2021 La Chablisienne Petit Chablis, Chablis, Burgundy( £14, 12%, Marks & Spencer )
Chablis has had a run of warmer vintages over the last eight years, robbing it of the things that make it so distinctive – sea breeze freshness and chiselled acidity. But 2021 was a partial return to the later, cooler harvests of the past, and all the better as a result. This unwooded Chardonnay from the impressive La Chablisienne co-operative is tangy and textured, with citrus and oyster shell flavours and a pithy finish.
Rethinking Fine Wineby Tim Atkin
NV Tesco Finest Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Rhône Valley( £18, 14.5% )
Tesco has switched to a non-vintage blend for this cuvée of Grenache with Syrah, Mourvèdre and Cinsault from the pebbly soils of the north-west of the appellation, but the quality is as good as ever. Floral and unwooded, with top notes of sweet spices, appealing power and texture, goji berry, summer pudding and wild herb flavours, this well-judged Châteauneuf-du-Pape is good now but will develop in bottle for a few more years.
Wine After Dry Januaryby Andy Neather
2020 Domaine Gayrard Braucol, Gaillac( £12.99, 13%, Strictly Wine )
Braucol, aka Fer Servadou, is a grape that you only find in the south-west of France. It bears a certain resemblance to Loire Cabernet Franc, as well as the fresher styles of Chilean Carmenère, but has a personality that’s all its own. This unwooded, old-vine expression from Pierre and Laure Fabre is made with organically grown grapes and is wonderfully tangy, bright and perfumed, with violet and cut grass aromas and bramble, raspberry and blackcurrant leaf flavours. Serve it slightly chilled.
Wines That Stop You In Your Tracksby Harry Eyres
Dreadful Weather, Decent Wineby Håvard Flatland
2020 Paul Jaboulet Ainé Mule Noire Organic Crozes Hermitage, Rhône Valley( £19.99 as part of a purchase of six bottles, 13.5%, Majestic )
One of the best value reds in the Jaboulet range – which also includes the iconic La Chapelle, of course – this organic Syrah reflects the quality and focus of Caroline Frey’s winemaking. Scented and intense, with classic tapenade and white pepper aromas, bright, tangy, richly concentrated blackberry and blueberry fruit, subtle oak influence, smooth tannins and the concentration and freshness to mature nicely in bottle.
2020 Clos de la Roilette Fleurie, Beaujolais( £13.50, 14%, The Wine Society )
Given the prices of half-decent red Burgundy these days, it’s little wonder that people are looking for alternatives. This varietal Gamah is a superb Beaujolais from the Cru of Fleurie that massively over-delivers in the bottle. Spicy, juicy and lightly savoury, it has haunting balance, plenty of colour and intensity, sappy acidity and layers of dark cherry, raspberry. pomegranate and tobacco leaf. Intense, mouth-watering stuff.