100 Incredible wines selected for pure quality and value by our Masters of Wine. Find here all our latest blog releases. Explore our products, try new recipes and discover the weird and wonderful world of wine
“A delightful Champagne, fresh and harmonious, offering peach, lemon cake, tobacco and toast notes. It’s vibrant and elegant, with a lingering, chalky finish.” Bruce Sanderson, The Wine Spectator
[caption id="attachment_24796" width="185"] Ayala Brut Millésimé[/caption]
2006 Ayala Brut Millésimé, Champagne, France (with gift box)
Ayala was one of the original eighteen “Grandes Marques’ Champagne houses and has a unique history. It dates back to 1860 when Edmond de Ayala received the magnificent Château as the dowry for his wedding. Edmond’s brother Fernand then settled in London in order to build sales. He became a close friend of the Prince of Wales, who enjoyed Champagne but found it too sweet. So Ayala released its special “drier”1865 vintage especially for the Prince, thus creating the modern era of “dry Champagne."
Situated in the heart of the Marne district of Champagne, in the famous Grand Cru village of Aÿ. Ayala was acquired by near neighbour Bollinger in 2005, whose investments in the vineyards and winery are now bearing fruit in the Champagnes of Ayala, confirming their place as one of the leading producers today. Aÿ is the capital of Pinot Noir and this noble grape is always central, thus ensuring the wine's vinosity.
Millésimé compliments a variety of dishes such as chicken, game birds, grilled fish and particularly hard cheeses such as Comté and Parmesan.
£50 per bottle
"Blindingly good cool climate Syrah from one of Chile’s most acclaimed producers. What makes this wine so special? Well, there’s the exquisitely poised and prolific blackberry fruit, superbly seasoned with a touch of spearmint and a well judged twist of black pepper and savoury cigarbox. And don’t overlook the lush, granular tannins and energising acidity. Gorgeous." John Stimpfig, Decanter Magazine2014 Casas del Bosque Syrah Pequeñas Producciones, Casablanca, Chile
Casas del Bosque was founded in 1993 by Juan Cuneo Solari and was one of the first wineries in the Casablanca Valley. Today it is still owned and managed by the same family - and they have acquired around 245 hectares of vines in Santa Rosa district, on the west side of the Casablanca Valley. Plantings include Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Carmenère and Pinot Noir - all drip irrigated from subterranean wells.
The Casas del Bosque philosophy is based on the constant search for excellence, aligned to the finest expression of each grape variety’s character and sense of place. Winemaker Grant Phelps is a Kiwi by birth but has been in charge at Casas del Bosque for over 13 years, following project spells in Oregon, California, Loire Valley, Australia and Argentina! He is rightly considered as one of the leading winemakers in the country, which with four listings at WineTrust we would happily endorse.
Casablanca Valley, close to the Pacific coast, was Chile's first genuine 'cool climate' area, heralding a new wave of fresh, lively, modern styles, particularly Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Single vineyard selection planted between 1993 and 2008 on the eastern side of Casablanca Valley at an altitude of nearly 800 feet.
Great with smoked cheeses, lamb, pork and red meats in general.
Casas del Bosque has twice been awarded the Chilean producer of the year by IWSC, in 2013 and 2014.
£20 per bottle
This historic family estate can be traced all the way back to the 12th century; vineyards and cellar facilities then owned by a Benedictine Abbey were administrated by a man named Moser – a certified ancestor.
In more recent times, the name is perhaps more famously associated with Dr. Lenz Moser, a renowned viticulturist who developed the high training system for vines in the 1950s. Sepp Moser founded the modern-day estate in 1987 and having passed on responsibility to his son, Nikolaus, continues a long family legacy.
Neusiedlersee is highly regarded for the production of Zweigelt grapes. A stone’s throw away from Hungary, breezes provide warmth from the hot Pannonian Plain to the east and this warming influence allows varieties such as Zweigelt to thrive, producing bright, intense and fruity wines.
Vineyards are farmed organically and biodynamically with grapes harvested by hand.
£9.95 per bottle
Let's face it. When you're tired after a long day, the best short-cut dinner is pasta with some kind of sauce.
This is the go-to easy meal in our household for filling up tummies. When my daughter was a toddler, she stayed with my parents for a weekend and they reported that she asked for 'red' dinner or 'green' dinner - it was either tomato sauce or pesto sauce. This slightly puts me to shame in terms of variety of home cooking... But then most chefs live on hummus.
The chef in me recommends that people make their own sauces from scratch. It takes scarcely any more time than a jarred sauce (it can take the same amount of time as the pasta to cook) and tastes so much better. I've made tomato sauce so many times that I can make 'red' pasta with my eyes shut.
At the very least, you must pimp the ready-made ones, so often bland and sweet, by adding a few fresh tomatoes and a minced clove of garlic or, in the case of pesto, some olive oil, extra pine nuts and shavings of Parmesan.
If you can't even be bothered to do that, there are even easier options: crème fraîche and smoked salmon; grated cheese; or simply butter.
That's the great thing about pasta - you can cater to your precise levels of laziness.
Like pizza, the wine matching refers to the sauce not the pasta, which is merely the carrier for the sauce. But please use good pasta, not quick cook.
I categorise pasta sauces into five families, each of which requires a different wine matching:
1) Tomato - includes napoletana, bolognese, amatriciana, puttanesca and arabiata
2) Creamy - includes smoked salmon with crème fraîche, macaroni cheese, cacio e pepe, alfredo
3) Herby - includes pesto and greens such as orecchiette with cime de rapa
4) Fishy - includes vongole, tuna
1) Tomato sauces:
The basic tomato sauce, often referred to as Napolitana or Marinara, is so simple. But it is amenable to many variations - I can't think of a single ingredient that wouldn't work in a tomato sauce. From bolognese and pasta alla norma to puttanesca and amatriciana, tomatoes are slightly acidic and require a full-bodied red to really complement their flavour. My wine suggestions include my favourite 'Primitivo', the Italian classic wines such as Valpolicella and Chianti.
Probably my favourite wine on the winetrust site, Primitivo is a southern Italian grape with high sugars and a wild berry flavour. Try this prize-winning Primitivo di Manduria Riserva 62 - a little bit pricey at £25 but you won't regret it.
This Talo Primitivo di manduria DOC cantine San Marzano is half the price at £12.95, but delivers dark fruits and boldness. It's even named after one of Italy's best tomatoes, the one that all the chefs use in their 'sumo', San Marzano. What grows together, goes together.
Beloved of all Italian trattorias, a Chianti (in a straw bottle) is a classic with any tomato-based sauce. Winetrust stock a mid-priced Fontodi Chianti Classico for £20 made from 100% Sangiovese, Italy's most popular grape.
If you want to really splash out on the Sangiovese grape, get the £95 bottle of Brunello di Montalcino Riserva San Polo. I haven't tried it. Winetrust have so far declined to send it to me for 'tasting' (sob). It's reported to be really special. I can't think of a better meal than to drink this Brunello with a simple tomato, garlic and olive oil sauced spaghetti, using the very best tomatoes Sapori di Corbara (£6 a jar) and the best pasta such as Pastificio dei Campi or De Cecco. In fact, I think that would be my death row meal.
A valpolicella, using the Corvino grape, is a bit lighter than Primitivo or Chianti unless it is double fermented such as the Torre d'Orti Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso, £15 which adds extra depth and punch.
I'm growing to love Portuguese wines and I feel this Alianca Bairrada Reserva Tinto at only £7.50 would also do the trick with a tomato-based sauce.
2) Cheesy or creamy sauces
There is a huge range of dairy-based sauces, from alfredo (which authentically uses egg rather than cream to bind) to a full-on stretchy baked macaroni cheese.
The Italians are quite fussy about the combination of cheese with fish - god forbid you grate parmesan onto vongole - but I like to do a simple crème fraîche and smoked salmon sauce, which takes seconds to put together. You cook the pasta, mix the smoked salmon with a pot of crème fraîche, add a little salt and pepper, then combine with the hot pasta.
In general, white or sparkling white matches with creamy sauces. Here are a few suggestions:
Prosecco such as Prosecco Spumante Extra Dry Vallate at £10.95.
The idea of buying Pinot Grigio normally makes me groan but the Winetrust choice is, as our wine master Nick Adams describes it, a 'grown-up' Pinot Grigio, Ponte del Diavolo at £8.95. This would also match with fishy sauces.
For cheesy sauces such as the currently fashionable Roman 'cacio e pepe' (cheese and pepper) I'd recommend Sangiovese Terre di Chieti. http://winetrust100.co.uk/shop/farnese-fantini-sangiovese-igt-terre-di-chieti/
A quick idea for a sauce is my 'egg and cress' pasta, below.
Egg and cress pasta recipe
500g pack of good quality dried spaghetti (De Cecco for instance)
300ml tub of full fat creme fraiche
80g jar of red lumpfish roe or salmon roe
1 punnet of cress, snipped
100g of finely grated cheese (optional)
Freshly ground pepper (white or black)
Prepare a large saucepan of boiling salty water over a high heat. Put the spaghetti in and cook for a minute less than the specified cooking time. (Pasta continues to cook during the draining process.)
As soon as the pasta is cooked, drain it, put in back in the still warm pan and tip in the full fat crème fraîche mixing it (do this quickly while the pasta is very hot). Then add the roe, tossing the pasta in the sauce. Add the cheese if you desire.
Serve into bowls and sprinkle with the cress and the pepper.
Match with minerally white Italian wine Gave di Gavi 'Montessora' La Guistiniana, £22.
3) Herby/green sauces
The most famous green sauce is pesto, particularly from Genova in the north. The authentic way to eat this is with green beans and small potatoes. Potatoes on pasta! Double carbing! I hear the cries of horror throughout the land. But it works, believe me. Other green sauces include the Puglian orecchiette with cime de rapa, turnip tops, a kind of sprouting broccoli or say butter and asparagus.
My wine suggestions for 'green' sauces:
Spend £7.50 on a Alpha Zeta 'G' Garganegaalso known as Soave.
At £10.95, the fruity zesty New Zealand Lawsons Dry Hills Sauvignon Blanc goes beautifully with asparagus or broccoli.
Lovers of Australian wine would appreciate this Brookland Valley Verse 1 Margaret River Semillon Sauvignon Blanc ('Sem/Sauv' wine, buffs call it) for £11.95. Perfect with pesto.
4) Seafood/fishy sauces
When I visit Italy I order spaghetti vongole at least once a day. I can't get enough of it. It comes in two varieties: red or white, rosso or bianci. My preferred version is 'bianci' with plenty of garlic, white wine and parsley. The liquor at the bottom of the bowl can be mopped up with bread.
What would I drink with spag vong?
Chardonnay from South Africa, £23. That whole ABC thing (Anything But Chardonnay) - pfft! I like an oaky Chard and I don't care who knows it.
If you like red and are willing to consider it with seafood, try Winetrust's Fontaleoni Vernaccia Di San Gimignano at £11.95.Below is another quick fishy sauce to add to your repertoire. Bottarga is compressed tuna or grey mullet, which you can thinly slice or shave over pasta. This intensely flavoured and rather addictive umami booster is not cheap, but a little goes a long way.
Below is another quick fishy sauce to add to your repertoire. Bottarga is compressed tuna or grey mullet, which you can thinly slice or shave over pasta. This intensely flavoured and rather addictive umami booster is not cheap, but a little goes a long way.
Bottarga, chilli, pea shoots and lemon zest pasta recipe
Serves 2 to 4
500g spaghetti (11 mins cooking time)
Sea salt for water
100ml olive oil
1 lemon, zested
1tbsp of chilli flakes (pepperoncino if you have it)
45g bottarga, finely grated
50g pea shoots (available at Waitrose and Sainsbury's)
Cook the pasta in boiling salty water for a minute or two less than packet time.
Strain and sling it back in the hot pan, toss in the oil.
Grate in the lemon zest (taking care not to touch the white bitter part).
Dish it up and grate on the bottarga, scatter some chilli flakes, dot around the pea shoots.
I recommend trying a Primitivo rosé with it, such as Tramari Rose di Primitivo Salento IGP Cantina San Marzano at £11.95.
5) Mushroom/truffle sauces
Another easy peasy pasta sauce is using a little truffle paste or oil with olive oil or butter and stirring it through hot pasta strands. A cheaper version is frying up mushrooms with white wine, a little salt, some sage/rosemary/bay, maybe a squeeze of lemon to finish. What wines stand up to deep foresty mossy almost musty flavours?
A light red such as Pinot Noir is a good choice, e.g. New Zealand Pinot Noir stocked by Winetrust, £20.
Alternatively, one of Italy's most popular red wine grapes such as Barbera would work well: Barbera D'Asti San Nicolao from Piedmont at £9.75.
What do you drink with pasta? Do you have any great ideas for quick-as-a-flash, low-effort pasta sauces?
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"The best Torrontés we have tasted. Platinum-Best in Show winner at Decanter Wine World Awards 2017" Amalaya, Torrontés-Riesling
Argentina's white speciality is Torrontés, here with a touch of Riesling. Perfumed (rather like a Muscat), full of fruit and yet dry and appetising. It's an exquisite representation of the unique weather and soil conditions in Argentina's Northern Calchaqui Valley.
Amalaya translates to 'Hope for a Miracle' in the indigenous language of the now extinct tribe, the Calchaqui. The Calchaqui Valley of Salta in the far north of Argentina is the highest wine region in the world. The altitude ensures cool nights which are vital for keeping the wines fresh. The soils here are rocky, poor and sandy so the roots of the vines are forced to dig deep to find the vital nutrients and water they need which in turn results in a huge concentration of flavour within the grapes.
Intense gold in colour with tints of green, this wine is delicate and silky on the palate with great freshness. As so often with aromatic whites, this makes a great aperitif or an ideal partner for gently spicy dishes (crab and chilli linguini, devilled whitebait, spiced prawns).
£9.95 per bottle
" An outstanding wine of exceptional value, recently voted Best New World Cabernet Sauvignon under £40 by Decanter magazine. "2014 Berton Reserve Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon, Berton Vineyards
Sourced from the prized Terra Rossa region of Coonawarra. The warm days are moderated by off-shore breezes and the rich red loam over free draining limestone soils are the foundations for the Coonawarra's justified reputation for producing premium quality Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.
Brimming with crushed blackcurrant and blackberry fruit flavours enhaced by subtle eucalyptus and mint notes characteristic of this region, this red is a great accompaniment to a filet mignon or roast lamb with herb roasted vegetables.
£13.95 per bottle
" A gorgeous perfumed nose of rose petals, musk and barley sugar with preserved ginger. The palate is rich and super intense with fresh mint, creamy brulée flavours and a hint of nut." 96 points, Decanter 2017 WorldWine Awards 2013 Vin de Constance, Klein Constantia
The history of this famous wine goes back over 300 years. So revered was it that the Kings of and Queens of England and France sent out emissaries to fetch it. Napoleon drank it in exile on St Helena; both Charles Dickens and Jane Austen referred to it in their novels.
However, at the end of the 19th Century a virulent pest and disease wiped out the vineyards and this superb wine tragically disappeared. However, in the 1980s the estate of Klein Constantia, on whose land the originalwine had been made, started the renaissance of Vin de Constance – and to the recipe from centuries before. And what a recipe!
Made from old vine Muscat, the grapes are deliberately left on the vine for an extended period until they shrivel and desiccate, and are incredibly sweet. Meticulously hand harvested, the berries are crushed and skins are left in contact with the juice for up to 10 days, which extracts all the powerful aromatic elements of this variety. After a long, slow fermentation – incredibly lasting for up to a year on occasions – the wine is aged in large French and Hungarian oak casks (of which 60% are new) for up to 5 further years.
True to its heritage Klein Constantia package it in the original shaped bottle from 300 years ago. Made in very small quantities and always sold on allocation, this wine stands shoulder to shoulder with any of the other great sweet wines of the world, but at a significantly more attractive price!
Golden in colour, with an exuberant nose of orange peel, soft spice honeysuckle and elderflower. The palate is unbelievably rich, yet delicate and balanced – pure Seville orange marmalade with notes of raisin and vanilla. Coats the mouth - with a long, long honeyed finish. Totally intoxicating and seductive.
Drink this on its own after dinner, but would be wonderful with a classic tarte tatin. Also works well with aged and full bodied white cheeses
£48 ( 50 cl bottle)
" A forward and expressive peachy fruit style from near neighbour to Pouilly Fuissé. Gentle oak, soft and creamy with plenty body and texture."
2015 Saint-Véran, Terres Noires, Domaine des Deux Roches
Saint-Véran is a village in the heart of the Mâconnais, which lies between the escarpments of Solutré and Vergisson. Its vineyards are among the few in Burgundy with a south/south-easterly aspect, which exposes the vines to maximum sunlight and warmth. ‘Terres Noires’ is a single vineyard on the south-side of the landmark rock of Solutré, with limestone mixed with a black decomposed rock; exposure to sunshine and winds that help to moderate temperatures, aiding the ripening process.
Produced by Jean-Luc Terrier and Christian Collovray, this wine is translucent gold in colour with a beautifully balanced aroma of fruits and flowers. It displays notes of apples and lemons with floral hints, while a mineral character compliments its fruitiness on the palate.
We recommend pairing with oily fish or seafood due its minerality. Its citrus flavours make it ideal for white meat, such as veal or poultry, accompanied by cream sauces, as well as creamy seafood and mushroom risottos. This wine also lends itself beautifully to various cheeses, including Comté, Gruyere and goat’s cheese.
A medium-bodied Bordeaux showing concentrated fruit aromas backed by delicate woody notes. Nicely balanced, velvety and powerful.2010 Chateau Lestrille Capmartin, Bordeaux Superiore
At Château Lestrille, Estelle Roumage makes modern, fruit-driven wines. They use sustainable winegrowing practices to respect the balance of the soil as they believe the essence of winemaking lies in the vineyard itself. They vinify each plot on their 40 hectare property seperately with tailor-made precision. The Château is located at the northern point of the Entre-deux-Mers appellation in the small town of St. Germain du Puch between Libourne and Bordeaux.
A blend of 81% Merlot and 19% Cabernet Sauvignon, deep in colour with earthy, chunky and concentrated fruit and complementing toasty oak flavours, this is an excellent value for money red Bordeaux, delicious with roasted red meats, pan fried steak or duck.
£15.50 per bottle
Time honoured traditions, passion and sensibility and contemporary techniques come together to produce wines with distinctive varietal and regional character
2015 Il Pumo, Sauvignon Malvasia, Cantine San Marzano, Puglia, Italy
Cantine San Marzano was founded in 1962 when 19 long established families came together to pool their resources and expertise. Since then members have grown to over 1200 and the focus remains solidly on quality aligned to authenticity – promoting both the individuality of local grapes and regions. Under the stewardship of winemaker Caterina Bellanova their wines are now broadly acknowledged as some of the finest in the region – duly receiving multiple awards at international competitions.
The vineyard sits at approximately 100 metres above sea level and benefits from great diurnal temperature variations, which are ideal for promoting an extended ripening period for the vines and concentrating the flavours in the berries. The vines are grown in soft soils, that are thin with a fine texture and good drainage. The harvest takes place during the second and third weeks of August.
Excellent with starters and fish soup, fresh cheese and pasta with light sauces.
£8.50 per bottle