93

2015 Boutinot Les Six, Cairanne, Rhône Valley

( £12.99, 14.5%, D. Byrne )

Made with six different varieties – nothing compared with Châteuneuf-du-Pape’s 14, but still quite a large number – this is a superb, modern, Grenache-dominated Cairanne, which carries its comparatlvely high alcohol lightly, thanks to the structure and acidity of the 2015 vintage. Spicy tapenade and wild herb aromas segue into a smooth, deftly oaked palate with very fine tannins and a core of sweet, tarry blackberry and blueberry fruit. Outstanding value. 

BuyDrinking window: 2017-22Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, France, Red, Carignan, Cinsault, Counoise, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah/Shiraz
96

2014 Koyle Cerro Basalto, Los Lingues, Colchagua Valley

( £17, 14, The Wine Society )

Grown on basalt soils identified as ideal by the French terroir consultant, Claude Bourguignon, for Mediterranean grapes, this is a stunning blend of mostly Mourvèdre with Grenache, Carignan and Syrah. Liquorice, damson, tapenade and blackberry flavours are embellished by bright acidity, savoury, grippy tannins and just a hint of oak.

BuyDrinking window: 2018-24Similar Wines: £10-£20, 96-100, Chile, Red, Carignan, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah/Shiraz
89

2015 Rojalet Negre, Montsant

( £7.99, 13.5, Majestic )

Montsant is not as famous as neighbouring Priorat, but generally offers much better value. Blending Garnacha and Carignan, this isn’t short of alcohol (we’re close to the Med after all), but it has plenty of spice, plum and bramble fruit concentration and stony minerality for balance. In summer, it would make a great barbecue red. Right now, try it with winter stew. 

BuyDrinking window: 2017-21Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, Spain, Red, Carignan, Grenache

Ventoux: wild wild East

by Matt Walls
“Bonjour!” beamed the skinny young monk as he hurried past me down the steep dirt path, his brown habit flapping behind him. It turns out the local monastery had only...
92

2013 Domaine Jones, Les Perles de Jones Carignan Vieilles Vignes, Vin de France, Languedoc Roussillon

( £18.50, 14.5%, www.domainejones.com )

Carignan is one of those under-rated grapes that can make fantastic wines if the vines are old and grown in a propitious terroir. This is on the ripe side, but it’s not top heavy in the slightest. Damson and blueberry fruit flavours are complemented by minerality and acidity and a wild herb-like note. Surprisingly refreshing for a wine of this ripeness. 

BuyDrinking window: 2016-19Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, France, Red, Carignan
92

2013 Domaine Jones, Fitou, Languedoc Roussillon

( £13.50, 14.5%, The Wine Society )

Once upon a time, I used to own a bit of vineyard land in Fitou. I just wish I’d done something as useful with it as Katie Jones has. This blend of Carignan, Grenache and Syrah is all about perfume and dark, sun-kissed fruit, constructed around a core of freshness and stony minerality. One of the most exciting Fitous I’ve tasted in years. 

Drinking window: NowSimilar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, France, Red, Carignan, Grenache, Syrah/Shiraz
93

2011 Mas Cal Demoura, L'Infidèle, Languedoc-Roussillon

( £19.90, 14%, Cambridge Wine Merchants, I'Anson Wines )

A blend of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Carignan and Cinsault from one of the best terroirs in the Languedoc region of southern France, this is a very stylish wine with a minty edge to it. Smooth, subtle and complex, with refined tannins, sweet blackberry and bramble fruit, subtle oak and refreshing acidity. Balanced, nuanced winemaking.

BuyDrinking window: 2014-18Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, France, Red, Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah/Shiraz
88

2012 The Society's Corbières, Corbières, Languedoc-Roussillon

( £7.25, 14%, The Wine Society )

You can find cheaper Corbières on the market, some of which will challenge your dental enamel, but this delivers plenty of wine at the price. Sourced from Château Ollieux Romanis, it’s a youthful, wild herb-scented red with the accent squarely on fruit rather than oak. Juicy, bouncy and bright, it’s just the thing for a summer (or late spring) barbecue. 

BuyDrinking window: 2014-16Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, France, Red, Carignan, Grenache, Syrah/Shiraz
90

2011 Celler de Capçanes, Mas Collet, Barrica, Montsant

( £12, 14% )

An oak-aged blend of Garnacha, Tempranillo, Carignan and Cabernet Sauvignon from the Capçanes co-operative that shows why Montsant is such a good value alternative to neighbouring Priorat. The oak is just a top note here, despite the name of the wine, adding complexity to the flavours of plum, cassis and hot stones. The wine finishes with a dry, mineral flourish that ties it all together, like a bow on a gift-wrapped present. 

BuyDrinking window: 2014-16Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Spain, Red, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, Grenache, Tempranillo
90

2008 Los Amigos, Rogue Vine, El Insolente Single Vineyard, Itata Valley

( POA, 13.2% )

Made by Leonardo Erazo, whose day job is as winemaker at Altos Las Hormigas in Mendoze, this is one of a series of outstanding Chilean wines made from specific sites in Itata. The grape vareity here Carignan, which deserves to be considered as one of Chile’s best varieties. It’s a refreshing, minerally, savoury red with bottle-aged characters of game and sweet spices, fine, but firm tannins and bright, cool climate acidity. 

BuyDrinking window: 2014-16Similar Wines: 91-95, Chile, Red, Carignan
93

2010 Los Amigos, Rogue Vine, El Insolente Single Vineyard, Itata Valley

( POA, 12.8% )

Like the 2008 vintage of El Inosolente, this is made entirely from bush vine Carignan grown in the Itata Valley. If anything, it’s a step up in quality, which is saying a good deal. Deeply coloured and concentrated, yet not heavy or ponderous in any way, this is a wine that’s all about fruit and balance rather than oak and extraction. Perfumed, savoury and refreshing, with bramble and balckberry fruit, firm but harmonious tannins and a long, refreshing finish. 

BuyDrinking window: 2014-16Similar Wines: 91-95, Chile, Red, Carignan