Tim Atkin | Master of Wine

Tim’s Tasting Notes

89

2015 Domaine des Garennes Le Brossay, Saumur, Loire Valley

€4.80, 12.5, From the domaine

A youthful, easy-drinking, well-priced Cabernet Franc grown on clay and limestone soils on the Champ de Liveau plateau, this is grassy and refreshing with supple tannins, plenty of the perfume that's typical of the variety and a twist of graphite. Very attractive at the price. 

LambGame

 

 
 

93

2014 Zorzal, Eggo Malbec, Tupungato, Mendoza

£15.95, 13.5%, www.corkingwines.co.uk; www.slurp.co.uk

Fermented and aged in concrete eggs, as its name suggests, this is a wonderful blend of Malbec with a little Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon from the Michelini brothers. Typically light and refreshing, with sappy, tangy, black cherry flavours, bright acidity and no wood at all. Modern Argentina at its refreshing, spicy best. 

BeefLambGame

 

 
 

91

2015 Château de la Parenchère, Bordeaux

£11.30, 13.5%, Peter Osbourne Fine Wines

Made for the first time in 2006, this was grafted over from Cabernet Franc vines to produce a blend of Sauvignon Blanc with 20% Semillon and 15% Muscadelle. Proving that you don't need a swanky address in Pessac-Léognan to make tasty Bordeaux Blanc, it's tangy, aromatic and sappy with hints of struck match and grapefruit and a waxy, herbal undertone from the Semillon. 

FishVegetables

 

 
 

91

2013 Trinity Hill The Gimblett, Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay

£17, 13.5%,

An impressive, four-way blend of mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, assisted by Merlot, Cabernet Franc and a dash of Petit Verdot, that nods towards the Médoc as much as its native New World. Floral, refined and well balanced with stylish, savoury oak, a solid backbone of tannin and a tangy, refreshing finish. A wien that slides over the tongue. 

PastaBeefLamb

 

 
 

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

 

 
 

93

2011 Les Blancs Manteaux, Domaine de la Noblaie , Chinon, Loire Valley

£13.50, 13%, Haynes, Hanson & Clark

The “white coats” in the name refers to the limestone soils that give this remarkable Cabernet Franc its refreshing minerality. Pure, almost transparent winemaking allows the terroir to speak. Grassy, elegant and refined with a long, polished finish and filigree tannins.

PastaBeefLamb

 

 
 

88

2013 Oller del Mas, Petit Bernat, Pla de Bages

£9, 14%,

A great value blend of Picapoll Negre, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot made in an easy drinking style, with a touch of oak for added structure and complexity. Supple, attractive, raspberry and red cherry fruit with smooth tannins and balancing acidity. A really good quaffing red. 

LambGameBarbecueVegetables

 

 
 

88

2011 The Co-operative Truly Irresistible Domaine de La Noblaie Chinon, Loire

£8.95, 13.5%, The Co-operative

Unoaked Loire Cabernet Franc is one of my favourite styles wine: light, fresh and grassy, with subtle lead pencil aromas and a bright, cool climate finish. That's exactly what you get here, with acidity that works really well with cheese and red meats.

PastaBeefLambGameCheese

 

 
 

90

2010 Château Clément-Pichon, Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux

£12.50, 14%, Fine + Rare

A cru bourgeois that punches well above its weight, this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot typifies the best feautures of the 2010 vintage: freshness and concentration of flavour. It's ripe, yet well balanced with flavours of cassis and plum, a hint of damson and fine, structured tannins. Needs time. 

BeefCheese

 

 
 

90

2009 Château Sénéjac , Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux

£13.99, 13.5%, The Co-operative

On a deal for the next week, before it reverts to £16.99 after Christmas, this is a well-balanced, aromatic claret that is more focused and refined than many 2009s, but is still pretty forward and full of flavour: with subtle oak, riple plum and blueberry fruit and medium weight tannins. Very drinkable. 

BeefLambGameCheese