It’s not the easiest grape in the world to love (those tannins can be a little firm, like a Greek version of the Portuguese Baga grape) but Agiorgitiko is that country’s best variety. This is a very fruity example, but it’s still got backbone and acidity behind the chalky red cherry and pomegranate flavours. Make sure you eat this with robust food or cheese.
Retailer: The Wine Society
2013 Domaine Jones, Grenache Gris, IGP Côtes Catalanes, Languedoc-Roussillon( £14.90-£16.99, 13.5%, The Wine Society )
Focused, herbal, pithy white from the talented Katie Jones, who is making ground-breaking wines in the Languedoc-Roussillon. There are notes of nutmeg spice, citrus and pear on this beautifully framed dry white, with a bone dry, almost saline finish.
2011 Gandolini, Cabernet Sauvignon, Las 3 Marias, Maipo Andes, Maipo Andes, Maipo Valley( £25, 14%, The Wine Society )
This impressive Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon comes from the foothills of the Andes rather than the flatter expanses of the Maipo Valley and it shows in the quality and definition of the wine. It’s a dense, compact, ageworthy red with rich flavours of plum, cassis and blackberry, sweet, toasty oak, structured tannins and excellent concentration. Built to last, it should develop further complexity over the next five to eight years.
2013 Quinta de Azevedo, Vinho Verde( £7.25, 11%, The Wine Society )
The price of this eminently gluggable Vinho Verde has crept up in recent years (although it’s sometimes on a deal at Majestic), but it was almost too cheap before, given its quality. It’s light and refreshing, with appealing spritz, a whiff of the Atlantic and delicious peach, guava and citrus notes. Just as good as many more expensive Spanish Albariños produced on the other side of the border.
2012 The Society's Corbières, Corbières, Languedoc-Roussillon( £7.25, 14%, The Wine Society )
You can find cheaper Corbières on the market, some of which will challenge your dental enamel, but this delivers plenty of wine at the price. Sourced from Château Ollieux Romanis, it’s a youthful, wild herb-scented red with the accent squarely on fruit rather than oak. Juicy, bouncy and bright, it’s just the thing for a summer (or late spring) barbecue.
2011 Canyon Park, The Guardians MRV, Danube Plain( £14.95, 13%, The Wine Society )
With a name like Canyon Park, let alone a price tag close to £15, the last place you’d expect this blend of Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier to come from is Bulgaria, but the country that gave us impossibly cheap Cabernet Sauvignon in the 1980s is emerging from the Eastern European doldrums at last. This is smoky, savoury and perfumed, with aromas of jasmine and honeysuckle, ripe, pear and apricot flavours and subtle oak integration. A sign of very good things to come?
2007 Hugel Gewurztraminer Vendage Tardive, Alsace( £33.00, 13%, The Wine Society )
There’s no mistaking the grape variety of this late picked Alsace dessert wine. It’s a classic lychee and rose petal style Gewürz, with sweet apricot, pineapple and peach flavours and a hint of exotic spice. Very decadent.
2008 Château Ollieux Romanis Atal Sia, Corbières Boutenac, Languedoc-Roussillon( £17, 14%, The Wine Society )
Sourced from the best area of the Corbières, this Carignan-based blend is a stunner, exhibiting aromas of lavender, mint, rosemary, plum and blackberry, with serious, ageworthy tannins and an unmistakeable whiff of garrigue. Essence of the south of France. And another wine that has aged extremely well.
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.
2010 Château Sainte-Eulalie, Minervois La Livinière, Languedoc-Roussillon( £11.50, 14.5%, The Wine Society )
Syrah, Grenache and Carignan combine to very good effect in this dense, spicy, garrigue-scented red from the best part of the Minervois appellation. It’s a sun-kissed number with ripe, yet full tannins, flavours of blackberry, rosemary, thyme and liquorice and a chalky undertone from its vineyard source. Inky and ripe, but fresh and fine at the same time.
2012 Principe Pallavicini Poggio Verde Frascati Superiore Secco, Rome( £8.50, 13.5%, The Wine Society )
Proper, bone-dry Frascati with good concentration and plenty of herbal, Mediterranean flavours. Saline and slightly bitter (no bad thing here, if you’re drinking the wine with food), this is a tangy, palate-cleansing white with a nutty finish.
2009 Villa di Vetrice Chianti Rufina Riserva, Tuscany( £9.95, 13%, The Wine Society )
Chaintis from Rufina often have a slightly savoury, even rustic note to them, which distinguishes them from Classico styles. This great value example certainly has a little of that, but it’s offset by sweet red fruits. This is a fairly traditional style, combining Sangiovese with Canaiolo, with fairly sturdy tannins and a lift of volatile acidity. A pasta-bashing red.