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Under a fiver: 1999 Marqués de Monistrol Vintage Cava £3.99 (normally £7.99), Co-op

Under a fiver: 1999 Marqués de Monistrol Vintage Cava £3.99 (normally £7.99), Co-op

This classic, champagne-method vintage fizz, with its fine bead and foaming creamy texture of evolved fruit is just starting to develop some of the savoury characters of true vintage fizz. Delicious as an appetizer; and at this price, it's the people's choice.

Under a tenner: 2002 Waimea Estate Pinot Noir, Nelson. Buy 2 for £8.99 each, Majestic Wine Warehouses

I like the intense loganberry and dark cherryish fruit quality of this pinot noir from Nelson, on the north-western tip of New Zealand's South Island. With oak spice, there's supple texture and substance here. Grab a few to stash away till the grouse season.

Splash out: 2001 Château de Beaucastel, Ch.neuf-du-Pape £35, Majestic Fine Wine, London NW8 (020-7604 3143) and Majestic Wine Warehouses

With low yields and great concentration, this blend of syrah, grenache, mourvèdre, and counoise, is muscular, balanced and full of spicy undertones. Just approachable now, but give it 3-5 years.

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