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Top 10 wines in the UK press

Bernard Baudry Chinon, Loire, France 2010

David Williams, writing in The Guardian, recommended three Cabernet Franc wines this week – the “lesser known” counterpart to Sauvignon.

He said: “Historically, a lot of Loire Cabernet Franc has been, like Les Nivières, designed specifically for unthinking easy drinking, the kind of thing you get, slightly chilled, with your minute-steak in an unpretentious Parisian bistrot.
“But the Loire’s reds – from appellations such as Anjou, Saumur-Champigny, Chinon, Bourgeuil and St-Nicolas de Bourgeuil – have developed enormously in recent years, with its best growers now producing more serious wines that are easily on a par with Bordeaux and Burgundy for quality, but at much more reasonable prices.
“Bernard Baudry is one of the most consistent names in Chinon, and this silky starting point in his range has a soft plumpness to go with the quintessential cab franc graphite and subtle leafiness.”

Price: £14.50, Lea & Sandeman

Pulenta Estate Gran Cabernet Franc, Mendoza, Argentina 2010

Of this Cabernet Franc from the Mendoza region in Argentina, Williams said: “Cab Franc has long been planted wherever ambitious growers have sought to imitate the Bordeaux blend – ie pretty much everywhere – but we’re starting more solo examples from around the world.

“That may be because the Loire has become a touchstone for a certain kind of natural, organically-inclined winemaker, or it may be that growers have been inspired by those handful of top Bordeaux that use a high proportion of cab franc (such as Château Cheval Blanc).

“Either way, I’ve had some gorgeous examples from California, Italy, South Africa, Chile and, most recently, Pulenta’s plush and polished rendition from the Andes: lusher, fuller than a Loire red, but more airy and refined than the average Argentinian Malbec: it is, for this cab franc fan at least, pure pleasure.”

Price: £24.95, Berry Bros & Rudd

2012 Malbec, Cournon Lafleur

Hamish Anderson, writing in The Telegraph, recommended three “excellent” wines from the Pays d’Oc where he said many “innovative wines” were emerging from.

He said: “Pays d’Oc is a vast area stretching from the southern Rhône to the west of Avignon round to the Catalan border of Spain.

“This a perfect example of the innovation that can be found here – Malbec from an area it is not usually grown in (near Limoux) fashioned into a juicy, brambly, gutsy bargain.”

Price: £6.99, when buying two, Majestic

2012 Cinsault-Grenache Vieilles Vignes, Les Cépages Oubliés

Another recommendation from Anderson was this Cinsault-Grenache blend.

He said: “Cinsault’s prolific yields make it a favourite for bulk wine, but keeping the vines in check and sourcing from older vines produces character.

“Here its fragrance and spice is blended with Grenache, which brings sweet, dark fruit such as blackberries.”

Price: £7.69, All About Wine

 Primitivo 2010 – “Punto Aquila” by Tenute Rubino, Salento

Outside of the UK in the Irish Republic, Liam Campbell, writing in the Irish Independent, chose to highlight a number of wines produced with the “lesser known” Italian Primitivo grape – known elsewhere as a Californian Zinfandel.

He said: “Subdued earthy aromas don’t prepare you for the intensity of the flavours of ripe black fruits combined with deep earthy tones.

“This is rich and ripe with a cocoa- powder finish. Serve with blackened Cajun-style chicken.”

Price: €18.99 at O’Brien’s off-licences and online at

Primitivo 2012 –  “Il Medaglione” by Leone de Castris, Salento

Another selection by Campbell was this 2012 Primitivo by Leone de Castris.

He said: “A more unusual feminine style, lighter in body with fresh cranberry fruitiness, gentle tannins and an earthy finish.

“Enjoy with hard cheeses with a slightly sweet note, such as French Comte or our own equivalent, Glebe Brethan from Louth.”

Price: €10.99-€11.99 at Next Door Off-licences nationwide; Holland’s Bray; Morton’s, Galway and Ranelagh and D-Six Wines, Harold’s Cross, Dublin

Pomerol Ronan By Clinet 2010

Rose Murray Brown, writing in The Scotsman, focused on where to find the best Bordeaux wines this week.

One of her recommendations included this Pomerol Ronan by Clinet.

She said: “Pomerol means merlot – but don’t expect something lush and velvety here yet. This is still very young and closed, but it has lots of ripe muscles in all the right places and great fruit concentration – it just needs a bit more time.

“Buy it at this keen price and tuck it in the cellar for a year or two.

Price: £11.75, Berry Bros & Rudd,

St Julien Petit Caillou 2008

Another recommendation by Brown was this 2008 red from Bordeaux.

She said: “Starts well with inviting cedary, cigarbox aromas so typical of classic St Julien. Well balanced, ripe fruit palate, but the tannins are a little grippy when tasted on its own.

“Quite classic claret in style. Served with roast lamb, it was transformed as the firm tannin is absorbed by the protein in the meat.”

Price: £19.75, Berry Bros & Rudd,


Tesco Corbières NV, France

An unusual food and wine pairing selection came from Jamie Goode, writing in The Express this week, who picked out his favourite wines to pair with the superfood of the season – Kale.

He said: “If you just want an uncomplicated, decent red, this bottle fits the bill.

“It’s amazing, given current taxes on wine, that you can still buy a bottle for under a fiver, but this simple, fruity, juicy red is more than just drinkable. And it’s perfect with pork.”

Price: £4.49, Tesco

Tanners Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Marlborough, New Zealand

Picking this Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough Goode said: “It’s well worth paying a little more than normal for this New Zealand sauvignon.

“You are rewarded with the usual zingy green pepper and passion fruit flavours, but it also has a lovely smooth texture.

“Pair it with kale and potato soup.”

Price: £9.95,

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