2017 Azienda Agricola La Battistina Gavi PIEMONTE, ITALY

My annual holiday found us at Il Cascinone in the middle of Piemonte. This vineyard (still with the same owners) we had great difficulty finding but we were well rewarded with the quality of the wines there. The quantity of fruit the vines produced was astonishing. We were lucky enough to see the big golden bunches of grapes hanging there in the sunshine just waiting for the harvest. Aromatic, zesty nose with apple and lime notes. The wine is juicy, and gently nutty with attractive mineral characters, textured weighty fruit and a zippy, citrusy, mouth-watering feel, creating a refreshing, yet satisfying finish. Robust and creamy on the palate with good acidity.

2017 Waterkloof Seriously Cool Chenin Blanc, STELLENBOSCH, SOUTH AFRICA

This year's big adventure was to South Africa. The following day I went paragliding, we went to Paul Boutinot’s vineyard in Stellenbosch. This totally organic vineyard produces seriously good wine! After tasting the full portfolio, we were treated to a fabulous twelve course lunch in his award winning restaurant. 2017 Waterkloof Seriously Cool Chenin Blanc, STELLENBOSCH, SOUTH AFRICA This elegant wine displays aromas of stone fruit, white flowers and a hint of honey. Because of the longer alcoholic fermentation the flavours are well integrated on the palate and ends with a crisp acidity.

 2013 Bodega Classica Hacienda Lopez de Haro Reserva RIOJA, SPAIN

Our first break of the year found us for a short stay in Valencia. Whilst enjoying lunch on the first day we came across this wine. A great start to the holiday! Bright violet in colour. Primary aromas of ripe fruit, complex and spicy notes with a hint of vanilla. The palate is balanced, round and unctuous with sweet, ripe tannins and a long after-taste. Soft, expressive and elegant, well balanced with some character.

2016 Azienda Agricola Il Cascinone Rive Barbera d’Asti Superiore, PIEMONTE, ITALY

While in Piemonte we lent a hand, only in a small way, doing a lot of blending and we made a Barbera Superiore. Fingers crossed after the wine is finished it will be our future Red Wine of the Year. A deep garnet hued Barbera with vibrant aromas of black cherries and prunes with chocolate and toasty oak undertones and hints of dried fennel. An abundance of vibrant redcurrants, black cherries and a touch of spice show through on the palate, which has a rich, voluptuous texture balancing taught acidity and fine oak tannins.

2015 Zorgvliet Petit Verdot, STELLENBOSCH, SOUTH AFRICA

During my trip to South Africa we spent the afternoon with Bernard Le Roux, a young and very talented wine maker, in the cellars at Zorgvliet. His great passion is Bordeaux style wines vinified separately from six site-specific single vineyards and then blended. Occasionally a wine stands out which is then left as a single varietal. This is well proven as this wine became one of the top 100 wines in South Africa. An unusual single varietal defined by its cool mountain provenance. Elegant and well-balanced it has a wonderfully spiced fruit nose with dark plum and prune fruit on the palate and a full but fine tannic structure.

2004 Krohn Colheita, DOURO, PORTUGAL

Perfect for a cosy night by the fire or for after your Christmas meal. A classic Krohn Colheita, smooth, complex and deliciously nutty! Some well-timed August rains softened the skins nicely allowing good colour extraction – the result is an appealing Colheita with rich and spicy fruit cake aromas. On the palate there are ripe plum and fig characters with dried fruit and brown spice, giving a full and balanced Port with great length.

£72 if collected from the shop, £82 if delivered to any address in the UK. Free delivery within a 30 mile radius.