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. 

BeefLambGameSpicyBarbecue

 

 
 

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.

BeefLambGame

 

 
 

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

 

 
 

91

2014 Domaine Jones Grenache Gris, IGP Côtes Catalanes, Languedoc-Roussillon

£13.50, 13.5%, The Wine Society

Englishwoman Katie Jones' old vine releases from the Maury area are improving with every vintage and are now some of the best in the Roussillon. This Grenache Gris shows the variety's focus, minerality and herbal edge, complemented by notes of pear and beeswax and the faintest kiss of oak. 

PorkChickenFish

 

 
 

92

2012 S.C. Pannell Grenache, McLaren Vale, South Australia

£31.99, 14%, Liberty Wines

Steve Pannell was making great Grenache in McLaren Vale before the variety began to enjoy its modern renaissance as the so-called "Pinot of the south". This combines plum and raspberry fruit sweetness with a backbone of tannin and refreshing acidity, supporting the concentration of the old vine fruit. The oaking is almost imperceptible here. 

BeefLambSpicyBarbecue

 

 
 

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

 

 
 

94

2013 Domaine Gallety Cuvée Spéciale, Côtes du Vivarais, Rhône Valley

£25, 14%, Scarlet Wines

Who would imagine that the unfancied Côtes du Vivarais could produce a 50/50 Syrah/Grenache blend that tastes as good as anything at this price in the Rhône Valley. Spice and fresh tobacco notes, with some stemmy, whole bunch flavours, focused, mineral-edged red fruits, fine tannins and delicious perfume and balance. One of my discoveries of the summer.  

LambSpicy

 

 
 

93

2014 Domaine Brunet Les Chabriles Vieilles Vignes, Cairanne, Rhône Valley

£10-£15, 13.5%, Vinconnexion

A concentrated, yet lighly oaked, unfiltered, old vine blend of Grenache and Syrah from one of the best domaines in the village of Cairanne, this is my kind of southern Rhône red. Spicy, mineral and focused with youthful red and dark berry fruit, hints of pepper and clove and firm but beautifully integrated tannins. Great value, too. 

BeefLambBarbecue

 

 
 

91

2015 Domaine Brunet Les Travers, Cairanne, Rhône Valley

£10-£15, 13%, Vinconnexion

Cairanne whites are something of a rarity - even more so than in nearby Châteauneuf-du-Pape - but when they are as impressive as this blend of Grenache Blanc, Viognier and Roussanne, you wonder why. Textured, complex and oatmealy, this shows deftly interwoven oak, subtle pear and apricot fruit and a mineral flourish. 

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