Wednesday Wines – Episode 165 – A dozen of the finest Waitrose wines

If you are off to Waitrose to do your weekly shop, why not pick up a couple of these delicious wines and my lovely Jukes drinks, too.

See links to Jukes 6 The Sparkling Red, and Jukes Sparkling Pinot Noir here!

These are my favourite 12 bottles from the recent Waitrose Press Tasting. NB, I have not included detailed notes on sparklers here because I could note 12 worthy wines with ease, so here is a short form sparkling list for you before I get into the best still bottles – NV Cordorníu 1872 Organic Cava, Spain (£10.99); NV Ridgeview Bloomsbury, England (£34.99); NV Hambledon, Classic Cuvée, England (£32.00); NV Ayala, Brut Majeur, Champagne, France (£32.99); NV Le Mesnil, Blanc de Blancs, Champagne, France (£39.99); NV Gosset, Grande Réserve Brut, Champagne, France (£53.99); NV Louis Roederer, Collection 243, Champagne, France (£57.99); NV Palmer & Co, Blanc de Blancs, Champagne, France (£53.99); NV Bollinger, Brut Rosé, Champagne, France (£59.99).

WHITE

2022 Paul Mas, Réserve Languedoc Blanc, Languedoc-Roussillon, France £9.99

This is a spectacular wine in every respect. It is stunningly complex on the nose drawing every inch of perfume from its quartet of varieties – Vermentino (Rolle), Marsanne, Grenache Blanc and Viognier.  The texture is pure and silky, augmented by a brief spell in oak, giving it a noble stance on the palate. The finish is long, cool, sensual and sophisticated. I love this wine, and it destroys oceans of white Burgundy (which would love to do this performance) with its calm and control.

2021 Yering Station, The Elms Chardonnay, Victoria, Australia £10.49

The 2021 vintage and the new 2022 vintage of The Elms (due to hit the shelves in the late Summer) pay testament to the skilful winemaking at Yering Station and the idyllic Victorian climate.  These wines are in with a shout as Australia’s finest value, cool-climate Chardonnay.  This timeless and refreshing white wine gives global Chardonnay styles a much-needed wake-up call: silky-smooth, gentle and elegant. This is the perfect white wine for elite aperitif duties, carefully-constructed starters, and the entire gamut of seafood and fish main courses. I take my hat off to Yering Station for putting as much time and effort into The Elms as they do their Reserve level wines.

2022 Waitrose No.1, Astrolabe Sauvignon Blanc, Awatere, Marlborough, New Zealand £12.99

Winemaker Simon Waghorn has one of the most restrained and detailed palates in New Zealand, and his wines follow his character. This is a masterclass wine that is controlled, refined, and worthy of sitting on a dining room table next to the finest Loire Sauvignons. It is what is excellent about first-class Kiwi Sauvignon with one of the nonsense, soap, and fruit salad notes that crowd the palate and take away from the minerality upon which this wine region was born.

2021 Leitz, Rüdesheim Magdalenenkreuz Riesling Kabinett, Rheingau, Germany £13.99

I remember writing this wine up in the first editions of my wine books and Daily Mail columns some 20 years ago. I have a soft spot for Leitz’s delicate, super-pure wines, and this vibrant, crystalline Riesling is a spectacular creation. Pin sharp, epically refreshing, and thrillingly energetic; this is the most electrifying aperitif wine on the Waitrose shelves today!

2022 Paul Cluver, Village Chardonnay, Elgin Valley, South Africa £13.99

Cluver has refined its Chardonnay offering over decades, and very few Cape Chardies match this wine in terms of value for money and sheer complexity. Winemaker Andries Burger has a magical touch with this grape; this 2022 is his finest release in years.

RED

2021 Waitrose Loved & Found Lacrima, Marche, Italy £8.99

Lacrima di Morro d’Alba (the tears of the Moors from Alba) must be one of the most exotic and unusual grape names of all, and I have always loved the rare wines made from this variety. Rose petal and Turkish Delight-scented, with a slippery, blackberry and cherry mid-palate and a frisky, refreshing finish, this wonderful, quirky wine works as well chilled as it does at normal temperature. Open a bottle with barbecued food and marvel at its stunning perfume and flavour.

2020 Reyneke, Organic Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot, Western Cape, South Africa £9.99

Regular readers will know how much I love the Reyneke portfolio, and this wine is a cheeky little star that dips under the ten-quid barrier while tasting vital, energetic, authentic, and lip-smacking. This is a perfect expression of South African wine at its most alluring and unique, and the 2022 Chenin Blanc (£9.99) is another unmissable wine.

2019 Château Margerots, Bordeaux Supérieur, France £10.49

This absolutely brilliant, inexpensive claret is made from 50% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc. It is ripe, juicy, drinking now, and beautifully balanced. It really stood out among wines that were, in some cases, three times the price.

2021 Famille Perrin, On the QT Bin 32 Syrah, Rhône Valley, France £15.99 Waitrose Cellar

Youthful and crunchy and in need of a decanter, this is a combative wine, but the perfume and palate are simply sensational, and the limestone freshness and pinch of minerality on the finish offsets the exuberant fruit perfectly. This is a serious discovery; if you love your Rhônes, this is an incredibly enticing wine.

2019 Bremerton, Tamblyn, Langhorne Creek, South Australia £15.99 Waitrose Cellar

A past winner of a spot in my 100 Best Australian Wines Report, Tamblyn is a succulent blend of 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Shiraz, 7% Malbec and 6% Merlot. It captures the wildness of Langhorne Creek perfectly, making it an indulgent and lusty red with serious complexity and lashings of attitude. Drink it with the finest steaks you can find (on the BBQ, of course)!

2020 Mount Difficulty, Pinot Noir, Bannockburn, Central Otago, New Zealand £27.99

If I were still compiling my annual ‘The Great New Zealand Pinot Noir Classification’ (I wrote the last one a couple of years ago), this estate would be a rare five-star winner. This newly released 2020 vintage is utterly amazing. This is top-class in every way, and at £28, it offers world-class Pinot at a relatively affordable price!

SWEET

2018 De Bortoli, Noble One Botrytis Semillon, Riverina, Australia half bottle £19.99

There is no doubt in my mind that this is the finest value sweetie around. It is so classy, so complex, so long, and so ‘noble’, it takes your breath away. If you have never tasted Noble One, do so immediately – it is a legendary creation, and I have tasted and written up every vintage since the inaugural 1982!