté, Corsica 2007
This won a Regional Trophy at this year’s Decanter World Wine Awards, a good sign for the potential of Corsican wines. Soft, ripe with spicy fruit and herbs, there’s a gentle violet-laced quality to it, and while it’s certainly supple, it has a firm backbone and fresh finish.
Quinta de Bons, Ventos Red, Estremadura, Portugal 2007
The grapes used in this hardly enjoy an A-list reputation (Camarate, Castelão, Tinta Miúda), although a splash of Touriga Nacional helps raise its profile. But this is a juicy, forward, concentrated and good value wine, with warm strawberry notes on the nose, followed by straightforward, defined fresh red cherry and slightly chocolaty palate.
Marks & Spencer, Lost Sheep Shiraz, South Eastern Australia 2007
A vibrant, youthful, soft wine that’s packed with classic, purply fruit and topped with a fine sprinkling of sweet spice. Good complexity and balance certainly at this price
O. Fournier, Urban Malbec, Mendoza 2007
Bright and lively Malbec with lifted, sweet notes of apple and blackberry on the nose. There’s similar, rosy apple flavours displayed on the palate which is appealingly textured and also hides a bit of an alcoholic kick (14.5%)
Marks & Spencer, Côtes du Rhône Villages, St. Maurice 2007
At sub-£6 there’s not much you could ask for, as this ticks many ‘Rhône-style’ boxes. It’s meaty and gamey, with attractive red berry fruits and just a hint of spice on the finish adding another layer of complexity.
Banrock Station, Shiraz-Mataro, South Eastern Australia 2007
The Mataro (or Mourvèdre) adds just over a quarter of this wine, and certianly supplies it with some structure. This garnered a Gold medal at the 2008 Decanter World Wine Awards, described by one of our judges as being; “Ripe, fresh, fruity, driven and well balanced. A delicious mouthful.”