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Top Wines of 20 under £20

As we come to the end of…erm…shall we say an interesting year, Songbird-in-chief, Jonny Wren, counts down his favourite wines of 2020 under £20.


10 – 2019 Wild House Chenin Blanc, Western Cape, South Africa @ £8.00 – This was the wine that reignited my interest in the Chenin Blanc grape and I’ll never forget how astounded I was by the quality at the price point. Produced from old bush vines with lovely texture and mixed fruit flavours of citrus, mandarin and lychee.

9 – 2019 Samas (Vermentino/Chardonnay), Agricola Punica, Sardinia, Italy @ £15.75 – Not all grapes blend harmoniously but when you have two of my favourites grown on the granite terrain of Sardinia it’s all looking good. Add to the mix that the legendary Sassicaia is behind this winery then it’s going to be a winner. Bright, fresh, fruity and marvellously mineral, this is one of the island’s finest whites.

8 – 2019 Organic Soave Classico, Pieropan, Veneto, Italy @ £15.50 – The new vintage of Pieropan’s Soave is up with their best. Now 100% organic this is a superb expression of the Garganega grape. Marzipan, almond blossom, citrus and clean steeliness. Ages nicely too.

7 – 2017 Jordan Inspector Péringuey Chenin Blanc, Stellenbosch, South Africa @ £13.75 – Another South African Chenin but this one sees fermentation in French oak and the results are magnificent. Spice pear, quince, ripe pineapple and a long rich finish makes this exceptional value.

6 – 2018 Greco di Tufo, Vesevo, Campania, Italy @ £14.75 – The warm spring day and delicious alfresco lunch that accompanied this wine certainly helped make this memorable but retasting confirmed that this was a delicious Italian white that’s deliciously aromatic with favours of white peach and excellent length. The 2018 has sold out but the 2019 is really starting to open up.

5 – 2018 Rioja Blanco Barrel Ferment, Bodegas Casa Primicia @ £12.75 – Superb barrel fermented Chardonnay from Laguardia’s finest producer. Seriously rich, seriously good and seriously low on stock as I’m down to my last few bottles of this superb vintage.

4 – 2019 Nosiola, Bottega Vinai, Cavit, Trentino @ £9.75 – Pound for pound you probably don’t get better value than this. Ripe stone fruit, a hint of honey and white spice and a little nuttiness on the finish.

3 – 2019 Cuvée Constance Blanc, Thunevin-Calvet, Côtes du Roussillon @ £13.75 – 2018 was amazing and 2019 is as good. Touches of citrus, blossom and a light creamy touch. Lovely and full on the palate but with superb elegance and finesse. The finish is ripe, minerally and incredibly moreish. Needs half an hour in a decanter to really get going. If you didn’t buy any from the recent offer then grab some now and when spring comes this will be really singing.

2 – 2018 Terlaner Cuvée, Cantina Terlano, Alto Adige @ £19.75 – This Cantina produces some of Italy’s most age worthy (and priciest) white wines but this proves they can replicate the magic lower down the price bracket. Beautiful aromas of citrus, white peach and green apple that then explode off the palate. Glorious.

1 – 2019 Louro Godello, Rafael Palacios, Valdeorras @ £18.50 – No surprise with this wine making the top spot. Not only has Rafa produced his finest Louro to date, he’s even dropped the price so it can retail under £20 – what a guy! Subtle aromas of stone fruit, apple and honeysuckle this is drinking beautifully already and it’s just going to get better.


10 – 2018 ‘Zolla’ Salice Salentino, Vigneti del Salento, Puglia, Italy @ £15 – Everything you want from an Italian red – elegance, structure and power. Lovely ripe red cherry on the nose with plum and a hint of sweet spice and Mediterranean herbs. A little tight to begin with, this really opens up after half an hour in the glass and gives total pleasure from then on.

9 – 2018 Alabastro Alentejano, Portugal @ £8.50 – I remember this wowing me back in January at a tasting in a crowded room. Those were the days. Generous, fresh and approachable. Oh… and dangerously drinkable.

8 – 2017 Mencia, Cuatro Pasos, Bierzo, Spain @ £12.25 – I hadn’t quite ‘got’ Mencia until I tasted this. One of the best selling reds of the year and its similarity to a quality Burgundy makes it exceptional value.

7 – 2015 Castillo de Calatrava Tempranillo Reserva DO, La Mancha, Spain @ £8.50 – A recent discovery and a perfect example of the remarkable value Spain offers in the less fashionable regions. Now moved to the 2015 vintage but that’s one of the best vintages of the last ten years. It’s lovely now but if you’ve got the room hide a box of this away for a few years and be rewarded by some lovely mature and smooth red that cost you a song.

6 – 2018 Domaine des Tourelles Vielles Vignes Cinsault, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon @ £16.75 – I’ve stocked the Domaine’s regular red for a couple of years but ‘Zoom’ tasting with the winemaker opened my eyes to their other wines and this is exceptional. From 70 year old vines and flavours of ripe red fruits, fig and savoury spice. If you managed to grab one of the magnums that was on sale for £25 then well done as they have all but sold out with just one magnum remaining – first come first served people!

5 – 2017 Pinot Noir, DHC Vilanyi, Vylyan, Hungary @ £16 – Recently retasted and totally wowed. If you like top drawer Pinot but not the price it can command then this is for you. Lovely ripe red cherry with hints of clove and cinnamon and a silky richness.

4 – 2017 Mas Martinet Menut, Priorat, Catalunya @ 14.25 – It’s always good to taste a new Priorat but when it’s one that tastes this good and is under £15 then it’s very welcome. Packed with ripe, plummy dark fruit and wild spice there is also nice elegance. A real find.

3 – 2016 Cuvée Constance Rouge, Thunevin-Calvet, Côtes du Roussillon @ £13.75 – No hiding the class of this wine. The ripe, red fruit structure of the Grenache, the peppery dark fruit of Syrah and soft elegance from the old vine Carignan are already harmonising like Crosby, Stills & Nash. It was a toss up between this and their more premium red  but this pipped L’Amourette because of its superb value.

2 – 2017 Sea of Dreams, Viña Zorzal, Navarra, Spain @ £14.50 – I won’t forget the silky elegance of this in a hurry. On the nose, clove, black fruit, followed by soft cherry and ripe fruit aromas. The palate is very soft, full-bodied and powerful, with a long, balanced and elegant aftertaste. Now back in stock after selling out in October.

1 – 2018 Nebbiolo d’Alba, Sterma, La Bioca, Piemonte @ £14.50 – Not a new wine to the list but this current vintage arrived in the Spring and it is superb. Black cherry, hints of spice and leather. Excellent grip with soft, silky tannins – it’s a must for any lover of Barolo or Barbaresco. Just starting to reach it’s peak which should last for another two years.

Keep your eyes peeled the the ultimate top 5 wines of the year!

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