93

2018 Tesco Finest Amarone, Valpolicella DOCG, Veneto

( £17, 15.5%, Tesco )

Sourced from the Cantina di Valpantena, the sort of place that could give Italian co-operatives a good name, this is a superb, well-balanced cuvée of Corvina and 30% Rondinella. Made from dried grapes in the classic Amarone fashion, it has plenty of power and depth, just a touch of sweetness, plum, fig, Christmas cake and liquorice flavours and lovely supporting acidity.

BuyDrinking window: 2022-28Similar Wines: £15-20, 90-94, Italy, Red, Corvina, Rondinella
93

Villa Cafaggio, Chianti Classico, Tuscany

( £10.49 until November 29th, 13.5%, Waitrose )

At the reduced price – hurry because the offer ends next week – this is the best value Chianti Classico in the UK right now. Made with the help of veteran consultant Attilio Pagli, it’s a spicy, floral, perfumed Sangiovese, with impressive underlying structure, violet, plum and red cherry notes and subtle hints of clove, tobacco and oregano. Very tasty.

BuyDrinking window: 2022-28Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, Italy, Red, Sangiovese

The Curse Of Bordeaux

by Andy Neather
We splashed in the Saint Emilion lavoir, desperate to cool off on a 39-degree day in August. Yet this wasn’t when the weirdness of this broiling year really hit me....
91

2021 Waitrose Loved & Found Frappato, Sicily

( £7.99, 13.5%, Waitrose )

Young Frappato is Sicily’s answer to a juicy Beaujolais, bursting with perfume and bouncy fruit flavours. This impressive find from Waitrose comes from vineyards in Trapani and Marsala and is a very well-priced example of the grape’s charms, with flavours of wild strawberry, pomegranate and candy floss, tangy acidity and a nip of tannin. The perfect end-of-summer chilled red.

BuyDrinking window: 2022-24Similar Wines: £5-9, 90-94, Italy, Red, Frappato
91

2020 Pietradolce Etna Rosso, Siclly

( £20, 13.5%, The Wine Society )

If you love Pinot Noir, then the chances are that you’ll appreciate its slightly more rustic Sicilian cousin, Nerello Mascalese. This comes from volcanic soils at 800 metres on the northern slopes of Mount Etna and is appealingly floral and intense, with rose petal and a hint of earth on the nose, lots of tangy focus and grip, very subtle integration and a lovely combination of sinewy tannins, wild strawberry and red cherry fruit and a dusting of Mediterranean herbs.

BuyDrinking window: 2022-28Similar Wines: £15-20, 90-94, Italy, Red, Nerello Mascalese

Collecting Flavour

by Tom Hewson
Every trade has its sartorial call-signs. The wine trade plays host to the fraternity-of-the-red-trouser, its membership made up of legs that appear to have filled, loafer-to-belt, with decades of luncheon...

Wine’s Next Big Thing

by Andy Neather
Not long after the Millennium, I lifted a glass of sparkling wine to toast the wedding of two good friends in London. They were both Italophiles and had somewhere managed...

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....

None More Black

by Peter Pharos
People who talk about wine rarely mention their conflicts of interest, so let me put mine front and centre: my first dinner date with my now wife included a bottle...
92

2020 Tenuta del Priore Campotinto Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, Abruzzo

( £9.50, 13.5%, Tanners )

Now that we can start having (legal) parties again, this is just the sort of thing I’d like to serve to my friends and family. Sourced from a family-owned winery near Pescara, it’s a fruity, perfumed, unoaked bundle of joy, with lots of lift and texture, layers of plum and red cherry, lively acidity and just enough tannin to give it some food-friendly grip and structure.

BuyDrinking window: 2022-25Similar Wines: £9.50, 90-94, Italy, Red, Montepulciano
93

2017 Ascheri Barolo DOCG, Piedmont

( £23, 14.5%, Tesco )

Affordable Barolo, like affordable red Burgundy, tends to cost over £20, unless it’s something that should have been distilled long ago. This deliciously drinkable 2017, which shows none of the heat of the vintage, comes from the Ascheri family’s vineyards in the villages of La Morra, Serralunga d’Alba and Verduno. Scented and enticing, with rose petal and dried herbs aromas, savoury, granular tannins and layers of raspberry, plum and sweet spices. Traditional Barolo with a modern twist.

BuyDrinking window: 2022-29Similar Wines: £20-25, 90-94, Italy, Red, Nebbiolo