93

2021 Arbousset Tavel Rosé, Rhône

( £12.99, 13.5%, Tesco )

It’s not often that I get excited about a rosé – too many of them are like pale pink spots on a pink wall – but this is the real deal from the south of France. Made by Julie Rouffignac and Gérald Lafont, it’s an intense, deeply coloured number with lots of flavour and concentration to match. Structured and intense, Arbousset is almost a red wine, made from a harmonious cuvée of mostly Grenache with 20% each of Syrah and Cinsault. Juicy redcurrant, strawberry and red cherry fruit is complemented by a nip of savoury tannin.

BuyDrinking window: 2022-24Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, France, Red, Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah

A Bag Of Tricks

by Margaret Rand
You can always rely on Olivier Bernard for a good quote. Olivier is the chatelain of Domaine de Chevalier, on which you can always rely for a good wine, and...
92

2021 Domaine Maby La Fermade Blanc, Lirac, Rhône

( £11.95, 12.5%, Wine Society )

Varietal whites are so popular these days – all those Pinot Grigios, Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs – that it’s easy to overlook the charms of blended ones, especially when they’re made from an unusual combination of grapes. This wonderful, unoaked Rhône Valley example from Domaine May combines Clairette with 35% Grenache Blanc and 25% Picpoul and is engagingly fresh, stony and tangy, with citrus, quince and wild herb flavours and lovely mid-palate weight.

BuyDrinking window: 2022-26Similar Wines: £11.95, 90-94, France, White, Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Picpoul

An Easy Ride?

by Tom Hewson
You’re standing in the wine shop, a crisp £50 in your pocket. No agenda, just prospecting for something serious. To the right, the shelf which ought to be labelled ‘good...

The Myth Of Aristocracy

by Harry Eyres
I have not yet been to the cinema to see the latest despatch from that castellated stately home where half the inhabitants speak in a strange strangulated drawl and wear...
92

NV Fournier Père et Fils Patient Cottat Anciennes Vignes Pouilly-Fumé, Pouilly-Fumé, Loire Valley

( £15, 13%, Tesco )

People who work in wine tend to be a bit sniffy about Sauvignon Blanc, partly because they’re tired of tasting bland examples from all over the world. But when the variety is good, it can be truly magnificent. This unwooded, non-vintage example from the excellent Fournier Père et Fils winery is flinty, focused and tangy with wet stone and nettle aromas,  lemon zest and grapefruit flavours and a thrillingly bone-dry finish.

BuyDrinking window: 2022-25Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, France, White, Sauvignon Blanc
93

2020 Laurent Miquel La Vérité, IGP Pays d'Oc, Occitanie

( £17.99, 14.5%, Waitrose )

Every bit as good as the much more vaunted (and expensive) wines of Condrieu in the northern Rhône, this is an appealingly rich, scented, heady Viognier from the Languedoc that still manages to keep its feet on the ground. Peach, citrus and honeysuckle notes are framed by nuanced, spicy oak and supported by acidity. Exotic, palate-coating stuff.

BuyDrinking window: 2022-26Similar Wines: £15-20, 90-94, France, White, Viognier
93

2021 Domaine Laurens Comme Un Dimanche Sous Un Cerisier, IGP Aveyron, Occitanie

( £12.50, 11%, Joie de Vin )

My discovery of the day at a recent Sud de France tasting in London, this perfumed, lip smacking wine is made by brothers Eric, Pascal and Vincent Laurens in Clairvaux d’Aveyron, near Marcillac. Produced without added sulphur from the local Mansois grape (also known in these parts as Fer Servadou), it’s smooth, bouncy and unwooded, with lots of colour, racy acidity, refreshingly low alcohol and a core of violet and black cherry. Utterly delicious. And if you quote the code ATKIN10 on the Joie de Vin website, you’ll get 10% off the very reasonable bottle price. While stocks last…

BuyDrinking window: 2022-26Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, France, Red, Fer Servadou

New Wine In Old Bottles

by Andy Neather
I should have expected it in a temple of Tuscan kitsch: Chianti in fiasco, the bulbous bottles wrapped in straw that were a symbol of Italian eateries in 1970s Britain....
91

2020 Chassaux et Fils Specially Selected Roussanne, IGP Pays d'Oc, Occitanie

( £6.99, 13%, Aldi )

My friend Anita served this wine blind to me yesterday and asked me to guess the price? “£20?” I replied. “Try £6.99 from Aldi,” she said. So I have no hesitation in recommending this remarkable bottle as my wine of the week. It’s the kind of thing that deserves to sell by the container load. Peach, pear and fresh lime flavours are complemented by tangy acidity and a herbal undertone. The bottle looks great too. What are you waiting for?

BuyDrinking window: 2022-24Similar Wines: £5-£10, 90-94, France, White, Roussanne

A Piece Of History

by Oliver Styles
Old wines are like cocaine: I’ve only ever enjoyed someone else’s. I’ve never bought my own. Noblesse oblige and all that. It’s not that I’m not grateful – or appreciative....
92

2020 Domaine Lafage Centenaire Vieilles Vignes, IGP Côtes Catalanes, Roussillon

( £11.60, 13%, Vinvm )

A wine of the week for you to sip while listening to my latest cork talk podcast with Jean-Marc Lafage, this remarkable cuvée of mostly Grenache Blanc and Grenache Gris and 20% Roussanne is one of the most exciting whites I’ve tasted from the Roussillon region in ages. Citrus, fennel and thyme flavours are embellished by stylish nutmeg oak, with stony intensity adding another dimension of freshness to the finish.

BuyDrinking window: 2021-25Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-93, France, White, Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris, Roussanne