Domaine FL Les Bergères Anjou Chenin 2010, Loire, France

Wines like this make my spine tingle and my mouth smile

Domaine FL Les Bergères Anjou Chenin 2010, Loire, France (£16.99 Liberty Wines)
Lovely clean, keen, style with herby green apple and taut citrus tension, some of that slightly odd, waxy and not-at-all-mouldy cheesecloth character and a savoury mineral edge set against fleshier honeyed pear and quince elements. Brisk, like warm cheeks on a cold day, complex and very tasty. S(+)

Denis Jamain Reuilly Les Pierres Plates 2012, Loire, France

Lovely tense Sauvignon from a place that’s often forgotten in the rush for other more famous Loire wines

Denis Jamain Reuilly Les Pierres Plates 2012, Loire, France (£14.50 Ellis Wharton Wines)
Lots of sappy, nettle-and-herb tension, balanced with fresh lime, lemon and blackcurrant leaf flavours, plus a touch of just-mown grass, and while there’s a backbone of zingy acidity and taut minerality, there’s enough flesh to pad it out. S(-)

Prinz von Hessen Dachsfilet Riesling 2012, Rheingau, Germany

Apologies if this sounds a bit like an advert for herbal conditioner, I loved the wine

Prinz von Hessen Dachsfilet Riesling 2012, Rheingau, Germany (~£23)
Bounds out of the glass with a mountain spring-like freshness, citrus flavours to the fore, dry herb characters in there too, along with a minerally, Alka Seltzer-like saltiness. Give it time to open up, and more exotic characters like passionfruit and icing sugar (think the dusting on Dolly Mixtures) emerge, but the upright Riesling backbone is always there to keep everything sleek. S(+)
PS The website still talks about the 2008 vintage which was <12% alcohol – this one is 13%.
PPS Bibendum has the 2013, will give list of stockists soon

Les Eminades ‘Montmajou’ St Chinian Blanc 2012, Languedoc, France

I know a lot of this is about the winemaking style, but it’s a style I love

Les Eminades ‘Montmajou’ St Chinian Blanc 2012, Languedoc, France (£15-£15.50 Cambridge Wine Merchants, Aubert & Mascoli)
Is it minerality or is it sulphur-related? Probably a bit of both, this has quite exotic pear, peach and quince flavours but there’s also a savoury briny tension. Packed with flavour but finishes lean and appetising. Delicious, but may not be everyone’s cup of tea. S+

Laurenz V und Sophie Singing Grüner Veltliner 2013, Lower Austria

Not from anywhere near the sea, but this had that bracing briny edge found in coastal wines like Muscadet, Vinho Verde and Rías Baixas

Laurenz V und Sophie Singing Grüner Veltliner 2013, Lower Austria (~£14)
Young, taut and fresh initially, with citrus and green apple to the fore, a breezy saline minerally note (pumice) and a touch of herbs. Opens up with time to show a richer pear-like note, so don’t be afraid to decant it, and don’t serve it too cold. S(-)

Domaine La Haute Marone ‘Le Torrent du Trignon’ Sablet Côtes du Rhône Villages 2012, France

Don’t buy cheap Châteauneuf, this is far, far better

Domaine La Haute Marone ‘Le Torrent du Trignon’ Sablet Côtes du Rhône Villages 2012, France (£11.99 D Byrne, The Vineyard, Highbury Vintners, Bacchanalia)
There are lots of Rhône reds with similar warm plummy generosity and earthy spice, but this stands out firstly for its exotic nature – there’s an almost Alsace like floral lychee-like edge here – and the fact that despite its 15% alcohol, the overall impression is of unforced elegance. Drinkable now, but has the tannic backbone to keep it going for…I hesitate to say 10 years, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see it still fighting fit at that age. S(+)

Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference Priorat 2011, Spain

Nearly very good, but suffers from the same problem as many Priorats…

Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference Priorat 2011, Spain (£11 Sainsbury’s)
I like the plump plummy berry notes here, and there’s also a fragrant herb-scented character breezing through the wine. However, some of the fruit seems to have been picked a bit late, so there’s a slightly shrivelled raisinny edge, and this, combined with some new oak, dries out some of the pleasure.

Neethlingshof Pinotage 2012, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Not a huge Pinotage fan, but I can imagine quaffing this with pleasure on a chilly evening

Neethlingshof Pinotage 2012, Stellenbosch, South Africa (£8.99 Wine Rack)
Classic Pinotage characters of spice-infused berries and bananas, along with notes of chocolate. There’s also a savoury tomato note in there too , alongside some (not unpleasant) rustic iron-like notes. Very enjoyable stuff, with a brawny, earthy honesty. S-

Tyrrell’s Old Winery Verdelho 2012, Hunter Valley, Australia

Verdelho doesn’t seem to be as popular as it was a few years ago – a shame when there are wines like this…

Tyrrell’s Old Winery Verdelho 2012, Hunter Valley, Australia (£11.99 The Wine Society, House of Menzies, Amathus, vintagemarque.com)
Imagine a wine that has the peachy weight of Chardonnay in tension with the tight pithy edge of Semillon, add in some notes of musky pearskin and a light nuttiness on the finish, and you won’t be far off the mark. S-

A couple of Merlot-y French reds

Just wish the person who made the first wine had been given the fruit from the second…

Morrisons Claret NV, Bordeaux, France (£4.49 Morrisons)
Hmmm. I don’t mind the leafy blackcurrant and blackberry character, sappy, earthy notes and fresh finish, but this is just too scrawny for real pleasure. C-

Moulin Des Vignes Merlot 2012 Pays d’Oc, France (£8.30 Jascots)
Smells like a rounder, riper version of the above wine, with fleshier fruit but still with the leafy overtones. Decent fruit flavours, but they’re muddied by a rather confected vanilla character – think this would have been better without the oaking… C