Tim Atkin | Master of Wine

Tim’s Tasting Notes

90

2014 Domaine des Garennes Empreinte Blanc, Saumur, Loire Valley

€10, 13, From the domaine

Youthful, pithy and still quite tight, this barrel-fermented Chenin needs more time in bottle to show what it's really capable of. Apple, citrus and pear flavours are complemented by stony minerality, some vanilla spice and a tangy, focused finish. 

PorkChickenFish

 

 
 

91

2015 Masseria Pietrosa Verdeca, Cantine San Marzano, Puglia

£6 down from £8, 13%, Morrison's

Even at its normal price, this fine-looking Italian white from the country's boot heel is a total bargain, but at £6 it shoudl ahve people queueing out of the door. Blending the local Verdeca grape (not the same thing as Verdejo) with 2.5% each of Sauvignon Blanc and Malvasia, it's a tangy, crunchy thirstquencher with flavours of pear and orange zest and lovely texture. 

FishVegetables

 

 
 

89

2015 Rojalet Negre, Montsant

£7.99, 13.5, Majestic

Montsant is not as famous as neighbouring Priorat, but generally offers much better value. Blending Garnacha and Carignan, this isn't short of alcohol (we're close to the Med after all), but it has plenty of spice, plum and bramble fruit concentration and stony minerality for balance. In summer, it would make a great barbecue red. Right now, try it with winter stew. 

BeefLambGame

 

 
 

92

2015 Laderas del Tiétar Garnacha, Gredos

£8.50, 14%, The Wine Society

Spain has grubbed up a depressing amount of its Garnacha plantings in the last 20 years, but the grape is still capable of great things, even at this sort of very affordable price. Hailing from the high altitude Grelos Mountains near Madrid, this is a remarkably fresh, refined wine that nods towards Pinot Noir and Cinsault in style. Tangy acidity, raspberry and redcurrant fruit and a long refreshing finish are complemented by silky tannins. Stunning value. 

BeefLambSpicy

 

 
 

90

2013 Famille Perrin Les Cornuds, Vinsobres, Rhône Valley

£8.99, 13.5%, The Co-operative

Made by the Perrin family, who also make the world-famous Château de Beaucastel in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, this is one serious southern Rhône blend for less than £9. Inky, brambly and well structured with notes of liquorice and thyme, it's a classic, unoaked Syrah/Grenache blend. 

BeefLambBarbecue

 

 
 

90

2013 Philippe Michel Chardonnay, Crémant du Jura, Jura

£7.49, 12%, Aldi

Consistently among the best value whites in the Aldi range (and that's a high bar to clear), this Jura fizz is frothy and tangy, showing notes of pear tart, a hint of brioche and the structure and acidity you expect from cool climate Chardonnay. 

 

 
 

88

2015 Poggio Civetta, Tuscany

£6.99, 12.5%, Majestic

If you're looking for an easy drinking pink to quaff over the next few weeks, this pale rosé made from "typical Tuscan varieties"  is a snip at under £7 (as long as you buy five other bottles at Majestic). There's a spicy, wild herb-like note to the raspberry fruit that's backed up by a nip of tannin. 

FishVegetables

 

 
 

90

2012 Torre del Falasco, Cantina Valpantena, Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore, Veneto

£9.99, 14%, Rude Wines

Less sweet than many commercial Ripasso bottlings - and none the worse for that - this is also showing a bit of bottle-aged complexity, combining notes of plum, strawberry and fig, a nip of tannin and no obvious oak. The combination of fruit, acidity and residual sugar is very well handled here. 

PastaBeefLamb

 

 
 

93

2013 Domaine Les Yeuses, Syrah, Les Epices, IGP Pays d'Oc, Languedoc

£7.99, 13.5%, Majestic

Is this the best value red in the high street at the moment? It's certainly the best value Syrah in my view. Yesterday, it was presented with the "Best Red of Show" gong at the Languedoc Roussillon Top 100 Awards in London beating lots of more expensive wines. Wild thyme and rosemary notes, blackberry and bramble fruit, smooth tannins and enough perfume to keep your nostrils twitching for half an hour, this finishes with an intense, savoury flourish. 

BeefLambGame

 

 
 

92

2014 Domaine de la Noblaie Le Temps des Cerises, Chinon, Loire Valley

£8.95, 13%, The Wine Society

Is Loire Cabernet Franc finally getting the recognition it deserves, partly because of the rise in the grape's fortunes elsewhere? If so, it's about time. Where else can you find a wine as complex as this Chinon for under £9? It's a classically grassy, refreshing red with no apparent oak and remarkable elegance and fruit purity. Drink it chilled, and drink lots of it. 

BeefLambGameCheese