When is a rosé not a rosé?

by Matt Walls
Among the first five wine appellations ever to be minted in France were two of the finest terroirs of the Rhône: Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Tavel. Fast forward 83 years and Châteauneuf...
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

Rock n’ roll excess

by Matt Walls
When I listen to electro I crave Riesling. The precise polished perfection of the sound somehow recalls the technicolour citrus acidity of the wine. Châteauneuf-du-Pape however suggests the gothic aesthetic,...

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...
93

2014 De Martino Viejas Tinajas Cinsault, Secano Interior/Coelemu, Itata Valley

( £10-15, 13%, Les Caves de Pyrene )

Marcelo Retamal is one of the most exciting winemakers in South America at the moment, crafting wines that are as refreshing as they are restrained. This delicious Cinsault was fermented in old terracotta amphorae, eschewing the oak that marrs too many Chilean reds. The result is a wine with refreshing, cherrystone and raspberry flavours, subtle tannins and impressive palate length. Chile should be making more wines like this.

BuyDrinking window: 2015-18Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Chile, Red, Cinsault

Braver New World

by Matt Walls
“Sorry I’m late sir. Ignore the bandage, I had an unexpected visit to the hospital to get my ear seen to. Anyway – I understand you’d like me to paint...
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
94

2013 Los Amigos, Rogue Vine, Grand Itata, Itata Valley

( POA, 13.2% )

Made with a combination of old vine Cinsault and País, grown in the southerly Itata Valley, this is one of the most exciting Chilean reds I’ve had in years. Perfumed, spicy and full of personality, it’s fresh and minerally with subtle raspberry and red cherry fruit, understated (non existent?) oak influence and vibrant, cool climate vivacity. Like a Pinot Noir crossed with a northern Rhône Syrah, but with an ancient Chilean personality that is all its own. 

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

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...
86

2011 The Curator, The Swartland

( £6.95, 13.5%, The Wine Society )

By the hot house standards of the Swartland, this is a light and comparatively elegant red blend of mostly Shiraz with some Mourvèdre, Cinsaut and Viognier. It’s a scented, unoaked style with some pepper spice, raspberry and red cherry fruit and refreshing acidity. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-15Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, South Africa, Red, Cinsault, Mourvèdre, Syrah/Shiraz, Bourboulenc, Viognier
89

2007 Ogier, Clos de l'Oratoire des Papes, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Rhône

( £25, 15%, Majestic )

Too many UK retailers are already on the 2009 and even 2010 vintage of CNDP, so it’s good to taste a wine that, while still young, is showing some bottle maturity. This is rich and deeply coloured with dark berry fruits, a hint of clove and a spicy, meaty finish.

BuyDrinking window: 2012-18Similar Wines: £20-£30, 86-90, France, Red, Cinsault, Grenache, Mourvèdre
92

2011 Boekenhoutskloof The Chocolate Block, Western Cape

( £19.99 down to £14.99, 14.5%, Waitrose )

Marc Kent’s cult red blend is always in demand, so you might need to hurry to buy this. It’s as good as ever: plush, sumptuous and aromatic, with sweet, ripe, tarry flavours of Syrah, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsaut and Viognier, good acidity and lots of smoky, palate-warming fruit. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-16Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, South Africa, Red, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah/Shiraz, Viognier