Edmeades Perli Vineyard Late Harvest Zinfandel 2006, Mendocino, California

Almost a Californian take on Amarone…

Edmeades Perli Vineyard Late Harvest Zinfandel 2006, Mendocino, California (£10.79 per half Hailsham Cellars, vintagemarque.com)
This oozes decadent fruit flavours – kirsch, very ripe plums, sweet bramble jam - and there’s also a slightly medicinal herbal bite. A perfect winter warmer – and probably rather good for sore throats too! S(-)

Viña Ventisquero Apalta Vineyard Grey Label Syrah 2011, Colchagua, Chile

I detect something of the influence of Australian John Duval in this promising youngster.

Viña Ventisquero Apalta Vineyard Grey Label Syrah 2011, Colchagua, Chile (£12.99 Slurp)
There’s more polished warmth here than in many Chilean Syrahs. It’s rich but fresh, with a peppery sun-dried tomato tinge to the rich rounded dark berry, plum and cherry flavours, hint of vanilla and graphite, and a back bone of silky tannin. Tasty already, but its best is still to come. S

Spier Creative Block 3 2009, Coastal Region, South Africa

This isn’t the latest release, but it’s still available and currently looking rather nice.

Spier Creative Block 3 2009, Coastal Region, South Africa (£14.99 Hawkshead Wines)
Rich, rounded & spicy, with a slightly rustic but rather attractive tomatoey edge to its fleshy plum and dark berry fruit, notes of herbs and spice, still some vanilla tinges from the oak aging and a warm, welcoming finish. Still has some tannin and freshness to hold it together, so don’t be surprised to see it still in good nick in five years’ time. S

Errázuriz Estate Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Maipo, Chile

Many young reds are all the better for a couple of hours breathing, but this was its best as soon as I’d opened it

Errázuriz Estate Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Maipo, Chile (£9.99 Morrisons)
Warm, plush and rounded style, with hearty berry and blackcurrant, the vanilla edge of oak, and hints of spice and tobacco. Curiously, it seemed to get more leafy/stalky with time… B(+)

The Society’s Vin d’Alsace 2012, France

You can almost dissect this wine and pick out the nuances of the different grape varieties…

The Society’s Vin d’Alsace (Hugel) 2012, France (£8.50 The Wine Society)
It’s the rich peachy nuttiness of Pinot Gris along with some of the exotic rose petal of Gewürztraminer that you can smell, but then when you taste it smokiness of Sylvaner kicks in, while the citrussy freshness of Riesling cleans up the finish. Nice wine, not as blowsy as some Alsace blends can be. B+

Pullus Penina 2008, Stajerska, Slovenia

A sparkling blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc, but not from the most obvious of sources

Pullus Penina 2008, Stajerska, Slovenia (£17.95 Winety)
Quite a full-bodied style of fizz, off-dry with floral aromas that make you wonder whether some aromatic grapes made their way into the blend, rich creamy/yeasty notes balanced by citrus freshness and a stony finish. Good, but maybe a touch too rich for real class. B(+)

Seifried Estate Gewürztraminer 2012, Nelson, New Zealand

No mistaking what this wine is…

Seifried Estate Gewürztraminer 2012, Nelson, New Zealand (£11.99 Roberts & Speight, Halifax Wine Co, The Drink Shop, Lancaster Wine Company, The Good Wine Shop, vintagemarque.com)
Has all the classic Gewürztraminer pointers – rose petal, lychee, ginger, lime & lemon jelly – plus a touch of sweetness, but it scores because it’s not too bold or exotic, meaning that you actually want to drink it, ideally with a morsel of blue cheese. S-