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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93

2012 Château L’Hospitalet Grand Vin, La Clape, Languedoc

£16.66, 14.5, Majestic

One of the best wines of the Languedoc, delivering incredible value for money and a rich array of aromas and flavours, this strapping, Syrah-based blend is smooth and intense, with bags of black fruits and Mediterranean herbs and seamlessly integrated oak.

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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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92

2008 Domaine de Montcalmès, Coteaux du Languedoc, Languedoc Roussillon

£20, 14%, The Wine Society

One of the best reds in the Languedoc (and at a very affordable price, too), this blend of Syrah with 20% each of Grenache and Mourvèdre also proves that the region's top wines age gracefully. It's sweet and savoury with fruit flavours that nod towards Pinot Noir as well as more Mediterranean varieties, but with a dusting of wild herbs and a touch more alcohol.

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91

2012 Domaine de la Meynarde Plan de Dieu, Rhône Valley

£8.99 down to £6.75, 14.5%, Marks & Spencer

If you're only going to buy one red from this offer, this one delivers the best value for money at its 25% off price. It's the kind of southern Rhône red that reminds me of my student days in Avignon. It's a ripe, but not over-ripe Grenache-based blend, made from old vines on the Plan de Dieu plateau, showing serious tannins, backed up by flavours of wild herbs, plum and tapenade. Vibrantly delicious. 

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93

2010 Spice Route Chakalaka, The Swartland

£12.95, 14.5%, The Wine Society

This isn't the most expensive brands in the full-flavoured Spice Route range, but it's often one of my favourite reds from this innovative winery. It's an appealing combo of no fewer than six grapes, with lots of sweet vanilla oak, spicy clove and nutmeg and a mixture of bramble, red berry and blackberry fruit intensity. Needs a barbecue to show at its best. 

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86

2011 The Curator, The Swartland

£6.95, 13.5%, The Wine Society

By the hot house standards of the Swartland, this is a light and comparatively elegant red blend of mostly Shiraz with some Mourvèdre, Cinsaut and Viognier. It's a scented, unoaked style with some pepper spice, raspberry and red cherry fruit and refreshing acidity. 

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89

2009 Castillo Perelada, Finca Espolla, Empordà , Empordà

€14, 14%,

Combining Syrah and Monastrella (Mourvèdre), this is made in a modern style. There’s a marked minty note on the nose and palate (almost eucalyptus) that adds another dimension to the spicy, blackberry fruit.

 

 

 
 

87

2011 Les Jamelles, Réserve Mourvèdre, Vin de Pays d'Oc, Languedoc-Roussillon

£6.99, 14%, The Co-operative

Mourvèdre rarely gets solo billing in the south of France, even in Bandol, its home from home, so it's good to see this on a supermarket shelf. It's minty and rich, with sweet bramble and blackberry fruit and the tannins for which the grape is famous. 

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