Antinori is one of those producers that rarely, if ever, lets you down, producing everything from good value reds like this Super Tuscan blend to some of the finest wines in Italy. Sangiovese-based with support from 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah, it’s wonderfully scented, smooth and sensitively oaked, displaying flavours of cassis, red cherry and Mediterranean herbs supported by fine-boned tannins and refreshing acidity. Really good at the price.
It’s a long time since I’ve tasted an £8 Australian red as good as this Cabernet Sauvignon from Western Australia, a wine that outperforms anything Bordeaux can produce at the same price point. Leafy, elegant and well-balanced, with fine-grained tannins, subtle tobacco pouch and cassis flavours, a patina of oak spice and a fresh, herbal finish.
Aussie red wines under £7.50 can be something of a lottery, but this is a brilliant value find from the Co-op, sourced from top Shiraz region, Mount Benson. Richly coloured, spicy and very lightly oaked, it has classic blackberry and wild herb flavours, supple tannins and enough acidity to keep the wine perky, fresh and long on the palate.
With the way the pound is behaving at the moment, it’s impressive that the Co-op can keep the price of this stunning frizz from Piper Heidsieck under £17. It’s a classy, toasty, mouth-filling bubbly with creamy bubbles, based on the red grapes, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, but with 20% Chardonnay providing a citrus-edged tang of acidity. The best value Champagne in the country.
Made by the Perrin family, who also make the world-famous Château de Beaucastel in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, this is one serious southern Rhône blend for less than £9. Inky, brambly and well structured with notes of liquorice and thyme, it’s a classic, unoaked Syrah/Grenache blend.
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.
Denis Dubordieu deserves his reputation as one of the best white winemakers in Bordeaux. Clos Floridène is a case in point, a textbook blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and a dash of Muscadelle that benefits from 25% barrel fermentation. Tangy, fresh and grapefruity, this has subtle oak, good texture and minerally flourish.
A strong candidate for the best value supermarket bubbly under £20, this is a special blend of mostly Pinot Noir with 20% Pinot Meunier and 10% Chardonnay. It’s a malty, comparatively dry style with lots of reserve wine richness, flavours of raspberry and milk chocolate, a hint of toasty autolysis and a creamy, well-balanced mid-palate. Smart fizz at the price.
Unoaked Loire Cabernet Franc is one of my favourite styles wine: light, fresh and grassy, with subtle lead pencil aromas and a bright, cool climate finish. That’s exactly what you get here, with acidity that works really well with cheese and red meats.
Great to see a supermarket taking a punt on a top white Graves, especially one made by the brilliant Denis Dubourdieu. This lightly oaked blend of 50% Sauvignon Blanc, 47% Semillon and 3% Muscadelle is delicious, boasting notes of struck match, vanilla, pink grapefruit and subtle gooseberry. It’s the kind of wine that ages really well, too.
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.
Stop press! This is the best Fairtrade wine I’ve had yet from Argentina and one of the best I’ve had from anywhere, too. Sourced from La Rioja (nothing to do with the Spanish region of the same name), it’s very, very aromatic, with wafts of liquourice and violets, a hint of spice and deeply coloured, textured bramble and blackberry fruit. The tannins are plush and sweet, with subtle use of oak. Bravo!