91

2021 M&S Found Saperavi, Kakheti

( £10, 13%, Marks & Spencer )

If Saperavi were French, it would be one of the world’s most famous red grapes. Instead, Georgia’s premium variety remains something of a secret to most UK wine drinkers. This tasty, toothsome example, sold under Marks & Spencer’s very good Found range, comes from the premium region of Kakheti, where the limestone soils always seem to give the wines a chalky frisson. Plum and damson fruit flavours are supported by protein-friendly tannins and racy acidity.

BuyDrinking window: 2024-30Similar Wines: £5-£10, 90-94, Georgia, Red, Saperavi
91

2022 Juan Gil Monastrell, Jumilla

( £13, 14.5%, Aitken Wines, Cheers Wine Merchants, D. Byrne, Noel Young, Premier Cru Wine Merchants, The Battleship, The Bottleshop, Vin Neuf )

Thanks to its preponderance of old vines and a new generation of winemakers, Jumilla is becoming one of Spain’s most talked about regions. This is an understated, sensitively wooded, organically farmed Monastrell from Familia Gil with lots of sweet spices, red berry, bramble and raspberry fruit and plenty of supporting acidity from its high-altitude terroir at 700 metres. Great value from the Castilla a Mancha.

BuyDrinking window: 2024-29Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, Spain, Red
91

2021 Umani Ronchi Fonte del Re Lacrima di Morro d'Alba, Marche

( £15.50, 13%, Tesco )

Made with the comparatively rare Lagrima di Morro d’Alba grape, this unwooded Adriatic red is one of the hidden jewels in the sprawling Tesco range. Close your eyes and you could almost be smelling a white wine, as aromas of ginger and Turkish Delight waft from the glass. The palate puts you right, though, as it combines plum and black cherry fruit with plenty of underlying grip and acidity. A perfect wine with a plate of fresh pasta.

BuyDrinking window: 2024-29Similar Wines: £15-20, 90-94, Italy, Red, Lacrima
93

2021 Alta Vista Terroir Selection Malbec, Mendoza

( £15, 14.5%, Sainsbury's )

On offer at Sainsbury’s right now, this is an outstanding value Malbec from one of the country’s best producers. Blending grapes from the Luján de Cuyo and Uco Valley sub-regions of Mendoza, it’s full-bodied, plush, yet remarkably fresh and layered, with aromas of violet and aniseed, sculpted tannins, plum and blueberry fruit and a frame of scented, spicy oak. Good now, but will develop further in bottle.

BuyDrinking window: 2024-32Similar Wines: £15-20, 90-94, Argentina, Red, Malbec
90

2020 Tesco Finest Peumo Carmenère, Peumo, Cachapoal Valley

( £8.50, 14%, Tesco )

Something of a bargain within the Tesco range, this is a plush, engagingly scented Carmenère from Peumo, considered one of the best regions for the grape in Chile. Judiciously blend with 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, it’s appealingly unwooded, with flavours of rocket, dark chocolate and green pepper, supple tannins and enough acidity to freshen the finish.

BuyDrinking window: 2024-30Similar Wines: £5-£10, 90-94, Chile, Red, Carmenère
92

2022 Guímaro Tinto, Ribeira Sacra, Galicia

( £17.33, 12.5%, Joseph Barnes Direct. Shrine to the Vine, Les Caves de Pyrene, Tivoli Wines )

Blending components from the steep-sided Sil and Miño Valleys, this wonderfully gluggable, organically farmed  red is based on Mencía with bits and pieces of other co-planted grapes, according to Pedro Rodríguez. Engagingly intense and floral, it’s a white wine drinker’s red in some ways, with lots of zip and acidity, violet and rose petal aromas, refined tannins and layers of raspberry, pomegranate and wild strawberry. Drink lightly chilled.

BuyDrinking window: 2024-29Similar Wines: £15-20, 90-94, Spain, Red, Mencia
92

2019 I Ciacca Nostalgia Maturano, Val di Comino, Lazio

( £28.68, 12%, Shelved Wine )

Something a little different this week. Maturano, not to be confused with Spanish Maturana Blanca, is a new Italian white grape variety to me. Sourced from vines at 600 metres inside a national park between Rome and Naples, it’s very much a southern style, with some appealing bottle age adding complexity. Lees fermented and aged in concrete, it’s appealingly unwooded, with musky, baking spice aromas, a palate of pear, honey and orange zest, some underlying, food-friendly grip and much more acidity than you think on first acquaintance.

BuyDrinking window: 2024-26Similar Wines: £25-30, 90-94, Italy, White, Maturano
93

2019 Muga Reserva, Rioja

( £19.99 as part of a purchase of six bottles, 14.5%, Majestic )

One of a dwindling number of top Riojas that combines grapes from the Rioja Alta and Rioja Oriental sub-regions, this impressive Reserva is a blend of Tempranillo with 20% Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano. Pairing Tempranillo, 15% Garnacha, 6% Mazuelo and 4% Graciano, with ageing in a 80/20 mix of French and American oak, it’s spicy, succulent and smartly wooded, with raspberry and blueberry fruit, sinewy tannins and plenty of acidity to freshen the finish. Will develop further in bottle.

BuyDrinking window: 2024-2035Similar Wines: £15-20, 90-94, Spain, Red, Garnacha, Graciano, Mazuelo, Tempranillo
93

Planeta Mamertino, Sicily

( £20.79, 13.5%, The Great Wine Company )

I have a recent podcast with Alessio Planeta to thank for introducing me to this delicious wine from northern Sicily. Mamertino was famous during Roman times  – Julius Caesar was a fan – but it’s less well known today, even among Italophiles. Made from Nero d’Avola, arguably the island’s best red grape, and much rarer Nocera, this has flavours of clove and sweet spices, plum and red cherry fruit, savoury tannins and tangy maritime acidity.  Quintessentially Mediterranean.

BuyDrinking window: 2023-30Similar Wines: £20-25, 90-94, Italy, Red, Nerola d'Avola, Nocera
93

2020 Vinos López La Bodegaza Blanco Valdejalón, Aragón

( £16.50, 13.5%, The Wine Society )

A wine that blew my mind at the Wine Society’s recent press tasting, this is an excellent new discovery from buyer Pierre Mansour. A Garnacha Blanca that tastes as good as it looks, it hails from 50-year-old vines in Valdejalón, and has incredible intensity and focus. Salty, bone dry and lightly toasty, it has lovely aromas of wet stones, jasmine and thyme and a palate of quinine, sourdough bread and citrus peel.

BuyDrinking window: 2023-28Similar Wines: £15-20, 90-94, Spain, White, Grenache Blanc
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
93

2021 Pepe Mendoza Mares de Luz Monastrell/Giró, Alicante

( £9.95, 14%, The Wine Society )

Pepe Mendoza is Alicante’s most celebrated winemaker, well known for the quality of his reds and whites as well as their outstanding value for money. This lightly wooded cuvée marries equal amounts of Monastrell and the rare Giró grape and is a charming, enticing delight. Aromas of rose petal and Turkish Delight segue into a palate that’s savoury and spicy, all white pepper, thyme and summer berries and a nip of tannin.

BuyDrinking window: 2023-28Similar Wines: £5-£10, 90-94, Spain, Red, Giró, Monastrell