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

Virgile Joly: Doing it the hard way

by Simon Woolf
If you work in the wine industry, you’ve probably heard this joke before: What’s the best way to become a millionaire in wine? Answer – start with two million. Definitely...
91

2008 Château Ollieux Romanis Atal Sia, Corbières Boutenac, Languedoc-Roussillon

( £17, 14%, The Wine Society )

Sourced from the best area of the Corbières, this Carignan-based blend is a stunner, exhibiting aromas of lavender, mint, rosemary, plum and blackberry, with serious, ageworthy tannins and an unmistakeable whiff of garrigue. Essence of the south of France. And another wine that has aged extremely well. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-17Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, France, Red, Carignan
91

2010 Château Sainte-Eulalie, Minervois La Livinière, Languedoc-Roussillon

( £11.50, 14.5%, The Wine Society )

Syrah, Grenache and Carignan  combine to very good effect in this dense, spicy, garrigue-scented red from the best part of the Minervois appellation. It’s a sun-kissed number with ripe, yet full tannins, flavours of blackberry, rosemary, thyme and liquorice and a chalky undertone from its vineyard source. Inky and ripe, but fresh and fine at the same time. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-18Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, France, Red, Carignan, Grenache, Syrah/Shiraz
90

2012 Recanati Carignan/Petite Sirah, Judean Hills

( £9.99 down to £7.49, 13.5%, Marks & Spencer )

It’s good to see a supermarket taking a punt on an Israeli wine, especially one made from Carignan and Petite Sirah, which are arguably better suited to the country’s Mediterranean climate than the red Bordeaux varieties. This is concentrated and deeply coloured, with some oak ageing adding to the ripe, savoury plum and damson fruit . The tannins are supple, with good acidity for extra backbone. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-15Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, Israel, Red, Carignan, Petite Sirah
91

2012 Domaine de la Meynarde Plan de Dieu, Rhône Valley

( £8.99 down to £6.75, 14.5%, Marks & Spencer )

If you’re only going to buy one red from this offer, this one delivers the best value for money at its 25% off price. It’s the kind of southern Rhône red that reminds me of my student days in Avignon. It’s a ripe, but not over-ripe Grenache-based blend, made from old vines on the Plan de Dieu plateau, showing serious tannins, backed up by flavours of wild herbs, plum and tapenade. Vibrantly delicious. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-18Similar Wines: £5-£10, 91-95, France, Red, Carignan, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah/Shiraz
93

2010 Spice Route Chakalaka, The Swartland

( £12.95, 14.5%, The Wine Society )

This isn’t the most expensive brands in the full-flavoured Spice Route range, but it’s often one of my favourite reds from this innovative winery. It’s an appealing combo of no fewer than six grapes, with lots of sweet vanilla oak, spicy clove and nutmeg and a mixture of bramble, red berry and blackberry fruit intensity. Needs a barbecue to show at its best. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-16Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, South Africa, Red, Carignan, Durif, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah/Shiraz, Tannat
92

2009 Vinyes dels Aspres, Negre dels Aspres, Empordà, Empordà

( €15, 15% )

The more popular David Molas’ wines become the less we will see reds with some bottle age, which is a shame as these certainly develop over time. Combining Cariñena, Garnacha, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, this is a stylish, spicy, sun-kissed wine with subtle oak and notes of incense and dried herbs.

 

Similar Wines: £20-£30, 91-95, Spain, Red, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, Grenache, Merlot
89

2010 Castillo Perelada, Finca La Garriga, Empordà, Empordà

( €16, 14% )

A varietal Samsó (Cariñena) from one the region’s most ambitious producers, this is a modern style Emporda red with lashings of sweet oak. The freshness and spiciness of the Samsó give the wine lift and balance, with dark, black fruits to the fore. A wine that needs some time in the bottle to show at its best.

 

Similar Wines: £20-£30, 86-90, Spain, Red, Carignan