Tim Atkin | Master of Wine

Tim’s Tasting Notes

93

2015 Boutinot Les Six, Cairanne, Rhône Valley

£12.99, 14.5%, D. Byrne

Made with six different varieties - nothing compared with Châteuneuf-du-Pape's 14, but still quite a large number - this is a superb, modern, Grenache-dominated Cairanne, which carries its comparatlvely high alcohol lightly, thanks to the structure and acidity of the 2015 vintage. Spicy tapenade and wild herb aromas segue into a smooth, deftly oaked palate with very fine tannins and a core of sweet, tarry blackberry and blueberry fruit. Outstanding value. 

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96

2014 Koyle Cerro Basalto, Los Lingues, Colchagua Valley

£17, 14, The Wine Society

Grown on basalt soils identified as ideal by the French terroir consultant, Claude Bourguignon, for Mediterranean grapes, this is a stunning blend of mostly Mourvèdre with Grenache, Carignan and Syrah. Liquorice, damson, tapenade and blackberry flavours are embellished by bright acidity, savoury, grippy tannins and just a hint of oak.

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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. 

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92

2013 Domaine Jones, Les Perles de Jones Carignan Vieilles Vignes, Vin de France, Languedoc Roussillon

£18.50, 14.5%, www.domainejones.com

Carignan is one of those under-rated grapes that can make fantastic wines if the vines are old and grown in a propitious terroir. This is on the ripe side, but it's not top heavy in the slightest. Damson and blueberry fruit flavours are complemented by minerality and acidity and a wild herb-like note. Surprisingly refreshing for a wine of this ripeness. 

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92

2013 Domaine Jones, Fitou, Languedoc Roussillon

£13.50, 14.5%, The Wine Society

Once upon a time, I used to own a bit of vineyard land in Fitou. I just wish I'd done something as useful with it as Katie Jones has. This blend of Carignan, Grenache and Syrah is all about perfume and dark, sun-kissed fruit, constructed around a core of freshness and stony minerality. One of the most exciting Fitous I've tasted in years. 

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93

2011 Mas Cal Demoura, L'Infidèle, Languedoc-Roussillon

£19.90, 14%, l'Anson Wines; Cambridge Wine Merchant

A blend of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Carignan and Cinsault from one of the best terroirs in the Languedoc region of southern France, this is a very stylish wine with a minty edge to it. Smooth, subtle and complex, with refined tannins, sweet blackberry and bramble fruit, subtle oak and refreshing acidity. Balanced, nuanced winemaking. 

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94

2011 Los Amigos, Rogue Vine, Super Itata, Itata Valley

POA, 13.1%,

If its name is anything to go by, this is the top of the range red from Leonardo Erazo's Itata operation. It's a typicaly harmonious blend of Syrah, Malbec and Carignan, made in homeopathic quantities. Light, fresh and focused, it's another outstanding red with savoury tannins, tangy acidity and a beguiling combination of flavours: clove, pepper, plum, black cherry and graphite. Complex winemaking of a high order. 

 

 
 

93

2010 Los Amigos, Rogue Vine, El Insolente Single Vineyard, Itata Valley

POA, 12.8%,

Like the 2008 vintage of El Inosolente, this is made entirely from bush vine Carignan grown in the Itata Valley. If anything, it's a step up in quality, which is saying a good deal. Deeply coloured and concentrated, yet not heavy or ponderous in any way, this is a wine that's all about fruit and balance rather than oak and extraction. Perfumed, savoury and refreshing, with bramble and balckberry fruit, firm but harmonious tannins and a long, refreshing finish. 

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92

2012 Celler de Capçanes, Peraj Ha'abib, Montsant

£25.95, 14.5%,

This is a complex blend of old vine Garnacha with Cabernet Sauvignon and Carignan (Samsó) from one of the best cooperatives in Spain. Think of it as a mini-Priorat, but at a slightly lower price. Plum, spice and chocolate-like flavours are appealingly intertwined here, with the Cabernet adding some leafy freshness to the herbal, earthy Mediterranean flavours. The minerality and the acidity keep the wine fresh, despite its comparatively high alcohol. 

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90

2008 Los Amigos, Rogue Vine, El Insolente Single Vineyard, Itata Valley

POA, 13.2%,

Made by Leonardo Erazo, whose day job is as winemaker at Altos Las Hormigas in Mendoze, this is one of a series of outstanding Chilean wines made from specific sites in Itata. The grape vareity here Carignan, which deserves to be considered as one of Chile's best varieties. It's a refreshing, minerally, savoury red with bottle-aged characters of game and sweet spices, fine, but firm tannins and bright, cool climate acidity. 

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