1) Louis Roederer, Brut Premier NV. £29.99
A beautifully aged Champagne from one of the most prestigious houses of the region. Shows fantastic nuances of hazelnut that are so intricately associated with more mature Champangnes.
2) Pol Roger Brut NV. £24.99
Winston Churchill’s favourite house offer a delicate and amiable style with a wonderfully persistent mousse and a rich lemon fruit character.
3) Laurent Perrier Brut Rose NV. £39.99
Made exclusively from the Pinot Noir grape, this ever popular rose has a fantastic backbone that is ably supported by luscious red fruit character.
4) Bollinger “La Grande Annee” 1997. £59.99
Only made in outstanding years, Bollinger’s vintage Champagne’s are very approachable in their youth, offering a rich yeasty character on the palate.
5) Krug Grande Cuvee NV. £86.99
The most coveted non vintage Champagne on the market, blended across numerous different vintages and from dozens of premier and grand cru vineyards, Krug is sublimely decadent in its richness.
6) Krug 1990. £125
Not released until 14 years after vintage, this is a step up from the Grande Cuvee. Designed to show all the characteristics of a particular vintage, in this case the faultless year of 1990, this really is Champagne at its most luxurious.
10) Amarande 1998, Bordeaux Superieur. £8.99
A Merlot dominated blend from an excellent year for the grape, this shows “drinking” claret in a fantastic light.
11) Chateau l’Artigues, 1998 Pauillac £15.99
Classic aromas of cassis and pencil lead dominate the nose whilst the palate shows firm tannins and an excellent structure.
12) Chateau La Croix du Casse, 2000, Pomerol, £24.49
An outstanding vintage across the board in Bordeaux, that guaranteed ripeness of the classic grape varieties. Merlot from the commune of Pomerol is truly unique in its offerings of delicate perfumed fruit, whilst maintaining a remarkably solid structure.
13) Segla, 1999 Margaux. £20.99
Another “second” label that exemplifies the quality of the Margaux soil. A unique elegance is brought to the wines, resulting in a decadent floral bouquet.
14) Chateau de Fieuzal, 1996 Pessac Leognan. £27.99
From a commune surrounded by Graves (meaning Gravel), the soil further inland may as well be a million miles away from the rest of the Medoc. A much deeper and robust style of wine with the resounding aroma of fresh green pepper leaping out the glass at you.
15) Chateau Leoville Poyferre, 1994 St Julien. £38.99
A beautifully developed wine, yet still showing promise to age longer. A good vintage if you select as wisely as the vignerons did, this particular Chateau reduced its output to maintain optimal quality in year when rain affected the harvest in some communes.
16) Chateau Figeac, 1998 St Emilion. £57.49
The perfect spot for Merlot in 1998 was on the “right bank” of St Emilion and Pomerol, where the grape was able to ripen perfectly. This resulted in a very opulent and ultimately enjoyable style of wine being produced, when even “young” wines show their supreme quality early on.
17) Chateau Mouton Rothschild, 1999 Pauillac (Magnum). £179.99
The only promotion in over 150 years of the famous 1855 classification, Mouton was deemed of high enough quality to earn “first Growth” status in 1973. The pinnacle of quality from Bordeaux, wines like Mouton stand alone due to their texture, length, structure and overall quality.
20) Fleurie, 2002 Duboeuf. £8.99
A medium weight Beaujolais that is as famous for being enjoyable on its own as it is with food. A very versatile wine that shows good purity of raspberry fruit as well as a clearly defined elegant texture.
21) Gevrey – Chambertin, 2002 David Duband. £26.99
A young man making modern red Burgundy, Duband’s wines show a lot of muscle in their structure, yet through excellent concentration of fruit character they surpass any harshness in their youth.
22) Monthelie, 2001 Morey Blanc. £19.59
Making a more traditional style of Burgundian Pinot Noir, Pierre Morey is very much involved in several facets of the Burgundian wine industry. This is a very easy drinking, soft, red fruit laden village wine that has fantastic hedonistic qualities that Pinot Noir is capable of.
23) Crozes Hermitage “Les Jalets” 2001, Jaboulet Aine. £9.99
A classic example of Northern Rhone Syrah, a deep crimson colour with a distinctive black pepper character on both the nose and palate.
24) Cote Rotie, 2002 Bonnefond £25.99
A wonderful expression of Syrah from the “roasted slopes” of the Northern Rhone. Very deep, dark and intense with just a hint of fresh ground coffee on the nose.
25) Hermitage, 2001 Domaine Belle. £36.99
One of the most famous plots of land in the wine world, the hill of Hermitage has been producing world class wines for centuries. Made solely from Syrah, this is a step up both in terms of quality and concentration from more generic offerings of the region. It is one of the few wines of the world that has the ability to age for decades.
26) Chateauneuf du Papes, 1999 Chateau de Beaucastel. £38.49
Beaucastel have recently been certified as organic producers, whilst maintaining the extraordinarily high standard of wine that they produce year in, year out. They are also unique in that they utilise all 13 of the legally permitted grape varieties in the appellation laws of the region. 1999 was also a particularly good vintage in the Southern Rhone.
28) Castel Giaconda, Brunello di Montalcino, 1999 Frescobaldi. £23.49
The most revered and classic expression of the Sangiovese grape variety the world over. Brunello di Montalcino has earned its reputation. Frescobaldi have been making wine in Tuscany for centuries and their name alone is a guarantee of quality. This is a young Brunello with all the classic hallmarks of intense dark cherry flavours and the trademark natural acidity, that pairs it so well with full flavoured dishes.
29) Barbaresco, 1999 Pelissero £27.99
Always referred to as the more feminine of the great Nebbiolo wines of Barolo and Barbaresco, due to its greater perfume and elegance. At its best Nebbiolo has wonderful hedonistic floral aromas yet on the palate, it becomes so much more in terms of structure, balance and weight.
30) Barolo “Cerequio”, 2000 Michele Chiarlo. £45
By law, Barolo is never released unitl 4 years after vintage to allow it to soften out in both barrel and bottle. This particular Barolo is of the highest order, made from a single vineyard that has the perfect aspect to ripen the Nebbiolo grape to phenolic ripeness. A wonderful wine to stand up to the richest of red meat dishes.
31) Dolcetto di Dogliani “Bricco Botti”, 2000 Pecchenino. £17.99
Pecchenino have cajoled an amazing amount of power and finesse from the Dolcetto grape here, literally meaning “little sweet one” Dolcetto is normally an easy drinking medium bodied red. Here, there is a massive structure of ripe fruit and integrated tannin that show the full capabilities of Dolcetto when handled properly.
32) Amarone, 2000 Masi. £19.99
No self respecting Italian list would complete without an Amarone – one of the defining styles of the world. The traditional varieties of Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara are picked and then dried in lofts for several weeks before fermentation. This allows all the natural sugars of the grape to concentrate and dry out slightly, giving a fantastic raisin quality to the finished article. It also helps to produce a velvety texture and a ludicrously long finish.
33) Roda I Reserva , 2000 Bodegas Roda, Rioja. £29.99
An ultra modern Rioja that is made from 100% Tempranillo and is designed to highlight the attributes of the grape in terms of fruit flavour, concentration and length of flavour. The result is a wonderfully voluptuous wine with a truly decadent chocolatey texture.
34) Garvey Family vineyard, Merlot 1999, Rocking Horse Winery. £18.99
Everything that is great and good about ripe Merlot is exemplified here. It’s at a superb age to drink, its very soft and elegant without even a hint of jaminess and is a very well rounded wine.
35) Sean Thackery Orion 2001 £60
Again named after a constellation, yet this is Thackery’s top “cuvee” made from 100 year old Syrah vines. Vines of that age develop their own take on what the grape should taste like and produce wines of unbelievable concentration and individuality. The Orion is like no other wine on this earth.
36) Lost Valley Shiraz, 2001 Central Victoria. £15.99
This is very much an atypical Australian Shiraz, in that it is stepping away from the ultra generic “liquid jam” style and going towards a far more “vinous” quality level. This is very intense with cracked black pepper character to it and a restrained dark fruit flavour on the palate.
37) Brookland Valley “Reserve” Cabernet Sauvignon, 2000 Margaret River. £19.99
A brilliant Cabernet that is not trying to imitate the best of Bordeaux, yet is making a fantastic name for Western Australia and what it can do with premium quality grape varieties. Very concentrated with flavours of cassis and hints of mint.
38) Cullen “Mangan” 2002, Margaret River. £19.99
Dr Kevin Cullen was one of the pioneers of the Margaret River region in the late 1960’s and his winery have consistently been one of the best producers of the region. The late Kevin’s daughter, Vanya, is now in charge and is consistently winning awards for her winemaking. The “Mangan” is a blend of Petit Verdot, Malbec and Merlot yet is seamless in its finish.
39) Montana “Tom” 2000, Hawkes Bay. £34.99
New Zealand is so often thought of as a white wine producing country only, yet it is equally capable of producing world class reds too. The key factor is finding the right climate to develop the more stubborn red varities like Cabernet and Merlot. Hawkes Bay is one such hotspot and Montana have manipulated the climate perfectly to produce “Tom”, this is a very serious effort that has great structure and depth.
40) Murdoch James Pinot Noir, 2002, Martinborough. £18.99
From the South of the North Island, Pinot Noir is a notoriously fickle variety to control, yet New Zealand is becoming a master in no time at all. It only rivals Burgundy in quality and not style, offering more up front fruit character than its old-world counter part.
41) Casa Lapostelle, Cuvee Alexandra Syrah, 2002. £14.99
Chile is famously one of the best countries in the world to ripen grapes to perfection, yet is only just starting to maximise its potential in the wine world. These two wines from Casa Lapostelle mark the new wave of premium wines arriving from Chile. More specialist sites are sought to plant these grapes and more individual wines are resulting.
43) Kevin Arnold, Shiraz 2002. £17.99
From the Waterford area of Stellenbosch, this is a brilliant offering of South African Shiraz, lying somewhere in between Aussie Shiraz and Rhone Syrah. Full bodied with a peppery fruit character whilst showing good restraint on the palate.
Maison Verget do not own a single vine in Burgundy, they opt instead to contract growers from all over the region to produce the highest quality of grapes possible, often encouraging them to keep yields as low as possible. From their base in the Macon, they take over the entire wine-making process, producing a very clean and up front style of White Burgundy.
45) Chablis 1er Cru “Vaillons”, 2002 Verget. £23.49
A brilliant expression of top quality Chablis that makes puts lesser quality producers to shame in the prices they charge, a stunning wine.
46) Meursault “Rougeots”, 2002 Verget. £24.99
Lying in the heart of Burgundy, Meursault offers a rounder, fuller bodied version of Chardonnay than Chablis.
47) St Veran, “Terroirs de Davaye”, 2002 Verget. £12.49
St Veran lies in the far south of Burgundy, showing itself in complete contrast to Chablis in the far North. The whites of the south generally are riper and therefore richer than from elsewhere in Burgundy.
48) Puligny Montrachet, 2001 Carillon. £27.99
Carillon produce a very austere style of Puligny with no reliance on oak whatsoever. The result is a very pure expression of Chardonnay with excellent natural acidity, making it ideally suited to food matching.
49) Sancerre, Roc L’Abbaye, 2003 £12.99
A classically fresh and mineral laden Loire Sauvignon that is beautifully delicate on the palate with a lovely zingy quality.
50) Muscat, 2003 Albert Mann £10.59
One of the few grape varieties whose flavours are reminiscent to that of table grapes, this Alsatian Muscat is dry with a beautifully viscous quality that would be a wonderful cheese wine.
51) Gewurztraminer, 2003 Hugel £10.79
Dry with wonderful floral aromas of rose petal and turkish delight, this would be ideally suited to spicier dishes.
52) Riesling, 2003 Paul Blanck £9.99
Alsatian Riesling offers the usual characteristic acidity of Old World Riesling yet is more often than not bone dry. Blanck’s Riesling is dry with good weight of fruit.
53) Condrieu, 2003 Bonnefond. £39.99
A fresh, fragrant and stunning example of Viognier from Condrieu that is truly unique.
54) Hermitage Blanc, Domaine Belle, 2001 £36.99
Made from predominantly Marsanne, white Hermitage is made in tiny quantities and offers an intensely dry, and aromatic wine. There is nowhere else in the world that makes a similar style to this kind of quality.
55) Chateauneuf du papes Blanc Vielles Vignes, 2002 Chateau de Beaucastel. £55.99
A truly unique wine that is made solely from 80 year old Roussanne vines and has a decadently rich but fresh nose of truffle scent.
56) Rudesheimer, Berg Rosenberg, Spatlese, 2002, J Leitz £15.99
A wonderful example of classic German Riesling showing seamless balance of fruit, acidity and sweetness and a immensely long finish.
57) Suavia “Le Rive”, 2002 Soave. £16.49
Made from the Graganega grape, this is a top quality Soave that offers an abundance of fruit intensity and elegance over all others of its kind.
58) “Drylands” Sauvignon Blanc, 2003 Marlborough. £10.99
A brilliantly restrained style of Marlborough Sauvignon that is allowed to age on its lees for 4 months, giving the wine a fantastic weight and creamy mouthfeel over its younger, fresher counterparts.
59) Mesh Riesling, 2003 Eden Valley. £14.99
A collaboration between two of Australia’s most famous and best Riesling producers, Michael Hill Smith and Philip Grosset, Mesh is Aussie Riesling at its sublime best. A flinty core of lime fruit is complemented by that unmistakable natural, floral acidity of Riesling.
60) Lost Valley, Cortese, 2002 Central Victoria. £13.99
To find the Cortese grape anywhere but the tiny commune of Gavi in the north of Italy is rare enough, but to find it as good as this is even rarer. An excellent food wine that shows very good weight on the palate with a pleasant dryness on the finish.
61) Brookland Estate, Reserve Chardonnay, 2002 Margaret River,
Western Australia. £19.99
Chardonnay of this quality from Western Australia resembles something from the Old World, more often than not Burgundian in style, than anything Australian from further east.
62) Meerlust Chardonnay 2000, Stellenbosch £12.99
A brilliant Chardonnay that shows fantastic weight, imparted by new oak fermentation, yet still offers a luscious fruit core and a smooth, creamy finish.
70) Chateau d’Yquem, 1996, Sauternes (Half bottle) £89.99
Without doubt, the most famous sweet wine in the world, and probably always will be. The harvest at d’Yquem can take as long as 4 months, such is the precision required in picking only the “roasted” grapes by hand. It is thus one of the most expensive wines in the world to produce, but once you have tasted it, you will never forget the day you tasted d’Yquem. Decadence in its purest form.
71) Chateau La Rame, St Croix du Mont, 1999 (Half Bottle) £14.99
Situated just across the river Garonne from Sauternes, St Croix de Mont offers a fantastic alternative to the more famous estates of Sauternes. Still very fresh, La Rame has a striking grapefruit flavour through it with a balancing acidity. A very luscious young sweet wine indeed.