97

2009 Georges Mugneret-Gibourg, Clos de Vougeot, Burgundy

( ££££, 13.5%, Fine + Rare )

If you can get past the outrageously heavy bottle (and I had trouble lifting it off the table), this is a superb wine. Bright, youthful, ruby red in colour. Lovely bramble and wild strawberry fruit on the nose. Plush and sweet with good acidity for balance. So Pinot? Silky, scented, beguiling, gentle with impressive delicacy for the vintage. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-13Similar Wines: Under £5, 96-100, France, Red, Pinot Noir
94

2009 Domaine Denis Mortet, Clos de Vougeot, Burgundy

( ££££, 13.5%, Fine + Rare )

There’s no denying the quaility or ambition of the wines from this revitalised domaine. This is a very powerful Pinot, closer to a top Gevrey than a Clos de Vougeot. There’s a lot of oak on the wine at the moment, but this is a wine that is built for bottle age. The underlying fruit is excellent, just waiting to strut its stuff in five years or more. 

BuyDrinking window: 2017-25Similar Wines: Under £5, 91-95, France, Red, Pinot Noir
91

2009 Château de la Tour, Clos de Vougeot, Burgundy

( ££££, 13.5%, Fine + Rare )

Intense mid rubyintense colour. Ripe, aromatic, heady (almost hedonistic?) nose, showing some forest floor and fresh leather notes. Big, ripe and bold, this is something of a statement wine. It’s arguably a little simple, reflecting the vintage as much as the terroir. The wine is ripe, with plenty of extraction and a slightly hot, dry finish. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-20Similar Wines: Under £5, 91-95, France, Red, Pinot Noir
92

2007 Marti Fabra Masia Carreras, Empordà

( E18, 15%, El Celler Petit )

The first thing you notice about this wine on the nose is the oak. And the impression doesn’t change on the palate. And yet there is a lot of wine behind the staves: a wild, herby, spicy, minerally red based on Samsó with a bit of Merlot for extra padding. I’d be tempted to give this some time in bottle, because it’s got wonderful freshness and minerality and a dense, complex finish. You don’t notice the high alcohol, although this is certainly a ripe style. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-17Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Spain, Red, Carignan, Merlot
93

2008 Vinyes dels Aspres S'Alou, Empordà

( E24, 15%, El Celler Petit )

Sourced from the oldest vines on the property, David Molas’ Grenache-based red is strongly marked by Syrah on the nose and palate. The granite soils and high altitude give the wine real freshness and minerality, despite the high alcohol. Perfumed, with violets and liquorice on the nose, sweet blackberry fruit, supple, grainy tannins and a lift of herbal spice. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-17Similar Wines: £20-£30, 91-95, Spain, Red, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, Grenache, Syrah/Shiraz
91

2007 Arché Pagès Bonfill, Empordà

( E18, 15%, El Celler Petit )

A blend of Grenache, Samsó and Cabernet Sauvignon from Bonfill Pagès’ vineyards in Capmany, with lots of oak and a dense, concentrated palate. The wine is a little too marked by alcohol perhaps, but the tannins are sweet and well managed here. Wild, sweet, herby and minerally with impressiv freshness and a lift of volatility. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-14Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Spain, Red, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, Grenache
91

2009 Hugas de Batlle Coma Fredosa, Empordà

( E15, 15%, El Celler Petit )

Edu de Batlle farms some of the most picturesque vines in Empordà. This wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon with some spicy Garnacha adding a layer of complexity. The wildness of the vineyard is there in the wine, too: feral, wind-blown, sun-baked. It’s high in alcohol, with a hint of volatility, but the wine is dense and complex with sweet, fig and ripe plum fruit. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-15Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Spain, Red, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache
87

2010 Espelt Terres Negres, Empordà

( E13, 14%, El Celler Petit )

Espelt is the second biggest winery in Empordà after Perellada. This Carignan-dominated blend from old vines in Rabós is marked by volatility, but it works in a wild, herby Medieterranean sort of way. Medium bodied and fresh, with sweet red fruits, some liquorice, slightly baked fruit and a lifted finish. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-14Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Spain, Red, Carignan
90

2007 Castillo Perelada Finca La Garriga, Empordà

( E19, 15%, El Celler Petit )

Sweet, oaky, concentrated Samsó that still demonstrates the variety’s characteristic freshness and wildness. The oak is a little too obvious (some might call it seductive), but this is a big, dense, stylish, modern wine with notes of sweet Mediterranean herbs and Angostura bitters. Needs food. The volatility might be too high for some. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-16Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Spain, Red, Carignan
92

2007 Roig Parals Camí de Cormes, Empordà

( E20, 15%, El Celler Petit )

If you want to taste really old vine Samsó (and we’re talking 120 years here), try this. Dense, complex, minerally and wild with freshness to balance the concentration and high alcohol. This comes from the plain, but tastes like a mountain wine, with sweet red fruits, a touch of volatility and appealing minerality. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-15Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Spain, Red, Carignan
95

2008 Vinyes d'Olivardots 2.08, Empordà

( E35, 15%, El Celler Petit )

Sandy soils, low production, 100-year-old vines: essence of Samsó. Wow! Super dense, very complex, savoury, spicy, lovely fruit sweetness, fine tannins, subtle oak and a finish that lingers on the palate. Wild, Mediterranean herbs, some wood smoke, fresh acidity, liquorice and red and black fruits. A superb wine. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-18Similar Wines: £30-£50, 91-95, Spain, Red, Carignan