Made entirely from the Mencia grape (think Tempranaillo crossed with Cabernet France in style) this is a perfumed, refreshing red that carries its 14.5% alcohol without any apparent struggle. Pepper spicy and aromatic, with notes of wild thyme and lavender, this unoaked, faintly chewy red is a delight. Great with roast lamb.
País (known as Mission in California and Criolla in Argentina) was the grape that the Spaniards brought first to South America. For all its antiquity, it tends to make pretty basic wines, largely because it’s mostly over-cropped and grown in the wrong places. This Chilean example shows another side to the variety, made with carbonic maceration for maximum fruit impact and soft, sweetly textured tannins. Bright and juicy, with notes of raspberry, red cherrry and just a hint of pepper spice, it’s the perfect summery red. Pass me the ice bucket.