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.
The quality of this Boisset-owned domaine within a négociant is consistently outstanding, thanks to very good vineyards and the talent of winemaker Pierre Vincent. This is very pale and elegant on the nose and palate, almost ethereal in fact. It may not age for a long time, but it’s delicious now, with notes of redcurrant and sweet raspberries.
Mid ruby/garnet. Aromatic, modern style with quite a bit of oak. Firm and slightly chunky on the palate, but there’s more than enough fruit underneath for balance. A wine that is still in the starting blocks. Give it some time and it will hit its stride.
Pale garnet in colour, very delicate. A little oak-dominated on the nose and palate, with a note of burnt meat. There might be a little whole bunch character here, or it could just be the slightly intrusive oak. Whatever it is, it reminded me of an Islay malt whisky’s peatiness. Strange wine.
Another heavy bottle award contender from Burgundy. The nose is a little over-ripe and alcoholic (a pitfall in 2009), with lots of oak and a tannic finish, possibly from slight raisining. I’m not convinced this will age.
Youthful mid garnet/ruby. Made in a very aromatic, modern style, that might be OTT to some. It’s got quite a bit of grip and tanni, with lots of flashy oak and ripe, sweet fruit. I’d like fewer splinters, but this is still an ambitious wine.
Consistently among my favourite négociants in Burgundy, Drouhin makes very good wines at every level. This is delicate pink in colour. On the nose and palate, it’s remarkably elegant for a 2009, with no sign of high alcohol. Refined and aromatic with rose petal and tomato leaf scents, leading on to fresh, cherry and wild stawberry fruit. Appealingly understated.
A new name to me, but one to remember, for this is a stylish wine. Youthful and light, albeit in a modern, fruity style, with sweet oak backed up by scented pomegranate and raspberry fruit and subtly interwoven oak. Fresh and lively on the palate with very good length and appealing sweetness.
A Nuits St Georges-based producer whose wines are improving with every vintage, Thibault Liger-Belair makes wines that age well, but have plenty of fruit in their youth. This is a little alcoholic on the palate (hard to avoid in 2009), but has attractive cherrystone and raspberry fruit, subtle oak and enough frehsness and minerality to develop in bottle.