ALISTAIR GIBSON: Australian chardonnay has gone through a transformation

Ram�n Bilbao Vi�edos de Altura�2014, Rioja
Ram�n Bilbao Vi�edos de Altura�2014, Rioja
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If by any chance my three children are reading this, it’s Father’s Day this weekend.

And just in case you are stuck for a gift, here are two wines – one red, one white.

Either of them would do very nicely, thank-you!

It may not be fashionable but chardonnay is still one of my favourite grapes.

It’s one of those grapes that, if I may misquote: ‘When it’s good it can be brilliant, but when it’s bad it can be really bad.’

Australian chardonnay has gone through something of a transformation in the past decade.

Gone are many of those big, yellow, blousy wines, to be replaced by more elegant, finer structured wines from cooler vineyard regions.

Vasse Felix ‘Filius’ Chardonnay 2015, Margaret River (Waitrose on offer £9.99 from £12.99 until July 11) is, to my mind, one of the best value chardonnays produced anywhere. On offer, it’s one of this year’s bargains.

It has been aged for nine months in French oak but the oak is there to balance the wine, not overwhelm it.

This is very pure with citrus, apple and vanilla on the nose and a gorgeous, elegant, textured palate.

Decent white Burgundy at this price level really doesn’t exist.

Ramón Bilbao Viñedos de Altura 2014, Rioja (greatwesternwine.co.uk £13.95) is very much a modern-style Rioja, a blend of 50 per cent tempranillo and 50 garnacha from relatively high altitude Rioja vineyards.

Aged in new French Oak for 14 months, this is full of juicy red and black fruits, with spices and some dried herbs, followed by more dark fruits and silky tannins.

A lovely glass of red wine to match with tomato-based spicy pasta dishes.

n Alistair Gibson is proprietor of Hermitage Cellars, Emsworth. Call (01243) 431002 or e-mail alistair@hermitagecellars.co.uk.