Located right at the northern tip of the Médoc, this Claret has all of the characteristics that you’d hope to find in straightforward well-made Bordeaux. This vineyard has been run by the same family since its creation in the Fifties and consists of 100 acres on the gravelly banks of the Gironde River. Predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon, with additional Merlot and Cabernet Franc, it’s well rounded and harmonious without needing further bottle age. If you have neglected Bordeaux in favour of more exotic destinations, this might be the wine to remind you of what you are missing.
Pinot Noir is the most temperamental grape, but New Zealand is showing that Burgundy isn’t the only place to find great examples. Moa Ridge is made from the younger vines of Clayvin Vineyards; co-managed by Johnny Wheeler and one of the most renowned Pinot producers in Marlborough. The depth of flavour, with blackberry fruit and a hint of smoke, makes this the equal of a Village Wine from Burgundy and is a brilliant introduction to what can be achieved in other parts of the world. The saving on this case is unbelievable, too - one more reason you should buy a case immediately.
Gone are the days when New Zealand Pinots tasted like computer copies of Burgundy. Located just outside Christchurch, the grapes for this wine come from Waipara and spend time in French barrels and are bottled without fining or filtration. This has remarkable depth with a pleasant mushroom undertow with elements of bacon and dark cherry – in other words, a classically earthy Pinot that is seriously savoury.
This is one of the best Côtes du Rhône reds I have ever tasted – full-flavoured with an elegance and purity that belies its humble appellation. Located in the relatively unknown Laudun district, it is made predominantly from the Grenache grape with a small amount of Syrah and Mourvèdre, which are also used in Châteauneuf-du-Pape; its grander and more expensive neighbour. The 2015 vintage is one of the most successful in the entire Rhône Valley and while it is in perfect form now, will certainly continue to improve for a few more years.