There’s something about this time of year that makes me want to drink claret. I’m generally far too busy enjoying less classic fare to think about the Gironde, but red Bordeaux is just the thing with the turkey. This marriage of Merlot with 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, curated by ace consultant Stéphane Derenoncourt, is entirely unoaked, relying on fruit purity, fine tannins and supporting acidity. It’s just tipping over into middle age, with tobacco and autumn leaf aromas and fleshy red berry and fruitcake flavours. Really delicious at the price.
Made by David Hohnen, the Aussie who created Cloudy Bay Sauvignon, and British Master of Wine Clem Yates, this is a tangy, smoky, reductive style with notes of struck match, citrus and pink grapefruit. It doesn’t taste like a Kiwi Sauvignon, but that’s no bad thing. Taut and refreshing, it shows that Hohnen hasn’t lost his touch with Sauvignon.
The older I get, the more I want to drink refreshing wines that don’t tire my palate, which may explain why I’m drinking more and more Beaujolais. This is Gamay and its gluggable, lip-smacking best, with juicy red berry and bramble fruit, bright acidity and supple tannins. Chill it before serving and see how versatile it is with food.
I told you Janice McDonald was an ace white wine maker and this is further proof of her talents, this time with Riesling. This is a beautifully, poised, ageworthy style, focused and pithy with youth on its side and bone dry, lime-scented fruit. Buy a few bottles and see how they age over the next decade or so.
You don’t get much for less than £3.50 these days, but this Garnacha pink from Bodegas Borsao is very drinkable stuff: dry and pleasantly fruity with flavours of rosehip, cherry and strawberry and vibrant acidity, especially noteworthy from such a warm Spanish region. A chance of celebrate the end of a memorable summer in the UK.
This unoaked, old vine Carignan comes from one of my favourite parts of the world – the Roussillon in southern France. It’s a wild, appealingly unruly red with firmish, sun-kissed tannins, ripe, plum and blackberry fruit and a rich, concentrated finish. You get a lot of wine for your money here.
An unoaked, modern meets traditional style Chianti Riserva from Piccini which blends a dash of Merlot with 95% Sangiovese. This is a medium weight, savoury red with good focus and acidity, some sweetness from the Merlot and fine, filigree tannins. A superior red to go with your bowl of pasta tonight.
Tim “bonecrusher” Adams is equally adept at making whites and reds, but it’s the latter that really stand out for me. This is a big wine, but it’s not ponderous or over done: minty and aromatic with rich, bramble and blackberry fruit, subtle oak and soft, palate-caressing tannins. A wine that, on past form, ages well, too.
A traditional Cava blend (with no sign of international Chardonnay or Pinot Noir), this bottle-fermented and aged fizz is on the dry side, with crisp acidity, a hint of earthiness (more pleasant than it sounds, believe me) and a tangy, lightly toasty finish. Great party fizz.
Just in case you think I’ve got the maths wrong, this wine is already on a deal until October 1st at £16.99, so the combined discount brings it to £12.74. It’s a youthful, Chardonnay-dominated bubbly with 30% Pinot Noir adding fruit to the former variety’s acidity and structure. It could do with a little more bottle age (what do you expect for such a well-priced wine?) so don’t be afraid to tuck it away for a year or two. But right now, it’s very drinkable: zesty and fresh, with notes of citrus, wet stone and brioche.
This wine picked up a best white of show award at a Southern French competition I was involved in earlier this year, so it has proven pedigree. It’s the kind of thing that tastes best with a plate of oysters or, failing that, a piece of white fish or some scallops, but it’s great on its own, too. Pear, apple and a hint of tropical fruit combine appealingly on the palate here, with good acidity and impressive concentration for an every-day white.
The brilliant Plaimont co-operative has done stellar work teasing interesting flavours out of its mostly little known local grapes (Gros Manseng, Petit Courbu and Arufiac, in case you wanted to work on your ampelography skills). This pithy, unoaked blend has plenty of perfume and zesty flavours of pink grapefruit and cox’s apple. The finish is appealingly dry and even a little chalky.