91

Magpie Estate SF2, Barossa Valley

( £13.99, 14.5, Noel Young Wines )

If you want to drink a Barossa red with very little oak but bags of flavour, this unfiltered, co-fermented cuvée of Mataro (Mourvèdre) and 35% Grenache is well worth tracking down. Spicy and peppery, with some stemmy whole bunch flavours, floral top notes, mint, raspberry and bramble fruit and fine-grained tannins.

BuyDrinking window: 2019-24Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Australia, Red, Grenache, Mourvèdre

The hidden red of the Southern Rhône

by Matt Walls
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge – and her sister, Pippa. Andy Murray – and his brother, Jamie. Beyoncé Knowles – and her sister, Solange. Having a more famous brother or sister...
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,...
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

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

2012 Château L’Hospitalet Grand Vin, La Clape, Languedoc

( £16.66, 14.5, Majestic )

One of the best wines of the Languedoc, delivering incredible value for money and a rich array of aromas and flavours, this strapping, Syrah-based blend is smooth and intense, with bags of black fruits and Mediterranean herbs and seamlessly integrated oak.

BuyDrinking window: 2015-20Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, France, Red, Grenache, Mourvèdre, 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

Spend less, drink better

by Matt Walls
The UK is a nation of bargain hunters. There are more pound shops on Britain’s high streets than bookstores. When it comes to wine we’re no different; most of what...

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...
92

2008 Domaine de Montcalmès, Coteaux du Languedoc, Languedoc Roussillon

( £20, 14%, The Wine Society )

One of the best reds in the Languedoc (and at a very affordable price, too), this blend of Syrah with 20% each of Grenache and Mourvèdre also proves that the region’s top wines age gracefully. It’s sweet and savoury with fruit flavours that nod towards Pinot Noir as well as more Mediterranean varieties, but with a dusting of wild herbs and a touch more alcohol.

BuyDrinking window: 2013-15Similar Wines: £20-£30, 91-95, France, Red, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah/Shiraz
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