Tim Atkin | Master of Wine

Tim’s Tasting Notes


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. 





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. 





2011 Finca Carelio Tempranillo, Castilla y León

£6.66, 14.5%, Majestic

If I were tasting this blind, I'd put it in Ribera del Duero, rather than the hotter Castilla y León region, such is its freshness and perfume. There's quite a bit of oak on offer here, but it's more than balanced by fruit weight and acidity. The tannins are extremely smooth for a wine at this price, complemented by notes of bramble and blackberry, subtle vanilla sweetness and a cool, almost grassy finish. 





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. 





2011 Perez Burton Rioja

£9.99 down to £7.49, 14%, Marks & Spencer

Telmo Rodriguez is a brilliant interpreter of the Tempranillo grape, producing wines that are modern, yet appealingly traditional at the same time. This varietal number from high altitude vineyards around the village of Lanciego, is a very serious red for less than a tenner. Juicy, structured and sweetly oaked, with tannins and concentration that will enable the wines to age further in bottle. 





Dry Old Palo Cortado, Jerez

£7.49, 19%, Marks & Spencer

Great Sherry remains one of the wine world's great bargains, even in half bottles like this one from the high quality Emilion Lustau operation. This is a classic Palo - with slightly more weight than an Amontillado, but similalry nutty, savoury flavours. Bone dry on the palate, with lovely, old barrel-aged notes of toast and grilled almonds and a salty note from five years spent in a Fino solera system. Great as an aperitif, but also amazing with tapas. 





2012 Bolo Godello Mountain Wine, Valdeorras

£9.95, 13%, The Wine Society

Alabriño may be more familiar to consumers than Godello, but the latter grape can be just as exciting. It's more mineral and weighty (and even works well with oak on occasion). This high altitude example is fresh and bone dry, with a chalky, almost Chablis-like note and flavours of citrus, apple and pear. 





2012 Martí Fabra, Lladoner, Empordà, Empordà

€5, 13%,

Fresh, spicy, raspberry fruity rosado with good acidity and a little bit of residual sweetness. Rosehip and wild strawberry, with appealing freshness.





2012 Cooperatiu agricola Gariguella, Puntils, Emporda, Empordà

€4, 13.5%,

Combining Tempranillo, Garnatxa and Merlot, this is a grassy, strawberry-scented red with refreshing acidity. It’s a little developed perhaps, but at €4 who’s complaining?




2012 Castillo Perelada, Garnatxa Blanca, Emporda , emporda

€5, 13.5%,

Unoaked and great value, this old vine Garnacha is fresh and minerally with notes of fennel and fresh lemon and a touch of wild herb bitterness. Bright and well balanced, this is a refreshing seafood white.