For more than 30 years, Robert Parker has been the most powerful wine critic on the planet, so his retirement last month marks the end of an era in the world of wine. His influence was so great that leading Bordeaux chateaux wouldn’t release their prices until he had pronounced on their latest vintage. Parker was fearless in his comments and should be praised for raising the standards of wine-making throughout the world. The downside however, was that too many winemakers sought to “Parkerise” their wines – i.e. make them in a style they imagined would appeal to his presumed preference for high alcoholic fruit bombs. Fortunately this craze for over extracted wines is in full retreat. There is far more choice available now as no individual wine critic will ever have that international dominance again. Point scoring shouldn’t have a place in deciding what we like – instead, each wine should be judged on its merits, like this current fine selection from Swig.
I am confident you'll enjoy this selection.
Wine Editor | The Week Wines
YOU CAN VIEW THE FULL COLLECTION HERE.
Domaine Horgelus Gros Manseng and Sauvignon Blanc 2018 – Gascony, France – 12%
£9.95 £8.50 per bottle - BUY NOW
This wine is from the same producer as La Valse des Mansengs, which was my favourite wine from this column last year and was also a bestseller with readers. From the Pyrenean foothills of South West France, it a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Gros Manseng, which is the main white grape variety in Jurançon. It has a refreshing citric flavour with lovely traces of apricot and quince and is ready for immediate consumption. It works either as an aperitif or with shellfish, while also strong enough to complement an aromatic garlic and chilli squid dish.
PRICE PER CASE: £102, saving £17.40
Belasco de Baquedano Llama Malbec 2017 - Mendoza, Argentina – 13.5%
£15.95 £12.50 per bottle - BUY NOW
This award-winning wine is made from Malbec vines planted by an Italian family just before the First World War. Located more than 3,000 feet above sea level, it is situated in the region that produces the finest Malbec wines in Argentina. It has an elegant hint of plum and cherry with a smoothness that doubtless comes from having such a low yield from these old vines. Given that it is matured in French barrels there is also some oak, but overall, this is an elegant understated wine which has more in common with Bordeaux than its neighbouring siblings. A real bargain.
PRICE PER CASE: £150, saving £41.40
A Badenhorst Papegaai White Blend 2018 – Swartland, South Africa – 12.5%
£12.50 £9.95 per bottle - BUY NOW
This exuberant white changes its blend each vintage, depending on what grape varieties work best at the time. The current vintage is a blend of Chenin Blanc, Palomino (the grape of dry sherry), Roussanne (Rhone), Verdelho (Portugal) and Grenache Blanc, which gives it an overall flavour of exotic tropical fruits. Adi Badenhorst is one of the wine world’s great characters, where the most complex bit of equipment in the winery is his espresso machine. The vineyard is in Swartland, home of South Africa’s New Wave wine revolution. It has the depth and complexity of a wine costing twice as much as this and will pair nicely with white meats as well as fish.
PRICE PER CASE: £119.40, saving £30.60
Buitenverwachting Meifort 2015 – Constantia, South Africa – 15% (special bottling)
£16.50 £12.50 per bottle - BUY NOW
The Meifort is usually a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc but on this occasion it is 100% Merlot in a special bottling made for Swig. One of the oldest wineries in the Cape, this is not for the faint-hearted as it tips the scales at 15% but it has enough stuffing cope with it. It is an old-fashioned wine with a heavy saturation of black fruit plus smokiness, which is reminiscent of a Graves wine in Bordeaux. It would be ideal with any hearty dish, including steak or game. Although it is perfectly drinkable now, it will easily last another five or ten years. There is only two barrels of this available, which means less than 50 cases, so don’t delay.
PRICE PER CASE: £150, saving £48
Domaine de Mauperthius Bourgogne Grande Reserve Pinot Noir 2016 – Burgundy, France - 13%
£19.95 £17.95 per bottle - BUY NOW
This Burgundy comes from a district just south of Auxerre and Chablis, which has recently been replanted after being abandoned due to the ravages of phylloxera in the nineteenth century. The 2016 vintage suffered both from excessive frost and hail, but fortunately this vineyard was spared and has produced a beautifully balanced Burgundy which is elegant and refreshing with very good length – and exceptional value.
PRICE PER CASE: £215.40, saving £24
Karadi Berger Tokaji Furmint-Hars 2015 – Tokaji, Hungary – 12.5%
£14.95 £9.95 per bottle - BUY NOW
Tokaji is usually associated with the famous sweet wine of the same name but the region also produces exceptional dry white wines using the same grape varieties but without the “Noble Rot”. This is a blend of the two most popular native grapes - Harslevelu and Furmint from vineyards just outside the village of Erdobenye. It is remarkable for its combination of pear and apple with a stony, flint character giving it an overall succulence though still with a dry palate. It is made in miniscule amounts from two vineyards and would partner beautifully with seafood dishes.
PRICE PER CASE: £119.40, saving £60
View the full collection here, or call Swig to order on 0800 0272 272.