93

2011 Cape Chamonix Pinotage, Franschhoek

( £16, 14, Oddbins )

If you’d rather drink Piat d’Or than most Pinotage, this off-beat example from the Franschhoek Valley might change your mind about this controversial South Africa grape. Gottfried Mocke’s red is made in an unusual (unique for the Cape?) style that uses the ripasso technique of refrementing the wine on its skins and it’s brilliant, with flavours of plum, spice and mulberry, subtle oak and just the right amount of tannin for backbone. 

BuyDrinking window: 2015-19Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, South Africa, Red, Pinotage
88

2011 The Co-operative Truly Irresistible Domaine de La Noblaie Chinon, Loire

( £8.95, 13.5%, The Co-operative )

Unoaked Loire Cabernet Franc is one of my favourite styles wine: light, fresh and grassy, with subtle lead pencil aromas and a bright, cool climate finish. That’s exactly what you get here, with acidity that works really well with cheese and red meats.

BuyDrinking window: 2013-15Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, France, Red, Cabernet Franc
90

2012 Recanati Carignan/Petite Sirah, Judean Hills

( £9.99 down to £7.49, 13.5%, Marks & Spencer )

It’s good to see a supermarket taking a punt on an Israeli wine, especially one made from Carignan and Petite Sirah, which are arguably better suited to the country’s Mediterranean climate than the red Bordeaux varieties. This is concentrated and deeply coloured, with some oak ageing adding to the ripe, savoury plum and damson fruit . The tannins are supple, with good acidity for extra backbone. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-15Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, Israel, Red, Carignan, Petite Sirah
89

2011 Triade Rosso, Puglia

( £8.99 down to £6.75, 13.5%, Waitrose )

This is a comparatively unusual southern Italian red, given the presence of one third of Nero di Troia alongside the more widely planted Primitivo and Negroamaro in the blend. It’s also quite light by the toothsome standards of some of the region’s high octane reds, but certainly not lacking in flavour. Plum and damson fruit are underpinned by sweet toasty oak and a refreshing, peppery finish. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-15Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, Italy, Red, Negroamaro, Nero di Troia, Primitivo
91

2010 Cantina di Negrar Amarone della Valpolicella, Veneto

( £17.99 down to £13.49, 15.5%, Waitrose )

Amarone can be something of a one glass wine if it’s too rich and raisiny (at least for me), but this one from the Cantina di Negrar gets the balance spot on. It’s a blend of mostly Corvina, with 15% each of Corvinone and Rondinella, aged in traditional Slavonian casks, rather thas smothered with new oak. Aromatic and spicy, this boasts flavours of plum, raspberry and dark chocolate, with refreshing acidity and the concentration to age further in bottle. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-18Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Italy, Red, Corvina
88

NV Albinea Canali Lambrusco Secco, Ottocentonero, Lambrusco dell'Emilia, Emilia-Romagna

( £7.95, 11.5%, The Wine Society )

Visitors to Bologna will be familiar with drier styles of the local frothy red, Lambrusco. Elsewhere, it tends to be regarded as sweet and a bit too commercial, which is a shame, as wines like this one deserve a wider audience. Juicy, dry and very drinkable, even with food, this has bright plum and black cherry fruit, a nip of tannin and a mouthful of bubbles. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-14Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, Italy, Sparkling, Cabernet Sauvignon, Lambrusco, Lancellotta