94

2009 Bertagna, Clos de Vougeot, Burgundy

( ££££, 13.5%, Fine + Rare )

Mid ruby/red with a pinkish rim. There’s some evidence of whole bunch fermetnation on the nose and palate here – a slight greenness that adds some texture and structure. The wine is quite extracted, but is clearly built for the longer haul, with notes of vanilla, fresh earth and raspberry and summer pudding fruit. 

Drinking window: 2013-20Similar Wines: Under £5, 96-100, France, Red, Pinot Noir
86

2009 La Reine Pédauque, Clos de Vougeot, Burgundy

( ££££, 13.5%, Fine + Rare )

Mid ruby with a pinkish rim. Youthfaul and bright on the nose, albeit witn an overlay of oak. On the palate the wine is quite extracted with marked acidity and not enough fruit to compensate. A wine that is closer to a 2008 than 2009 in style, with firm, dry tannins and rather thin fruit flavours. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-20Similar Wines: Under £5, 86-90, France, Red, Pinot Noir
86

2009 Chantal Lescure, Clos de Vougeot, Burgundy

( ££££, 13.5%, Fine + Rare )

Deep ruby, youthful, garnet coloured at the rim. Dense, compact, with some minty reduction. A little bitter with high acidity, perhaps suffering from bottle shock? High acid and tannin, not very complex. Lacks what should be the redeeming feature of the vintage: namely, fruit. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-20Similar Wines: Under £5, 86-90, France, Red, Pinot Noir
90

2010 La Garnacha, Salvaje del Moncayo

( £7.99, 13.5%, Majestic )

This youthful, strikingly packaged Garnacha comes from the Ribera del Quielles region of northern Spain. It’s made from young vines – hence, in part, its juiciness – and it’s a stunner, with lots of sweet bramble and raspberry fruit, hints of pepper and clove spice and a palate-cleansing finish. If you like your Garnacha fresh rather than baked, you’ll love this wine. 

BuySimilar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, Spain, Red, Grenache
91

2009 Cape Chamonix Pinotage

( £13, 14.2%, Oddbins )

If you’ve always struggled with the idea that Pinotage is the Cape’s USP, try a glass of this amazing example from Pinot Noir specialist Cape Chamonix in Franschhoek. It’s made in a ripasso style (like some Valpolicellas) to give it a little more alcohol and weight. It’s supple, smooth and sensitively oaked with black plum and blackberry fruit, sweet oak and a harmonious finish. Best of all, perhaps, it doesn’t taste like most Pinotage. 

BuySimilar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, South Africa, Red, Other Reds
89

2010 Tesco Finest Picpoul de Pinet, Languedoc

( £7.29, 12.5%, Tesco )

On offer from April 2nd to the 30th (the price comes down to a very attractive £5.79), this is a textbook example of the Languedoc’s best seafood white. Citrus and white pepper on the nose, with a hint of white peach, this is zesty, medium-bodied and unoaked, with a fresh, tangy finish. Try it with a plate of oysters or mussels. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-2013Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, France, Red, Other Whites
92

2011 De Martino Viejas Tinajas Cinsault, Itata Valley

( £8.95, 13%, The Wine Society )

I don’t want to overstate the case here, but this could be the start of a Chilean red wine revolution. It’s unusual in at least three respects: it’s made from old vine, unirrigated Cinsault grown in the cool southerly region of Itata, it was fermented in amphorae and it has a lowly (for Chile) 13% alcohol. The result is is a refreshing, juicy, balanced, cherry and raspberry fruity red of great finesse and length. A welcome relief from over-oaked, over-alcoholic Chilean reds.

BuySimilar Wines: £5-£10, 91-95, Chile, Red, Other Reds
91

2010 Plan de Dieu Côtes du Rhône Villages, Domaine de la Meynarde

( £7.99, 13.5%, Marks & Spencer )

I hope you’ll forgive me for choosing another 2010 Rhône red as my wine of the week, but they are just so delicious. This unoaked blend of mostly Grenache with 25% Syrah, 10% Carignan amd 10% Mourvèdre is quintessential stuff: ripe, but still refreshing with sweet plums and red fruits on the palate backed up by clove and pepper spice. I could drink a bottle of this in one sitting, especially with a good stew or barbecued ribs. 

BuySimilar Wines: £5-£10, 91-95, France, Red, Grenache, Other Reds, Syrah/Shiraz
91

2010 Langhe Nebbiolo, Andrea Oberto

( £14.95, 14, Lea & Sandeman )

If you love Nebbiolo (and who doesn’t?) but can’t afford to drink top Barolo, this lighter style is a brilliant introduction to one of Italy’s two best red grapes. It’s subtle and fragrant, with a raspberry sweetness that reminds me of red Burgundy, backed up by fine, but not remotely aggressive tannins. Complex, leafy and well balanced, this is delicious now, but will develop for at least another five years. 

BuySimilar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Italy, Red, Nebbiolo
90

2009 Paololeo Primitivo di Manduria, Puglia

( £10.99, 14.5%, Waitrose )

Paololeo is one of the most exciting producers of Primitivo in Puglia, making stylish, modern, concentrated wines that aspire to match the quality of southern Italy’s best reds, especially at a price like this. Figs and pepper spice on the nose, with sweet vanilla oak, flavours of dark chocolate, plum and fresh tobacco and a refreshing, yet structured finish. The wine looks as good as it tastes, which is saying a good deal. Drink now to 5 years. 

BuySimilar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Italy, Red, Other Reds
91

2008 Domaine des Rochelles Anjou Villages-Brissac La Croix de La Mission

( £16.25, 14%, Haynes, Hanson & Clark )

Unusually for the Loire, which generally struggles to ripen the grape, this wine is made predominantly from Cabernet Sauvignon, blended with 10% Cabernet Franc. The result is delicious, with aromas of green pepper and graphite, supple fruit flavours and a creamy, smooth texture. In style, it’s mid-way between a claret and Bierzo red, but with a freshness and elegance which is typical of the Loire.

BuySimilar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, France, Red, Cabernet Franc
90

2010 Anakena Single Vineyard Deu Pinot Noir, Leyda Valley

( £7.99, 13.5%, Majestic )

Drinkable Pinot Noir, let alone very drinkable Pinot Noir, under £8 is one of wine’s holier grails. This Chilean example from increasingly fashionable Leyda offers even better value than that. From 22nd of November it will be down to £6.99 each for two months. The wine tastes as good as it looks, with sweet raspberry and red cherry flavours, a touch of oak and refreshing, cool climate acidity. There’s some leafy complexity here, too.

BuySimilar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, Chile, Red, Pinot Noir