The best red grapes, Greece’s Xynomavro among them, invariably produce the best rosé wines. Good on Waitrose for listing a Greek example with ambition and personality: raspberry and wild strawberry fruit, a touch of sweetness and a nip of tannin on the finish.
If you’re a fan of wild, Medieterranean herb-scented reds from the hills of the Corbières, this should be right up your grande rue. The oak is subtly done here, allowing the spicy, heady fruit to express itself. The tannins are svelte and nicely integrated, the fruit dense yet supple, the finish long and refreshing. The altitude of the vineyards is what gives the wine its balance and length.
It’s great to see a few Lebanese wines breaking into the retail mainstream, especially at a price and quality level such as this. It’s a blend of mostly Syrah with 30% Cabernet Franc and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and it underlines the country’s potential with Bordeaux-meets-the-Rhône-Valley style blends. Elegant, sweetly oaked stuff with restrained alcohol for the Bekaa Valley, some spice and an undertone of green pepper. A very modern wine from Lebanon’s oldest winery.
It was a smart move by Sainsbury’s to source their Crozes from the biodynamic wild child of the Rhône Valley, Michel Chapoutier. Sourced from three different terroirs in this comparatively large appellation, it’s a classis example of a cooler climate Syrah, albeit an unoaked one. Blackberry spice and smoked meat are the dominant aromas and flavours here, underpinned by good structure and supple tannins. Try chilling it slightly.
We may still be waiting for summer here in rain-sodden Blighty, but why not pretend you’re on the Côte d’Azur with a bottle of this slinky, floral, pale pink blend of Syrah and Grenache. It’s delicate and very subtle with notes of rosehip and raspberry, bright, sappy acidity and a refreshing finish. Great as an aperitif, even better with salad, fish or chicken dishes. Essence of southern France.
An unusual Sicilian blend of mostly Grecancio with 30% Chardonnay, and 10% each of Fiano and Viognier, this confirms Planeta’s status as one of the most innovative producers on the island. It’s aromatic and winningly tropical, with hints of pineaapple and guava, zesty, pear and apple acidity and a fresh, dry, unoaked finish. The whole is greater than the sum of the wine’s parts.
This youthful, strikingly packaged Garnacha comes from the Ribera del Quielles region of northern Spain. It’s made from young vines – hence, in part, its juiciness – and it’s a stunner, with lots of sweet bramble and raspberry fruit, hints of pepper and clove spice and a palate-cleansing finish. If you like your Garnacha fresh rather than baked, you’ll love this wine.
On offer from April 2nd to the 30th (the price comes down to a very attractive £5.79), this is a textbook example of the Languedoc’s best seafood white. Citrus and white pepper on the nose, with a hint of white peach, this is zesty, medium-bodied and unoaked, with a fresh, tangy finish. Try it with a plate of oysters or mussels.
I don’t want to overstate the case here, but this could be the start of a Chilean red wine revolution. It’s unusual in at least three respects: it’s made from old vine, unirrigated Cinsault grown in the cool southerly region of Itata, it was fermented in amphorae and it has a lowly (for Chile) 13% alcohol. The result is is a refreshing, juicy, balanced, cherry and raspberry fruity red of great finesse and length. A welcome relief from over-oaked, over-alcoholic Chilean reds.
I hope you’ll forgive me for choosing another 2010 Rhône red as my wine of the week, but they are just so delicious. This unoaked blend of mostly Grenache with 25% Syrah, 10% Carignan amd 10% Mourvèdre is quintessential stuff: ripe, but still refreshing with sweet plums and red fruits on the palate backed up by clove and pepper spice. I could drink a bottle of this in one sitting, especially with a good stew or barbecued ribs.
A delicious, unoaked blend of two under-rated Mediterranean varieties, Roussanne (80%) and Vermentino (20%) from a little known area in the Languedoc. It’s fresh and tangy with notes of wet stone, green olive, fresh herbs, stone fruit and lemon peel. Crisp and refreshing but with underlying weight and concentration in reserve.
Drinkable Pinot Noir, let alone very drinkable Pinot Noir, under £8 is one of wine’s holier grails. This Chilean example from increasingly fashionable Leyda offers even better value than that. From 22nd of November it will be down to £6.99 each for two months. The wine tastes as good as it looks, with sweet raspberry and red cherry flavours, a touch of oak and refreshing, cool climate acidity. There’s some leafy complexity here, too.