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A thrilling sem-sauv blend

2018 Aristea sauvignon blanc/semillon, Elgin, South, Africa

£25.95, reduced to £23 on offer until 31 December, Private Cellar, 01353-721999, privatecellar.co.uk

I love the Aristea wines and the new releases are the finest to date. Owner Martin Krajewski encouraged his winemaker Matt Krone to reach for the stars while putting these wines together and this year the 2018 chardonnay (with an offer price of £25 per bottle and £50 per magnum) is a suitably flamboyant creation, while the 2017 cabernet (on offer at £27 per bottle and £54 per magnum) is focused, noble, relatively forward and stunningly balanced.

My featured wine is the pick of the bunch. I am a committed fan of the top-flight sem/sauv blends from Bordeaux – after all, white Graves wines are some of the most complex and age-worthy in the world. Aristea takes this ultra-sophisticated model and modernises its recipe, leading with racy Elgin sauvignon blanc and augmenting it with lusty, lime pith-smooched semillon. A 75/25 blend is treated to one year of maturation in 500-litre format French oak. This serves to polish the wine, lending it an imperceptible sheen of nougat and blanched almond sophistication.

The result is a wine which can, on the one hand, be drunk as a keen, citrus-imbued, classy aperitif and on the other a fully fledged main-course, fish-dish stunner. The tightrope walk between lush fruit and dramatic acidity is achieved with rare precision in this wine. I cannot recommend it enough. It takes a much-admired recipe and gives it a thrilling makeover to bring it bang up to date.

Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (matthewjukes.com)

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