91

2019 Tesco Finest Chianti Classico Riserva, Tuscany

( £10, 13.5%, Tesco )

Chianti Classico is one of those wines that it’s easy to take for granted. It’s the kind of thing that often gets overlooked in our scramble to try new things. But when it’s good, you remember why it’s a staple of the wine world. This very lightly wooded Riserva, made by Melini, is a blend of Sangiovese with 15% Canaiolo and Malvasia Negra. Plum, red cherry and sweet spice flavours are completed by bright, tangy acidity, polished tannins and a lingering finish. The perfect treat with a plate of pasta.

BuyDrinking window: 2024-29Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, Italy, Red, Canaiolo, Malvasia Nera, Sangiovese
92

2020 Rupert & Rothschild Classique, Western Cape

( £18.99, 13.9%, Majestic )

It’s no mean feat to make 1.2 million bottles of a wine that’s as good as this blend of equal parts Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon with 8% Petit Verdot and a splash of Malbec. Blended across the Cape, with components from Stellenbosch, Darling, Wellington and Paarl, it has floral bramble, cassis and red berry flavours, stylish oak, caressing tannins and some understated aromatic spices. A delicious alternative to red Bordeaux.

BuyDrinking window: 2024-30Similar Wines: £15-20, 90-94, South Africa, Red, Malbec, Merlot. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot
91

2021 Umani Ronchi Fonte del Re Lacrima di Morro d'Alba, Marche

( £15.50, 13%, Tesco )

Made with the comparatively rare Lagrima di Morro d’Alba grape, this unwooded Adriatic red is one of the hidden jewels in the sprawling Tesco range. Close your eyes and you could almost be smelling a white wine, as aromas of ginger and Turkish Delight waft from the glass. The palate puts you right, though, as it combines plum and black cherry fruit with plenty of underlying grip and acidity. A perfect wine with a plate of fresh pasta.

BuyDrinking window: 2024-29Similar Wines: £15-20, 90-94, Italy, Red, Lacrima
93

2021 Alta Vista Terroir Selection Malbec, Mendoza

( £15, 14.5%, Sainsbury's )

On offer at Sainsbury’s right now, this is an outstanding value Malbec from one of the country’s best producers. Blending grapes from the Luján de Cuyo and Uco Valley sub-regions of Mendoza, it’s full-bodied, plush, yet remarkably fresh and layered, with aromas of violet and aniseed, sculpted tannins, plum and blueberry fruit and a frame of scented, spicy oak. Good now, but will develop further in bottle.

BuyDrinking window: 2024-32Similar Wines: £15-20, 90-94, Argentina, Red, Malbec
91

2022 The Society's Chinon, The Loire Valley

( £9.99, 13%, The Wine Society )

Partly inspired by a line in Peter Pharos’ latest column, I’ve decided to feature a Chinon as my wine of the week. The Loire Valley is one of those under-rated French regions  that consistently delivers great value for money, especially for Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc lovers. This is a gloriously scented, leafy, unwooded example of the former grape from Famille Bougrier, with crunchy acidity, raspberry and black cherry flavours and top notes of graphite and green herbs. Appealingly juicy.

BuyDrinking window: 2024-30Similar Wines: £5-£10, 90-94, France, Red, Cabernet Franc
90

2020 Tesco Finest Peumo Carmenère, Peumo, Cachapoal Valley

( £8.50, 14%, Tesco )

Something of a bargain within the Tesco range, this is a plush, engagingly scented Carmenère from Peumo, considered one of the best regions for the grape in Chile. Judiciously blend with 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, it’s appealingly unwooded, with flavours of rocket, dark chocolate and green pepper, supple tannins and enough acidity to freshen the finish.

BuyDrinking window: 2024-30Similar Wines: £5-£10, 90-94, Chile, Red, Carmenère
92

2022 Guímaro Tinto, Ribeira Sacra, Galicia

( £17.33, 12.5%, Joseph Barnes Direct. Shrine to the Vine, Les Caves de Pyrene, Tivoli Wines )

Blending components from the steep-sided Sil and Miño Valleys, this wonderfully gluggable, organically farmed  red is based on Mencía with bits and pieces of other co-planted grapes, according to Pedro Rodríguez. Engagingly intense and floral, it’s a white wine drinker’s red in some ways, with lots of zip and acidity, violet and rose petal aromas, refined tannins and layers of raspberry, pomegranate and wild strawberry. Drink lightly chilled.

BuyDrinking window: 2024-29Similar Wines: £15-20, 90-94, Spain, Red, Mencia
92

2019 I Ciacca Nostalgia Maturano, Val di Comino, Lazio

( £28.68, 12%, Shelved Wine )

Something a little different this week. Maturano, not to be confused with Spanish Maturana Blanca, is a new Italian white grape variety to me. Sourced from vines at 600 metres inside a national park between Rome and Naples, it’s very much a southern style, with some appealing bottle age adding complexity. Lees fermented and aged in concrete, it’s appealingly unwooded, with musky, baking spice aromas, a palate of pear, honey and orange zest, some underlying, food-friendly grip and much more acidity than you think on first acquaintance.

BuyDrinking window: 2024-26Similar Wines: £25-30, 90-94, Italy, White, Maturano
93

2020 Domaine Joseph Burrier Juliénas Beauvernay, Beaujolais

( £17.50, 13.5%, The Wine Society )

Juliénas has always been one of the more highly regarded of the ten Beaujolais Crus, and rightly so in my book.  Showing the structure that often seems to feature in the granite-based wines of the northern Beaujolais, this is a complex, layered, intensely perfumed Gamay that’s all about fruit rather than oak, with plum, bramble and raspberry flavours and enough tannin and backbone to develop further in bottle.Lip-smacking stuff.

BuyDrinking window: 2024-29Similar Wines: £15-20, 90-94, France, Red, Gamay
93

2019 Muga Reserva, Rioja

( £19.99 as part of a purchase of six bottles, 14.5%, Majestic )

One of a dwindling number of top Riojas that combines grapes from the Rioja Alta and Rioja Oriental sub-regions, this impressive Reserva is a blend of Tempranillo with 20% Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano. Pairing Tempranillo, 15% Garnacha, 6% Mazuelo and 4% Graciano, with ageing in a 80/20 mix of French and American oak, it’s spicy, succulent and smartly wooded, with raspberry and blueberry fruit, sinewy tannins and plenty of acidity to freshen the finish. Will develop further in bottle.

BuyDrinking window: 2024-2035Similar Wines: £15-20, 90-94, Spain, Red, Garnacha, Graciano, Mazuelo, Tempranillo
94

2017 Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Semillon, Hunter Valley

( From £26.95, 11%, 3-wines.com, Vinum, Wine Republic )

Hunter Semillon has crept up in price over the last decade – I can still remember the days when Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference cost £6.99 – but it remains a comparative bargain among the great wines of the world. This classically unwooded example comes from the famous Lovedale vineyard, planted back in 1946. Still youthful at seven years of age, it has flavours of lime, lemongrass and custard, a hint of the toastiness that will develop with more time in bottle, and a wonderfully tangy finish.

BuyDrinking window: 2024-32Similar Wines: £25-30, 90-94, Australia, White, Semillon
92

2021 Santa Venere Cirò Rosso, Calabria

( £10.95, 13.5%, The Wine Society )

Wines from the southern Italian region of Calabria are comparatively rare in the UK, but this great value, unwooded Gaglioppo from organic vineyards close to the Ionian Sea makes you wonder why. Spicy, earthy and bright, it has has bramble, black tea and red cherry flavours, supple tannins and a dusting of wild herbs. A wine that massively overdelivers at its price point.

BuyDrinking window: 2024-29Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, Italy, Red, Gaglioppo