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.
Bertrand Ambroise makes some of the best value Burgundies on the market, from his basic wines right up to his Grands Crus. They are characterised by restrained use of oak, subtle, understated fruit flavours and considerable finesse. This is light, perfumed and refreshing, but with complex wild starwberry and forest floor notes, tangy acidity, great poise and a fine, tapering finish.
Very, very pale, almost transparent Pinot. Delicate and very subtle with red fruits, a hint of forest floor and wild mushrooms. Long and refined with grainy, sculpted tannins, refreshing acidity and a long finish. The wine needs a little more concentration perhaps.
Famous for its amazing Grand Cru holdings, Jacques Prieur hits the heights more often with its whites than its reds. That’s not to play down the quality of this wine, which is very good indeed; rather it is intended to praise the Côte de Beaune wines. This is aromatic and smoky, with subtle oak, sweet red fruits and enough structure and tannin to age.
Mid garnet/pink. A little closed on the nose and showing some reduction, possibly pre-bottling. Red fruits, cherry and a hint of int, with fresh acidity and some minerality. Not massively complex, but more than acceptable.
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.