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.
Red Varietal: Mourvèdre
Spend less, drink betterby Matt Walls
Virgile Joly: Doing it the hard wayby Simon Woolf
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.
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.
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.
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.
2009 Castillo Perelada, Finca Espolla, Empordà, Empordà( €14, 14% )
Combining Syrah and Monastrella (Mourvèdre), this is made in a modern style. There’s a marked minty note on the nose and palate (almost eucalyptus) that adds another dimension to the spicy, blackberry fruit.
2011 Rhône: the George Harrison vintageby Matt Walls
2011 Les Jamelles, Réserve Mourvèdre, Vin de Pays d'Oc, Languedoc-Roussillon( £6.99, 14%, The Co-operative )
Mourvèdre rarely gets solo billing in the south of France, even in Bandol, its home from home, so it’s good to see this on a supermarket shelf. It’s minty and rich, with sweet bramble and blackberry fruit and the tannins for which the grape is famous.
2010 Yalumba The Strapper Grenache/Shiraz/Mataro, Barossa Valley, South Australia( £11.99, 14%, AC Gallie, Direct Wines, Noble Green Wines, Noel Young Wines )
Great name (I had to read it twice, too), a smart package and one hell of a glug for under £12. This is judiciously oaked, with the accent on soft, ripe, red fruits flavours. There’s a touch of sweet vanilla, a whisper of liquorice and supple, textured tannins on the palate. Essence of Barossa; essence of GSM.
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.