One of the two main drivers of the Italian wine industry (the other being Pinot Grigio). Borgo has all the flavour of good non-vintage Champagne, pear and apple, without the raspingly high acidity and yeasty notes. Borgo is not trying to be Champagne, just a great quality of sparkler, well presented and fun. We searched for a whole day at Vin Italy to find one of the best Proseccos and discovered this.
£9.58 ex VAT
Served in 23 three star Michelin restaurants in France, Duval is usually cheaper and, in our opinion, better than Moet. Malcolm David, the expert manager, has helped us build this brand in Northern Ireland and just recently we went down to Ballymaloe House where Duval is now the pouring house Champagne by the glass.
£23.28 ex VAT
At last, a French wine that rivals Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, only lighter, classier and at a similar price point. An experimental blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Colombard, Ugni Blanc and two dessert grapes (Gros and Petit Manseng). The initial gunsmoke and flint, lift to reveal a grapefruit, elderflower and peachy nose which is also reflected on the palate.
£6.66 ex VAT
Sporting a slight tangerine blush as though embarrassed by the genius winemaking of Brent Marris. Most other producers take out the colour by use of chemicals. We love to see a hint of orange in Pinot Grigio, reflecting its provenance from a red grape and no interference from the winemaker. Refreshing off-dry and packed with peach and nectarine. Is this the most useful wine to match the food that we eat today? A wine that can match sweetness, strong flavours and some heat.
£8.74 ex VAT
Winner of the best Chablis award with his Vau de Vey (Decanter). Romaine has switched to totally organic methods and this is reflected in a purity of fruit. His "Montrachet" treatment of using one third old oak, one third new oak and one third stainless steel adds layers of creaminess, nuttiness and complexity. "One of the purest expressions of Chardonnay I have tasted" – Charles
£14.14 ex VAT
For me, Pinot Grigio is for those who want to drink Vodka and Coke. Making white wine from the red Pinot grape was invented in 1961 by Santa Margherita in the Alto Adige. The strategy behind this was to make a white wine with some of the structure and mouth feel of a red wine. As a wine buyer I'm looking for pinot grigio with flavour and attitude. This has it. Pleasingly aromatic with pear and riper pineapple. A great example of a top commercial Alto Adige lookalike. Well done Alan Kennett!
£6.24 ex VAT
Winner of a Decanter tasting of Chardonnay's, whereas top Montrachets would be like Kate Moss, this is Holly Willoughby (spelling). Gorgeous, rounded, velvety mouthfeel, this is porbably one of the most impressive wines we sell. Waves of cream, apricot, hazelnut praline wash over your grateful tongue. "Montrachet on steroids".
£29.99 ex VAT
Farnese Fantini Rose
Just won top Rose in Italy at the big wine fair in Verona (April 2012). This is just so drinkable and pleasure giving. Strawberries and cream in a glass. Freeze it to produce the ultimate adult ice cream or slush puppy. This is a Rose for those who don't drink Roses. From one of the most innovative stables in Europe with a penchant for making top commercial wines within everyone's price reach.
Cheap affordable Bordeaux is a mine field. There is just so much dross out there. Chateau Puybarbe is a shining beacon of quality which show cases the level at which a few Petit Chateau's can achieve. This will even get Australian wine drinkers onto Bordeaux. Classic blackcurrant, blackberry and notes of truffles merge into a fruit smoothie that just slides down. Another bottle please! Chateau Puybarbe makes Bordeaux accessible and is a strong first stop in the Bordeaux ladder of quality.
£7.74 ex VAT
How the hell did they merge this? A wonderful Pinot which ticks all the boxed, but at a quarter of the price of many other pretenders. Bright California vino with so much charm, ripeness and promise of warm summers you'd think the Beach Boys trod the grapes then surfed the juice while Mama Cass looked on giggling with bottle in hand and glass a jiggling.
£6.24 ex VAT
An eye-poopingly brilliant wine produced by a clique of South Australia's finest producers. Dolcetto, as the name suggests, is a sweet little number, effete and prancing like an eighteenth century dandy in a wig. Lagrein is stormy and bullish, mono-browed with a hint of Heathcliff on the moor… put them both together and you have wine heaven. Perhaps a slightly strange homoerotic heaven, but heaven nonetheless. Oh, just drink the thing, it's amazing.
£11.20 ex VAT
Old style, baby Amarone stuffed full of funky blach olive, herb, truffles and brambley fruit. Made for a cheese board. This wine drinks well above its price and very few French wines at the same price match this quality.
£11.24 ex VAT
The late, great Camillo de Julius was one of the wittiest and charming people in the wine world. Sorely missed, his legacy lives on in his wines. Like an Italian wine version of Alex Ferguson he swept the board and won an amazing haul of international awards for his amazingly accessible wines. The Edizione shone above all, a truly magnificent expression of Abruzzo, a wine in which Camillo's indomitable, indefatigable spirit still resides…
£19.16 ex VAT
While Ben Glaetzer's flagship wine Amon Ra gains all the plaudits, the best wine he ever made was the Godolphin 2005. That's beacause while the 100% Shiraz of the Amon Ra can be brilliantly monolithic and creates its own story, the nuances and shades of flavour created by adding splashes of Cabernet Sauvignon give the winemaker more obvious expression. And when a winemaker of Glaetzer's calibre is allowed to control the expression of the wine completely the results are never short of astonishing.
£33.30 ex VAT
Paul Lidner quietly crafts his magical wines using the oldest wines and ancient French winemaking techniques. I would put Paul at the top of the French style Australian winemakers. Valley Floor is just so seamless, and ready to drink. Why wait? Much better than a lot of more expensive shirazes. These wines are on allocation only. Be nice to Charles and you may purchase.
£15.80 ex VAT