There are no fewer than six varieties in this well-crafted red from the high flying Iona winery in Elgin. Syrah dominates to the tune of 80%, with support from Cabernet, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Mourvèdre and Viognier. The wine has real density, with smoky, bramble and blackberry fruit, toasty oak and the freshness you’d expect from a cooler area. A bright debut.
If you can’t afford Comtes de Champagne (the 2000 is delicious), this is a more than acceptable substitute at under £50. It’s got lovely toasty, autolytic complexity, notes of grilled hazelnuts and citrus fruit and a very long, satifying finish. A delicious fizz.
Taittinger is in a rich vein of form at the moment, from this its non vintage blend right up the Olympian heghts of Comtes de Champagne. This is dry, toasty and well balanced with Chardonnay providing the freshness and lift on the palate. Appealingly dry for non vintage blend, using bottle age rather than sweetness for balance.
Freixenet was opposed to “”international varieties” for many years, but I’m glad it has relented, because this is a very well made blend of Pinot and Chardonnay. Savoury and dry, with a Cava-like twist, it’s palate-tinglingly fresh and long.
A comparatively old-fashioned, worked style of Chardonnay, with lots of sweet peach and coconut flavours, but plenty of fresh acidity to keep the whole barrage ballon up in the air. Mealy and slightly sweet, with bags of fruit.
A ripe, expressive , full-bodied Tuscan blend of no fewer than seven Bordeaux, Rhône and Tuscan vareities. The wine is is ripe and textured, with sweet oak, ripe fig and plum flavours and attrctive clove spice. The oak os a little drying on the finish perhaps.
Heady, aromatic, garrigue-saturated red blend of Carignan, Grenache and Syrah, made in a modern style with some carbonic maceration and French oak. Richly aromaitc, with lots of fresh herbs and a sweet, spicy succulence. Needs a barbecue to show at its best.
Sourced from the Pla de Bages appellation in Catalonia, this is made from the same grape as Picpoul de Pinet, but is somehow weightier and spicier than many French examples. Pear and apple with an undertone of peach, Mediterranean herbs and crunchy, zesty acidity.
Attractive Margaux made in a very approachable style, even for a 2009, with sweet cassis fruit and stylish oak integration. The wine has good acidity for the vintage, with elegant, fine-grained tannins and good palate length. Not a keeper, but attractive now.
It’s worth paying a little extra to secure a bottle of this special Premier Cru from Domaines Brocard, as it has even more weight and concentration. There’s great texture here, with notes of citrus fruit and fresh cream and a stony, chalky finish. Fantastic value and a brilliant expression of a very good Chablis vintage.
Comparatively developed for a 2010, but this still has attractive aromas of white flowers and acacia honey, with fresh acidity and good concentration. I’d just like to see a little more zip in its step.
Juicy, modern Valpol with more weight than most examples of Italy’s wine bar red. Unoaked, packed with brambly, raspberry fruit and bright acidity. A wine that surprises you with its seriousness. Perfect for a screwcap closure.