91

2015 Domaine de la Toupie Fine Fleur, Roussillon

( £15.95, 14.5, Joie de Vin )

The Roussillon region, which forms part of France’s border with Spain, is best known for its reds and fortified wines, but can make surprisingly impressive whites, too. Jérôme Collas makes small amounts of this deliciously characterful white blend from a combination of old-vine Grenache Gris, Grenache Blanc and Macabeu, grown at a cool 350 metres. The result is a taut, herbal, savoury white with refreshing acidity, a nutty, salty tang and hints of white flowers and fresh pears. One of number of great Roussillon selections from Joie de Vin.

BuyDrinking window: 2019-23Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, France, White, Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris, Macabeu

The hidden red of the Southern Rhône

by Matt Walls
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge – and her sister, Pippa. Andy Murray – and his brother, Jamie. Beyoncé Knowles – and her sister, Solange. Having a more famous brother or sister...

Things are hotting up in Burgundy

by Tim Atkin
Another year, another sale in Burgundy. Twelve months ago, it was Clos de Tart, bought by François Pinault’s Artémis Group for €280m; now it’s Domaine Henri Rabourseau, in which the...

Undeniable class

by Matt Walls
Imagine trying to buy a bottle of Burgundy if appellations didn’t exist. You’d have the producer, the vintage, maybe a brand name. But with no agreed village boundaries, let alone...
93

2015 Boutinot Les Six, Cairanne, Rhône Valley

( £12.99, 14.5%, D. Byrne )

Made with six different varieties – nothing compared with Châteuneuf-du-Pape’s 14, but still quite a large number – this is a superb, modern, Grenache-dominated Cairanne, which carries its comparatlvely high alcohol lightly, thanks to the structure and acidity of the 2015 vintage. Spicy tapenade and wild herb aromas segue into a smooth, deftly oaked palate with very fine tannins and a core of sweet, tarry blackberry and blueberry fruit. Outstanding value. 

BuyDrinking window: 2017-22Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, France, Red, Carignan, Cinsault, Counoise, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah/Shiraz

Capital ventures

by Matt Walls
When London’s first urban winery opened in 2013, I was cynical. But London Cru is still going strong, having since won multiple awards for its wines and gained listings in...

The perfect 8/10 vintage

by Matt Walls
Last week I opened a bottle of 2010 Bordeaux. Nothing fancy – Château La Tour de By, a reliable Cru Bourgeois from the Médoc. Nope; still not ready. It hardly...

Floral testimony

by Matt Walls
In the car park on my street there is a rose bush. Every so often when walking past I pause to cup one of the red flowers in my hand,...
89

2015 Domaine des Garennes Le Brossay, Saumur, Loire Valley

( €4.80, 12.5, Contact the winery for details )

A youthful, easy-drinking, well-priced Cabernet Franc grown on clay and limestone soils on the Champ de Liveau plateau, this is grassy and refreshing with supple tannins, plenty of the perfume that’s typical of the variety and a twist of graphite. Very attractive at the price.

BuyDrinking window: 2017-20Similar Wines: Under £5, 86-90, France, Red, Cabernet Franc
90

2014 Domaine des Garennes Empreinte Blanc, Saumur, Loire Valley

( €10, 13, Contact the winery for details )

Youthful, pithy and still quite tight, this barrel-fermented Chenin needs more time in bottle to show what it’s really capable of. Apple, citrus and pear flavours are complemented by stony minerality, some vanilla spice and a tangy, focused finish.

BuyDrinking window: 2017-20Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, France, White, Chenin Blanc
92

NV Les Pionniers, Champagne

( £16.99, 12, The Co-operative )

With the way the pound is behaving at the moment, it’s impressive that the Co-op can keep the price of this stunning frizz from Piper Heidsieck under £17. It’s a classy, toasty, mouth-filling bubbly with creamy bubbles, based on the red grapes, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, but with 20% Chardonnay providing a citrus-edged tang of acidity. The best value Champagne in the country.

BuyDrinking window: 2017-21Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, France, Sparkling, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay