A youthful, easy-drinking, well-priced Cabernet Franc grown on clay and limestone soils on the Champ de Liveau plateau, this is grassy and refreshing with supple tannins, plenty of the perfume that’s typical of the variety and a twist of graphite. Very attractive at the price.
Excellent value at less than a fiver, this is a savoury, peppery Mendoza Malbec with good acidity, no obvious oak and attractive plum and bramble fruit. Ligther fresher and – crucially – drier than many commercial Argentinean reds.
You don’t get much for less than £3.50 these days, but this Garnacha pink from Bodegas Borsao is very drinkable stuff: dry and pleasantly fruity with flavours of rosehip, cherry and strawberry and vibrant acidity, especially noteworthy from such a warm Spanish region. A chance of celebrate the end of a memorable summer in the UK.
It’s not easy to find really good glugging reds under £5 any more, but the Campo de Borja region in northern Spain would be my first port of call. This unoaked example from Bodegas Borsao is juicy, brambly and full of raspberry and redcurrant fruit. Soft and supple: pure, uncomplicated pleasure.
Pale garnet/pink. There’s some smoky reduction on the nose and palate initially, but it’s balanced by attractive red fruit flavours. The acidity is suprisingly high for a 2009 (is this yield related?) and the wine is just a little short on texture and weight, but it’s still an enjoyable Pinot.
Not the most exciting Clos de Vougeot on the market. It’s decently made, with lots of sweet fruit and oak, but the wine seems rather four-square, with too much extraction and a rather firm, dry finish.
Another winery that is in the running for my heavy bottle Burgundy award. Mid garnet/red in colour. The palate shows sweet oak, reasonable concentration, some raspeberry coulis notes and good acidity, with appealing balance. It’s more of a village level wine than a Grand Cru, but it’s still a decent Pinot.
Better known for its holdings in Vosne-Romanée, this domaine produces densely powerful wines with a lot of oak. That’s the case here too: big, dense, low yield-derived Pinot with the barrel staves a little too dominant on the palate and a dry, almost Italianate finish. Not my style of Pinot.
Mid ruby with a hint of purple. A muscular wine: big and bold and aromatic. But the oak seems excessive to me somehow, with lots of coffee bean and smoky oak that’s smothering the fruit flavours. The domaine could spend less on barrels and improve its wines in my view.
I am a huge fan of the 2010s from Etienne Grivot’s Vosne-Romanée-based domaine, so the 2009s inevitably suffer by comparison. But this is still a very good wine: quite oaky at the moment, but with excellent underlying sweetness, crunchy acidity and rich black fruits. The oak should intergrate over the next five years.
Yves Confuron’s wines are very distinctive, partly because of his use of stems but also because of his way of expressing his vineyards. Mid garnet/pink, with a stemmy, but highly aromatic nose. Quite traditional in style, with a firm tanninc backbone giving structure to the sweetness of the fruit. Fresh acidity, finely poised.
To me, this was one of the wines of the tasting: a pale, scented, delicately crafted Clos de Vougeot that deserves a slot in any Burgundy lover’s cellar. Aromatic and fine, with well integrated oak, wild berry fruit, sappy acidity and superb texture and balance. Who says the 2009s aren’t well balanced?