What’s the future for Chinese wine?

by Tim Atkin
First time visitors to Beijing are often struck by the pollution that seems to blanket the city on a daily basis, reducing visibility and filling lungs with undesirable gunk. It’s...
88

2013 Oller del Mas, Petit Bernat, Pla de Bages

( £9, 14% )

A great value blend of Picapoll Negre, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot made in an easy drinking style, with a touch of oak for added structure and complexity. Supple, attractive, raspberry and red cherry fruit with smooth tannins and balancing acidity. A really good quaffing red. 

BuyDrinking window: 2014-16Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, Spain, Red, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Picapoll Negre, Syrah/Shiraz
92

2008 Domaine Bessa Valley, Enira Reserva, Bessa Valley

( £17.95, 14.5%, Salisbury Wine Shop, The Fine Wine Company )

It’s a real pleasure to see such impressive wines emerging from Bulgaria, a country that has lost its way over the last 20 years, but is now back on the right path. This wine is the flag bearer of the new wave. It’s a blend of Merlot, Petit Verdot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, made by a group of owners that includes Stephan von Neipperg of Château Canon La Gaffelière, and it has a smooth, international feel to it. Minty, fruit sweet and stylishly oaked, it combines flavours of cassis, fruitcake and red berries with a sheen of vanilla oak. Good now, but will age for another five years with ease.

Drinking window: 2014-16Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Bulgaria, Red, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Syrah/Shiraz
90

2010 Château Clément-Pichon, Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux

( £12.50, 14%, Fine + Rare )

A cru bourgeois that punches well above its weight, this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot typifies the best feautures of the 2010 vintage: freshness and concentration of flavour. It’s ripe, yet well balanced with flavours of cassis and plum, a hint of damson and fine, structured tannins. Needs time. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-17Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Red, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot
90

2009 Château Sénéjac, Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux

( £13.99, 13.5%, The Co-operative )

On a deal for the next week, before it reverts to £16.99 after Christmas, this is a well-balanced, aromatic claret that is more focused and refined than many 2009s, but is still pretty forward and full of flavour: with subtle oak, riple plum and blueberry fruit and medium weight tannins. Very drinkable. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-15Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, France, Red, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot
91

2010 La Chapelle de Potensac, Médoc

( £19.99 downto £14.99, 13.5%, Marks & Spencer )

Made by the same team that produces the world famous St Julien second growth, Château Léoville-Las-Cases, this is a Médoc that really punches above its supposedly lightweight status. It’s a Merlot-dominated blend with 31% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot for company. Elegant and well balanced, it shows the poise that is typical of the best 2010s, with subtle oak, sweet raspberry and cassis fruit and well-defined tannins. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-18Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, France, Red, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot