Food & Drink

10 ‘wines of the year’ to snap up now

Celebrate the year end with these superb still and sparkling wines, says Sam Wylie-Harris.

These are the best wines of 2023
Wine glasses with gold and red confetti These are the best wines of 2023 (Svetlana_Cherruty / Alamy Stock /Alamy Stock Photo)

Some wines come and go, then there are the wines which leave a lasting impression… those delicious drops you want to drink again and again.

Whether it’s a good time wine, a fizz you should always have in your fridge, or a bottle you save for best – looking back on 2023, these are the labels we’ve singled out to have on hold for a rainy day…

1. Domaine Paul Mas ‘Côté Mas’ 2021 Languedoc Blanc, Southern France, £9.99, Majestic

Domaine Paul Mas ‘Cote Mas’ 2021 Languedoc Blanc, South of France, Majestic

Famous Languedoc producer Jean-Claude Mas packs a lot of bright, refreshing fruitiness into this fragrant white. Deftly blended from local varieties, a splash of viognier lends ripe, stone-fruit flavours of peach and apricot with hint of spice on the finish. Perfect with rotisserie style chicken – and lots of banter!

2. Smith & Sheth CRU Sauvignon Blanc 2021, Marlborough, New Zealand, £10 (was £12.50) , Lay & Wheeler

(Smith & Sheth)
Smith & Sheth CRU Sauvignon Blanc 2021, Marlborough, New Zealand, Lay & Wheeler (Smith & Sheth)

Gently aromatic with a caressing mouthfeel, this is an elegant style showing great purity. Notes of soft guava, nettles, grass and lime, with a ripe mix of citrus and tropical fruit flavours unfold on the palate, embellished with a touch of blackcurrant leaf in the background. A gorgeous glass.

3. Adnams South African Stellenbosch Chenin Blanc 2020, South Africa, £13.99, Adnams

Adnams South African Stellenbosch Chenin Blanc 2020, South Africa, Adnams

A cracking chenin blanc and star match with gourmet fish pie or pan-fried scallops, this own label offers a wealth of honeyed stone fruits. Rounded and full bodied with floral accents to the apple pastry and peach flavours, hints of honey feature on the long, refreshing finish. An added bonus, it’s been awarded 92 points by Decanter.

4. Baron de Ley Rosado de Lágrima Rioja 2022, Spain, £10.50, Asda

Baron de Ley Rosado de Lagrima Rioja 2022, Spain, Asda

A Spanish rosé which speaks with a French accent, this dry, pale rosado is styled on a Provençal pink – veneered with some Spanish flair – as you would expect from this well-known producer from the Rioja wine region. It’s mouth-watering and fresh, with attractive strawberry and red fruits on the nose. It has similar flavours flowing, which linger on the pure palate and are supported by balanced acidity. Bring on the tapas party.

5. Whispering Angel Rosé 2022, Côtes de Provence, France, £20, Laithwaites

Whispering Angel Rose 2022, Cote de Provence, France, Majestic

In a word: ethereal. This blushing beauty may be the poster girl for Provençal pinks, and it is the standard-bearer that nails it every time. Perhaps it’s the exquisite bouquet of summer fruits with hints of rose petals, or flavours of fleshy white peach which unfold on the rounded palate. Whichever way you look at it, the silky long finish feels pure, fluid and softly refreshing.

6. Finest Prosecco Valdobbiadene Brut DOCG, Italy, £9.50, Tesco

Finest Prosecco Valdobbiadene Brut DOCG, Italy, Tesco

A Finest favourite which made a huge impression with the judges at the International Wine Challenge, and awarded an IWSC Silver, this prize pick from the famous Valdobbiadene region – mecca for best prosecco producers – delivers every time. Wonderfully fresh, expect enticing notes and flavours of peach blossom and ripe pear, with a lively, vivacious finish.

7. Balfour Brut Rosé 2018, Kent, £45, Balfour Winery

Balfour Brut Rose 2018, Kent, Balfour Winery

Balfour prides itself on its sparkling rosé, and this pukka pink reflects the bumper vintage, following a summer heatwave – an exciting combination of complexity, depth and freshness. Aromatic and herbaceous with hints of cranberry and good intensity of savoury red fruits, notes of undergrowth, fine acidity and long, lingering, dry finish, it’s very good.

8. Morrisons The Best Negroamaro 2021, Puglia, Italy, £8.50, Morrisons

Morrisons The Best Negroamaro 2021, Puglia, Italy, Morrisons

With an IWC (International Wine Challenge) medal under its belt, you know you’re on to a winner. Brimming with sun-kissed blackcurrant fruits galore and offering ready-to-drink goodness in a glass, wild berry flavours meld seamlessly with sweet plummy fruits. Your new go-to with tomato-based pasta dishes.

9. Bodega Norton Malbec Reserve 2021, Mendoza, Argentina, £10 (was £15.99), now until Jan 1 2024, Waitrose

Bodega Norton Malbec Reserve 2021, Mendoza, Argentina, Waitrose

This super-delicious malbec comes from well-known producer Norton, and is a gorgeous example of how Argentina’s signature grape welcomes you with open arms – and it’s hard to resist its full-bodied charms. With an appealing violet bouquet, this one cloaks the palate with velvety smooth blackberry and blueberry fruits, touches of sweet spice, lavender, smooth tannins and a plush, persistent finish.

10. Petaluma ‘White Label’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2019, Australia, £19.99, Majestic

Petaluma ‘White Label’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2019, Coonawarra, Australia, Majestic

A super-stylish cabernet, which cushions you as it draws you in – fragrant aromas of cassis, black cherry, oak, eucalyptus and mint offer a wonderful fruit character. It’s suave and polished with a freshness on the silky finish. Similar to a fine Bordeaux, the wine evolves in the glass with a beguiling depth of flavour.