Drink Promiscuously

by Cong Cong Bo
It bothers me that wine drinkers frequently choose wine based on colour, or indeed dismiss those of the “wrong” colour. I have encountered this discrimination most overtly in the rosé...
93

NV Tesco Finest Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Rhône Valley

( £21, 14.5%, Tesco )

It’s unusual to come across a Châteauneuf-du-Pape that’s a blend of vintages, but this one from Julie Rouffignac uses wines from four different harvests – 2017, 2017, 2020 and 2021 – to weave its magic. Pairing Grenache with 40% Syrah, 4% Mourvèdre and 1% Cinsault, it’s an unwooded delight that’s perfect for an autumn meal, with notes of fig, bramble and red berries, layers of pepper and clove spice and a savoury finish.

BuyDrinking window: 2023-30Similar Wines: £20-25, 90-94, France, Red, Cinsault, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah

Deconstructing Wine Descriptions

by Harry Eyres
Near the beginning of the heroically rambling recollections of a lifetime’s passion for wine which he assembled and published as Notes on a Cellar Book, the Victorian literary critic George...

Resonant Rosé

by Margaret Rand
To be perfectly clear, I love rosé. On a hot summer’s day it’s all you want; on a cool drizzly summer’s day it reminds you that it is in fact...

Big Money And The Soul Of Wine

by Andy Neather
You would need a heart of stone not to laugh at the travails of Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger, honorary chairman of the Champagne house and grandson of its founder. The British press...
93

2022 Les Terrasses Saint Nicolas de Bourgeuil, Loire Valley

( £11.00, or £9.00 with a Clubcard, 12.5%, Tesco )

Is Cabernet Franc getting the recognition it deserves? I think so. As its stock rises in New World countries like Argentina, New Zealand and South Africa, so consumers are also catching on to what this wonderful variety can produce in its home base, France’s Loire Valley. Entirely unwooded, this has engaging freshness, violet and capsicum aromas, racy plum and black cherry fruit, lots of vibrant acidity and finely judged tannins. A red wine that you can chill.

BuyDrinking window: 2023-28Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, France, Red, Cabernet Franc
94

2020 Sylvain Pataille Aligoté, Burgundy

( £17, 12%, The Wine Society )

Burgundian winemakers used to be a bit sniffy about Aligoté, but climate change has prompted a shift in attitude to the tangy, famously acidic grape variety, exemplified by the Aligoteurs movement of which Sylvain Pataille is a leading figure. This is a brilliant wine from an outstanding producer that could sell at twice the price, showing a touch of older oak, citrus, wet stone and green apple flavours, nice texture and weight and the concentration that often seems to come from old vines.

BuyDrinking window: 2023-29Similar Wines: £15-20, 90-94, France, White, Aligoté
92

2022 Paul Mas Réserve Languedoc Blanc, Languedoc-Roussillon

( £9.99, 13%, Waitrose )

Jean-Claude Mas is making some of the best wines in the south of France right now and is next to unbeatable for value under £10. This brilliant white blend is a more or less equal cuvée of Vermentino, Marsanne and Grenache Blanc with a splash of Viognier for extra perfume. Lightly but stylishly wooded, it has jasmine and rose petal aromas and a palate that combines flavours of peach, pear and citrus and a twist of Mediterranean herbs.

BuyDrinking window: 2023-27Similar Wines: £5-£10, 90-94, France, White, Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Vermentino, Viognier
91

2022 Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Discovery Collection Fronton, Fronton

( £9, 13% , Sainsbury's )

I’m regularly impressed by the Discovery Collection label at Sainsbury’s, as it offers unusual wines at decent prices. This is an unoaked south-west French blend of local Négrette with more widely planted Malbec. Youthful, sappy and refreshing, it has lovely bramble and black cherry fruit flavours, spicy, savoury tannins and the underlying concentration and structure to stand up to the smokiness of a summer barbecue.

BuyDrinking window: 2023-29Similar Wines: £5-£10, 90-94, France, Red, Malbec, Négrette
93

2022 Tesco Finest Pouilly-Fumé, Loire

( £15, 13%, Tesco )

New World countries like Chile, New Zealand and South Africa are so good at making Sauvignon Blanc that it’s easy to forget about the variety’s home base in the Loire Valley. And yet, at their best, wines from place like Pouilly-Fumé and Sancerre are unbeatable. This example from long-term Tesco supplier Fournier Père et Fils is well worth trading up for. Pithy, nettley and mouth-wateringly fresh, it has good texture from time on lees, stony minerality and flavours of elderflower, lime, celery and white pepper. Delicious.

BuyDrinking window: 2023-27Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, France, White, Sauvignon Blanc

Harnessing Heritage

by Pauline Vicard
Forbes recently revealed that the richest man and woman on earth – Bernard Arnault and Françoise Bettencourt Meyers – are French. And that both came from the world of luxury. As we...