90

2022 Ken Forrester Wines The Misfits Cinsault, Western Cape

( £10, 13%, Tesco )

Ken Forrester is best known as one of the Cape’s most famous Chenin Blanc producers, but he produces some very decent reds, too. This is made from Cinsault, one of the parents of local Pinotage but also gaining a following in its own right. Think of it as a South African Beaujolais, all strawberries, raspberries and red cherries with some stems adding notes of white pepper and tobacco leaf. Drink it chilled as an ideal wine with a barbecue, or braai.

BuyDrinking window: 2024-28Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, South Africa, Red, Cinsault
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

2019 Tesco Finest Chianti Classico Riserva, Tuscany

( £10, 13.5%, Tesco )

Chianti Classico is one of those wines that it’s easy to take for granted. It’s the kind of thing that often gets overlooked in our scramble to try new things. But when it’s good, you remember why it’s a staple of the wine world. This very lightly wooded Riserva, made by Melini, is a blend of Sangiovese with 15% Canaiolo and Malvasia Negra. Plum, red cherry and sweet spice flavours are completed by bright, tangy acidity, polished tannins and a lingering finish. The perfect treat with a plate of pasta.

BuyDrinking window: 2024-29Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, Italy, Red, Canaiolo, Malvasia Nera, Sangiovese
92

2021 Santa Venere Cirò Rosso, Calabria

( £10.95, 13.5%, The Wine Society )

Wines from the southern Italian region of Calabria are comparatively rare in the UK, but this great value, unwooded Gaglioppo from organic vineyards close to the Ionian Sea makes you wonder why. Spicy, earthy and bright, it has has bramble, black tea and red cherry flavours, supple tannins and a dusting of wild herbs. A wine that massively overdelivers at its price point.

BuyDrinking window: 2024-29Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, Italy, Red, Gaglioppo
92

2022 Domaine Maby Cuvée Prima Donna Rosé, Tavel

( £14.50, 14.5%, The Wine Society )

A rosé in the depths of winter, when we haven’t even reached the shortest day of the year? Why not? It’s fine to drink pink wines all year round these days, not just in summer, especially when they’re as good as this flavoursome, full-bodied, richly coloured example from the southern Rhône Valley. Juicy yet serious, it has layers of summer pudding, goji berry and wild strawberry, plenty of supporting acidity and a nip of tannin.

BuyDrinking window: 2023-25Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, France, Red, Cinsault, Grenache
92

2022 Calhavera Graves Blanc, Bordeaux

( £12.99, 12.5%, Majestic )

I’m so busy enjoying Semillons from Argentina, Chile and South Africa that I tend to forget that very good dry examples of the grape can be produced in Bordeaux, not to mention the variety’s starring role in the region’s sweet wines. This lightly wooded example, whose name comes from the Gascon word for a small pile of stones, is a delight, with lots of zip and focus, refreshingly low alcohol, beeswax, citrus and lanolin notes, a hint of vanilla spice and a piercingly refreshing finish. Will go toasty with a bit more bottle age.

BuyDrinking window: 2023-28Similar Wines: £10-15, 92, France, White, Semillon
91

2021 Bodegas Alonso Stripped Desnudo, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Jerez

( £13.75, 12.5%, Great Wine Co )

Palomino has an undeserved reputation as a neutral grape, a variety that needs the alchemy of the solera system to turn it into something magical in Jerez. But a new generation of winemakers is busy demonstrating that dry, unfortified wines have considerable appeal. Brothers Fran and Fernando Asencio made this “naked” wine with early picked grapes from an organically farmed vineyard on classic, chalky Albarizas soils. Long lees ageing adds some texture to this unfiltered white, which combines aromas of aniseed and wet stones with a palate of lemon and lime. Deliciously refreshing.

BuyDrinking window: 2023-25Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, Spain, White, Palomino
92

2020 The Society's Exhibition Langhe Nebbiolo, Piedmont

( £14.50, 14.5%, The Wine Society )

The Wine Society sources this delicious introduction to the delights of Nebbiolo from Rizzi’s younger vine parcels in the Barbaresco appellation. Entirely fermented in stainless steel, with no oak ageing, it’s a floral, almost graceful expression of the variety, with comparatively smooth tannins, notes of potpourri, cranberry and red cherry and a long, bright, tapering finish.

BuyDrinking window: 2023-28Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, Italy, Red, Nebbiolo
91

2022 Cramele Recas Orange Natural Wine, Romania

( £10.99, 12.5%, Adnams, Hennings Wine Merchants, Tanners, The Vintage Wine Merchants )

The kind of natural, skin-contact wine that’s a pleasure to drink – not always the case, alas – this is a four-way, pan-Romanian assemblage of Fetească Regală, Muscat Ottonel, Riesling and Pinot Grigio, showing admirable freshness for a wine that was made without added sulphites. Musk, brioche and white flower aromas are a scented introduction to a palate of orange zest, rose water, citrus and quince and a touch of tannic grip.

BuyDrinking window: 2023-25Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, Romania, White, Fetească Regală, Muscat Ottonel, Pinot Grigio, Riesling
92

2022 Altos de Torona Albariño, Rías Baixas

( £14.99, 13%, Waitrose )

Altos de Torona’s impressive Albariño hails from the O Rosal sub-region of Rías Baixas, close the River Miño and Spain’s border with Portugal. Aged on its lees for six months, it shows the intensity and concentration of the 2022 vintage balanced by plenty of acidity, zip and minerality. There are aromas of wet stones and lemon zest here, complemented by lime, kiwi fruit and white peach flavours and a salty, refreshing finish.

BuyDrinking window: 2023-27Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, Spain, White, Albariño
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
91

NV Villiera Brut Tradition Cap Classique, Stellenbosch

( £14.99, 11.5%, Majestic )

Unless you want to drink Prosecco or Cava, it’s getting increasingly difficult to find good bubbly under £15. England and Champagne can’t hit that price point, but South Africa still can. Villiera’s cuvée of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, aged on its lees for 18 months, is my go-to party fizz right now. Made in a dry style with just six grams of dosage, it’s fresh, tangy and slightly toasty with lemon and lime flavours, a creamy mousse and appealing texture.

BuyDrinking window: 2023-27Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, South Africa, Sparkling, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay