White & orange wines £15-20
Le Grappin (£19), a winemaker who splits his time between south London and Burgundy produced the first aligoté
I tried last year. His is slightly pricier if you can still find it, has lower acidity and fantastic mouthfeel.
I ended up drinking five or six bottles of this over the last year and is still a go-to winner when I see it.
The Davenport Horsmorden 2016
is my favourite English white wine I’ve had this year. The acid wasn’t as overpowering as I was expecting for an English white, and lemon zest, peach and flowers came through on the nose. I had no idea when tasting this, it would go on to become such a staple. Will’s Horsmonden white & pinot are two English classics.
A bit further south, the Bouquet des Garrigues
- a white Côtes du Rhône - offered lemon and grapefruit and a liveliness that’s enticing. This wine set off a journey into finding Rhone style whites I liked and from here I discovered white Riojas. This was, on reflection, one of my favourite two or three whites of last year.
While in Oddbins, white chardonnay fans should really buy a bottle of Arsonist
(£20). The body structure and flavour here reminded me more of the Northern Rhone more than California. White flowers with an incredibly fleshy texture. Top notch chardonnay at a very good value price.
Red wines £15-20
Markus Schneider in Pfalz, Germany has made an incredible wine from the grape combo. Ursprung, £19 from Vinoteca,
is a brilliant wine and one I’d recommend even in this higher price bracket. Red berries, spice, oak. Tannins are low and overall well balanced. Great with food but still just as nice to drink afterwards. I ended up buying a few bottles of this whenever I saw it. A real delight.
is a Provençal red made from syrah, grenache, and tibouren. This was nicely perfumed, with blackcurrants and herbs. Far nicer in my mind than its pricier older brother too. This was from the Red Squirrel tasting, which cemented itself as one of my favourite importers.
Kekfrankos is Hungary’s name for the Blaufränkisch grape. St Donat’s Magma
is some of the best value I’ve found in red wine in a long time. Spicy red fruit with black pepper. This has a very long and elegant finish that hints at chocolate at the end. Bold and Syrah-esque. After my trip to Hungary last year, I was really keen to find some incredible reds, this was a highlight.