Sam Wylie-Harris top 10 tipples from the year in wine

So many wines, so little time! Variety is the spice of life but if we had to choose some favourites, we’re confident we could narrow it down,

By Sam Wylie-Harris
Friday, 8th January 2021, 12:30 pm

When it comes to going back for more, these accessible styles will impress savvy wine drinkers and novices alike.

From the finest fizz Down Under, to trusty classics, hidden gems and top drops from off the beaten track, we’ve shortlisted 10 winsome wines we’d love to drink again and again…

1. Jansz Premium Cuvée NV, Tasmania, Australia, £19.50, Wine Direct

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Sam Wylie-Harris top 10 tipples

An A-list Aussie fizz in a rich, hedonistic style – hands down this is the closest bubbly to champagne. Made in the traditional champagne method (even though they’ve coined it ‘Methode Tasmanoise’), there’s the perfect balance of freshness and opulence with a blast of the baker’s shop. Rich, creamy and toasty with notes of nougat, honey, peaches, apricots and roasted nuts.

2. Sorcova Pinot Grigio 2019, Romania, £7.99, Waitrose

A star buy and proof that an everyday pinot grigio may be simple, yet deliciously easy to sink. With perky tropical fruits and floral aromas, a good balance of citrusy acidity supporting the ripe melon and apple flavours, it’s fresh, fruity and fun. Pairs well with a creamy seafood

linguine or even a dressed crab.

3. Yealands Sauvignon Blanc 2019, Marlborough, New Zealand, £8, Sainsbury’s

Mother Nature’s taken a shine to Marlborough in New Zealand’s sunny South Island – and this award-winning winery sets the benchmark, turning out some of the best savvy blanc, with 2019 cited as an outstanding vintage. With all the citrusy, herbal characteristics you could wish for, guava and tropical fruit leap from the glass with a clean crisp, minerally finish and breezy freshness.

4. Klein Zalze Chenin Blanc Vineyard Selection 2018, Stellenbosch, South Africa, £11.99, Luvians

A Cape chenin that’s beautifully scented and discreetly oaked, there’s fresh pear, apricots, glazed peaches and tangerine galore, with citrusy characters balancing the rich, ripe fruit. Utterly delicious, it’s a shining example of how chenin blanc chimes with crustacea, like shrimp and crab.

5. Adnams Provence Rosé 2019, France, £64.99 for a six-bottle case, Adnams

Who would have thought the palest wash of almost transparent pink could provide so much pleasure? With exquisite aromas of dried flowers, you can almost picture the stunning lavender fields. The winemaker, Emmanuelle Baude, has a reputation for being passionate about her vineyard – and it really shows in this beautiful organic rosé, marked by succulent red fruits, a wonderful purity and charming, silky texture.

6. Domaine du Gros Noré 2017, Bandol Rouge, France, £22, Lay & Wheeler

Provençal rosé not your thing? Be prepared to be blown away by one of the Riviera’s best kept secrets – a ravishing red from the village of Bandol. A rare beast (it’s grown in small quantities) and powerful blend of grapes (predominantly mouvedre), these wines are rich, complex and fine-tuned, with herb-infused, sun-kissed fruit and spice along the way. Utterly gorgeous from beginning to end.

7. Vinalta Malbec 2017, Mendoza, Argentina, currently £8 (was £9), Marks & Spencer stores

Another gorgeous glass bursting with plums, strawberries and spice with hints of lavender, this wine’s full of energy and has a vibrant, fruity elegance and no oak influence. Indeed, M&S

suggest it’s versatile enough to be served lightly chilled, or pair with Thai food, pasta

or your favourite cut of

steak.

8. Waitrose Maipo Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, Maipo Valley, Chile, £9.99, Waitrose

Chile excels at cab sav and produces a range of styles – from vivid, blackcurranty reds offering outstanding value, to top-notch drops – and most, like this one, come from its Central Valley. Rich and satisfying, this version tastes like it should cost a lot more. Juicy and complex, with aromas of fresh red fruits laced with cassis, a core of ripe blackberry fruit, plums spicy oak and delicate herbal notes, it’s a winner.

9. Ixsir Altitudes Red 2016, Lebanon, currently £16.95 (was £18.95), Great Western Wine

Lebanon might be famous for its food, but if you’re thirsty to explore the wines from the pearl of the Middle East too, Altitude is stacked with the black fruits of the region. A blend of cabernet sauvignon, caladoc (a red wine variety from the Languedoc), syrah and tempranillo, the nose is rich and complex with notes of blackcurrant and blackberry, a long, luscious palate, beautifully silky tannins and a compelling finish – offering the best expression of the Lebanese terroir.

10. Bodegas Amaren Angeles de Amaren Rioja 2015, Spain, currently £19.95 (was £21), Virgin Wines

With a combined influence of the Atlantic and Mediterranean, Rioja’s continental climate also defines its style (pure, precise and generous) and yields wines we want to drink again and again – such as this flagship drop. Powerful yet beautifully balanced, it delivers a plush, velvety smooth texture with flavours of black cherry, berries, vanilla, cloves and spice, ending with a long, concentrated finish and lingering vanilla notes. A diva of a wine.