Mr Vine Tasting Panel #4: the results

Magpie Riesling

It was another eclectic tasting for the panel in June, this time in the private room at 10 Greek Street in Soho (who have an excellent wine list that we couldn’t help but explore after the tasting…) A particularly strong showing from online retailer Wine2Drink this time round, with first place going to a delicious Aussie Riesling; if you’re new to dry Rieslings, it’s a perfect introduction to the style.

First place: Magpie Estate Riesling 2014 (Eden Valley, Australia; 12.5%; £11.00, Wine2Drink)
The impressive result of a partnership between Barossa Valley winemaker Rolf Binder and UK wine merchant Noel Young. Great fruit purity – salt, lime and orange blossom – as well as a flinty character. Long, dry, lean and lip-smackingly fresh; a laser-sharp thirst-quencher. Good value too. It’s even got a beautiful label. 91 points.

Second place: Calusari Pinot Noir 2013 (Viile Timisului, Romania; 12.5%; £7.50, Wine2Drink)
This is made by Cramele Recaş a winery in western Romania now owned by Bristolian Philip Cox. It has classic Pinot Noir character, plenty of ripe redcurrant and earthy cherry fruit. It’s lighter on its feet than many French Pinots at this price, and very easy to drink. An interesting find and a good example of the quality and value currently to be found in Romania. 86 points.

Third place: Mas de Daumas Gassac ‘Réserve de Gassac’ Blanc 2011 (Languedoc, France; 13.0%; £9.75, Wine2Drink)
A blend of 25% Viognier, 25% Chardonnay, 25% Petit Manseng, 15% Chenin Blanc and 10% of various other varieties from one of the Languedoc’s best producers. Aromas of fuzzy white peach and a heavy perfume of white flowers floats from the glass. It has a creamy, lush mouthfeel, impressive purity of fruit and a soft, floral, dry finish. Nicely balanced and refreshingly different. Great value for under a tenner. 89 points.

Fourth place: Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (Marlborough, New Zealand; 13.0%; £16.00, Wine2Drink)
There are so many New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs on the market that these days it’s rare to find one that really stands out. This one however, made by Kevin Judd, former winemaker at Cloudy Bay, is exceptional. There’s vivid asparagus, cut grass, aloe and gooseberry flavour, but it’s not overblown like some of its compatriots. Fragrant, crisp, balanced and incredibly long, this is a very accomplished New Zealand Sauvignon. 89 points.

Fifth place: Domaine Des Cigalounes 2011 (Lirac, France; 15.0%; £11.56, Wineman)
After the two champion Liracs we had last month, here’s another on that hit the spot. A blend of 60% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 15% Mourvèdre, this has plenty of blackberry, hung game and dense black cherry on the nose. It’s loaded with local garrigue (wild herb) character which provides a herbal lift to the ripe, potent fruit. A complete and delicious foodie wine that’s like having several courses all at once. 88 points.

Mr Vine is a free iPhone app that helps you discover and buy the kinds of wine you like from a marketplace consisting of over 1,000 wines across a dozen different independent UK wine shops. Each month, a panel of five drinks experts (Richard Hemming, Helena Nicklin, Nathan Nolan, Zeren Wilson and me) meet up to taste a selection of wines available via the app in order to sniff out some gems. We score the wines out of 100, provide a tasting note and – perhaps most importantly – pick our top five of the night. These won’t necessarily be the highest scoring, just the wines we feel most excited about bringing to your attention.

For more info on the app and how it works, check out