Tim Atkin | Master of Wine

Tim’s Tasting Notes

93

2014 La Loba, Ribera del Duero

€16.20, 14.5%, Desoutter & James

Serious, youthful, good value Ribera that's at the lower end of the scale in terms of oaking. Sourced from century old vines in Matanza de Soria, this is part of a new wave of balanced, elegant Tempranillos with lovely freshness and poise. Scented, floral and complex with notes of bramble and balackberry and a refreshing finish. 

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89

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. 

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94

2008 Contino Reserva, Rioja

£19.99, 14%, Tesco; Berry Bros & Rudd; Moreno Wines; Oxford Wine; Cheers; Harrods

Contino is one of the properties that launched the single estate movement in Rioja, a superb wine that develops beautifully in bottle. 2008 was a late, cool vintage in Rioja, giving this blend of mostly Tempranillo with Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano a refreshing, low key elegance. Sublte and refined, with red fruits, subtle oak, some plummy tannins and deftly integrated oak. 

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94

2009 CVNE Imperial Reserva, Rioja

£20.49, 14%, Co-op; Majestic; Wine Rack; Berry Bros; Wine Rack; Wimbledon Wine Cellars; Cambridge Wine Merchant;

CVNE's Imperial is one of Rioja's best value, ageworthy wines. This is still an infant and will need at least another five years in bottle to come close to its best. Dense, concentrated and sweetly oaked with a chalky undertone adding freshness and bite to the plum and raspberry fruit flavours. Traditional Rioja at its youthful best. 

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89

2012 Asda Extra Special Dão

£5, 13.5, Asda

A tasty, appealingly priced blend of Touriga Nacional, Jaen and Tinta Roriz (aka Tempranillo), this tastes as good as it looks. Floral, fresh and lightly oaked with subtle red fruit flavours and tangy acidity that refreshes the palate. A total bargain. There aren't many red wines this good selling for a fiver or less. 

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90

2012 Fowles Wine, Are You Game? Shiraz, Victoria

N/A, 13.7%, Enotria

Ignore the nudge nudge, wink wink name of this wine (it's only a bit of fun anyway) and concentrate, instead, on what's in the glass. Violets, bramble and some gentle spices, with a touch of cracked pepper make this a refreshing, easy drinking red. A dash of Tempranillo adds extra interest here. 

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90

2012 João Portugal Ramos, F'Oz , Alentejano

£8.49, 14%, Waitrose

João Portugal (yes, that's his name) Ramos makes some of the best value reds in Iberia. This southerrn Portuguese blend of Aragonez, Trincadeira and Castelão is well up to his usual high standards, combining flavours of blackberry, bramble and orange zest in a wine that's fruity, refreshing, yet substantial enough to serve with red meat. 

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90

2011 Celler de Capçanes, Mas Collet, Barrica, Montsant

£12, 14%,

An oak-aged blend of Garnacha, Tempranillo, Carignan and Cabernet Sauvignon from the Capçanes co-operative that shows why Montsant is such a good value alternative to neighbouring Priorat. The oak is just a top note here, despite the name of the wine, adding complexity to the flavours of plum, cassis and hot stones. The wine finishes with a dry, mineral flourish that ties it all together, like a bow on a gift-wrapped present. 

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89

2010 Lindes de Remelluri, Viñedos de Labastida, Rioja

£16.99, 13.5%, Davis Bell McCraith

Things have changed for the better, now that Telmo Rodriguez is back at Remelluri, one of Rioja's first estates. This is a more forward expression of Tempranillo than the bodega's more expensive releases, with bags of bright, brambly, red berry fruit, medium weight tannins and a sweet, succulent finish that emphasises gluggability. 

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90

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. 

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