Tim Atkin | Master of Wine

Tim’s Tasting Notes

89

2015 Domaine des Garennes Le Brossay, Saumur, Loire Valley

€4.80, 12.5, From the domaine

A youthful, easy-drinking, well-priced Cabernet Franc grown on clay and limestone soils on the Champ de Liveau plateau, this is grassy and refreshing with supple tannins, plenty of the perfume that's typical of the variety and a twist of graphite. Very attractive at the price. 

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93

2014 Zorzal, Eggo Malbec, Tupungato, Mendoza

£15.95, 13.5%, www.corkingwines.co.uk; www.slurp.co.uk

Fermented and aged in concrete eggs, as its name suggests, this is a wonderful blend of Malbec with a little Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon from the Michelini brothers. Typically light and refreshing, with sappy, tangy, black cherry flavours, bright acidity and no wood at all. Modern Argentina at its refreshing, spicy best. 

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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 Te Awa Single Estate Syrah, Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay

£17, 13.5%,

Bold, inky and dark, with aromas of clove spice and hot stones, this is a rich, complex Syrah from the Gimblett Gravels, packed with stony complexity, firm tannins, refreshing acidity and brooding blackberry fruit. Why don't more people plant Syrah in New Zealand? 

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91

2013 Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Syrah, Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay

£15, 14%,

Winemaker Gordon Russell is better known for his skills with Bordeaux than Rhône varieties, but he's very bit as adept at both. This is a classic Kiwi Syrah, combining intensity with freshness, perfume with fruit weight. Pepper spicy, firm and focused, it's more Cornas than Crozes-Hermitage in style, with the structure to age. 

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90

2013 Newton Forrest Estate Cornerstone, Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay

N/A, 13.5%,

Inky, youthful and richly oaked, this is an impressive Gimblett Gravels blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec that needs a year or two to marry in bottle. Spicy, vanilla-scented notes are complemented by flavours of graphite, dark plums and cassis with bright, underlying freshness. 

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93

2013 Domaine Les Yeuses, Syrah, Les Epices, IGP Pays d'Oc, Languedoc

£7.99, 13.5%, Majestic

Is this the best value red in the high street at the moment? It's certainly the best value Syrah in my view. Yesterday, it was presented with the "Best Red of Show" gong at the Languedoc Roussillon Top 100 Awards in London beating lots of more expensive wines. Wild thyme and rosemary notes, blackberry and bramble fruit, smooth tannins and enough perfume to keep your nostrils twitching for half an hour, this finishes with an intense, savoury flourish. 

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92

2014 Domaine de la Noblaie Le Temps des Cerises, Chinon, Loire Valley

£8.95, 13%, The Wine Society

Is Loire Cabernet Franc finally getting the recognition it deserves, partly because of the rise in the grape's fortunes elsewhere? If so, it's about time. Where else can you find a wine as complex as this Chinon for under £9? It's a classically grassy, refreshing red with no apparent oak and remarkable elegance and fruit purity. Drink it chilled, and drink lots of it. 

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93

2012 David Reynaud, Beaumont Crozes Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage, Rhône Valley

£16.33, 12.5%, Liberty Wines

This is my kind of wine. In fact, I could drink a bottle of this almost every day and never get bored. Classic, perfumed Crozes, with violet and rose petal aromas, textured tannins and lovely, gluggable flavours of blackberry, black olive and liquorice. The tannins are silky smooth, the oak beautifully integrated and there's enough tannin to add some backbone. 

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