93

2013 Domaine Les Yeuses, Syrah, Les Epices, IGP Pays d'Oc, Languedoc

( £7.99, 13.5%, Majestic )

Is this the best value red in the high street at the moment? It’s certainly the best value Syrah in my view. Yesterday, it was presented with the “Best Red of Show” gong at the Languedoc Roussillon Top 100 Awards in London beating lots of more expensive wines. Wild thyme and rosemary notes, blackberry and bramble fruit, smooth tannins and enough perfume to keep your nostrils twitching for half an hour, this finishes with an intense, savoury flourish. 

BuyDrinking window: 2016-19Similar Wines: £5-£10, 91-95, France, Red, Syrah/Shiraz
89

2011 Finca Carelio Tempranillo, Castilla y León

( £6.66, 14.5%, Majestic )

If I were tasting this blind, I’d put it in Ribera del Duero, rather than the hotter Castilla y León region, such is its freshness and perfume. There’s quite a bit of oak on offer here, but it’s more than balanced by fruit weight and acidity. The tannins are extremely smooth for a wine at this price, complemented by notes of bramble and blackberry, subtle vanilla sweetness and a cool, almost grassy finish. 

BuyDrinking window: 2015-20Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, Spain, Red, Tempranillo
90

2013 Raats Granite Blocks Chenin Blanc, Coastal Region

( £8.61, 13.5%, Majestic )

Bruwer Raats makes some of the best Chenin Blancs in South Africa, expressing precision and place rather than tropical fruit flavours. This Fairtrade-accredited example is very lightly oaked, with just a whiff of cinnamon and vanilla to complement the pear, citrus and stone fruit nuances. Tangy and refreshing with a stony bite. 

BuyDrinking window: 2015-2018Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, South Africa, White, Chenin Blanc
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
94

2009 CVNE Imperial Reserva, Rioja

( £20.49, 14%, Berry Bros & Rudd, Cambridge Wine Merchants, Majestic, The Co-operative, Wimbledon Wine Cellars, Wine Rack )

CVNE’s Imperial is one of Rioja’s best value, ageworthy wines. This is still an infant and will need at least another five years in bottle to come close to its best. Dense, concentrated and sweetly oaked with a chalky undertone adding freshness and bite to the plum and raspberry fruit flavours. Traditional Rioja at its youthful best.

BuyDrinking window: 2015-25Similar Wines: £20-£30, 91-95, Spain, Red, Tempranillo
88

2014 Santa Ana Malbec, Mendoza

( £5.99, 12.5%, Majestic )

Aromatic, attractive and showing all the exuberance and fruit sweetness of Mendoza Malbec at its most appealing, this is all about fruit rather than power, alcohol and oak. There’s enough tannin and structure here to partner a Christmas roast or a thick steak.

BuyDrinking window: 2014-16Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, Argentina, Red, Malbec
90

NV Chandon, Brut, Mendoza

( £14.99, 13%, Majestic )

Moët’s sparkling wines in South America have mostly been a disappointment, but this blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay is a huge improvement on what has gone before. It’s a rich, toasty style with some sweetness from dosage, flavours of hazelnut and brioche and a baking spicy, well balanced finish. 

Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, France, Sparkling, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay
90

NV Chandon, Rosé

( £15.99, 12.5%, Majestic )

An unusual but (for Argentina) rather appropriate blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Malbec, this bronze-tinged rosé is savoury and flavoursome with notes of summer fruits, toast and leesy richness. A very drinkable bottle of bubbles at the price. 

Drinking window: 2014-16Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Argentina, Sparkling, Malbec, Chardonnay
91

2011 Domaines Schlumberger, Riesling Les Princes Abbés, Alsace

( £13.99, 12.5%, Majestic )

It’s a pleasure to drink an Alsace Riesling made in a dry style like this one. Stony, minerally and unoaked, this is tangy and transparent with appealing bottle development but enough concentration to age for another four to eight years. Great with food. 

Drinking window: 2014-20Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, France, White, Riesling
95

2012 Laurent Miquel Vérité Viognier, Pays d'Oc

( £14.99, 13.5%, Majestic )

Laurent Miquel has long been the leading Viognier producer in the south of France, making wines that are as good as most Condrieu but at less than half the price. This vintage is his best yet in my view, a rich, spicy, sumptuous, yet well balanced white, with sweet vanilla oak, just the right amount of acidity to temper the concentration of the wine and hedonistic flavours of apricot, fresh cream and fresh ginger. Available on line initially by the half case, so hurry.  

BuyDrinking window: 2014-18Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, France, White, Viognier