Fine reds at fine prices


A version of this article is published by the Financial Times. See also Fine whites at fine prices

The following wines represent some of the best-priced (not necessarily cheap) reds I tasted during the autumn tasting season in London this year. I have divided them geographically – Burgundy dominating this year since it can be such a minefield – and listed them in ascending price order. They are mainly from independent companies, and some of those without retail premises require a minimum purchase of a dozen mixed bottles. 


Ch de Durette, Hommage 2014 Morgon
Luscious but ageworthy from one of the finest crus in the underpriced Beaujolais region.
£12.50 Davy’s Wine Shop, £14.95 The Vintner

Dominique Piron, Côte du Py 2014 Morgon
Real pungent minerally depth on the nose. Racy, lifted palate. I’m pretty sure that this wine will offer (different sorts of) pleasure over quite a long period. Very expressive of terroir.
£15.54 Domaine Direct

Dom Sylvain Pataille, Clémengeots 2012 Marsannay
Another bargain from this underrated appellation from an increasingly exciting address. Sweet fruit and towering charm.
£24.84 O W Loeb

Dom Jean Guiton, Les Hauts Jarrons Premier Cru 2012 Savigny-lès-Beaune
Manages to be both complex and lively. Pure, fresh and energetic though far from heavy. Serve this quite cool.
£27.50 Stone, Vine & Sun

Dom Thomas Morey, Grand Clos Rousseau Premier Cru 2011 Santenay
Quite a treat to come across a red burgundy with this much age on it. Confident and rich but with real finesse – and the (unrelated but) famous name Rousseau too. Great stuff.
£30 Domaine Direct

Dom Henri Gouges, Chaînes Carteaux Premier Cru 2009 Nuits-St-Georges
Rich and evolved with real depth. Lots going on here but is manages to be fresh and ferny too.
£37.60 O W Loeb

Frédéric Magnien, Clos Baulet Premier Cru 2010 Morey-St-Denis
Pale and relatively evolved. Bonfires and mulled wine on the nose – some attractive spiciness. What’s not to like? All the sweetness and comfort of a mature red burgundy.
£42 Domaine Direct

Dom Génot-Boulanger, Grand Cru 2010 Corton-Les Combes
Very sweet and fun. Still youthful and lively but with lots of delivery. Long and rich with no excess of sweetness or alcohol.
£48.43 O W Loeb

Philippe Pacalet 2011 Gevrey-Chambertin
Very pure with a headily alluring nose. Round and fresh with real savour and energy from a naturalista.
£55 Wine Source


Ch Pontet Barrail 2012 Médoc
Round and polished. Very flattering and appealing with satin texture and some real grip too. Well selected but no hurry to drink this.
£15.95 Berry Bros & Rudd

Ch Carteau Côtes Daugay 2009 St-Émilion
Really exciting evolution on the nose. A suggestion of tar and another of mulberries. Relatively low acid and the fruit is fully mature. The lingering tannins need food but it’s very good value.
£16 The Wine Society

Ch Pichon Lalande, Réserve de la Comtesse 2010 Pauillac
Particularly gorgeous vintage for this second wine of the popular second growth.
£65 Majestic (or £58.50 in a mixed six)


Vidal Fleury 2012 Cairanne
Bravo Vidal Fleury, who, like owners Guigal, release wines only when they are ready to drink. This Grenache-heavy blend from a fairly high village manages to be both rich and refreshing. A great buy.
£12.25 Oddbins

Dom de Fontbonau, Les Chaux de Fontbonau 2013 Côtes du Rhône
Mouth-filling and really quite attention-grabbing with its youthful, spicy fruit.
£13.54 O W Loeb


Dom des Trinités, Le Portail 2014 Faugères
Very natural, layered sweetness with some delicacy and obvious effort from an English newcomer.
£12.50 (£11.25 as part of a mixed dozen) Lea & Sandeman

Zélige-Caravent, Ellipse 2013 Languedoc, Pic-St Loup
Animal note of Mourvèdre and lots of confident Cinsault fruit. A hint of liquorice and delicacy that verges on burgundian. Really interesting and a veritable bargain.
£13.50 Wine Source

Domaine Jones 2014 Fitou
This blend of old-vine Carignan, Grenache and Syrah is really rather luscious without being heavy. Just the right side of overripe.
£14.50 Wine Society

Anne Gros & Jean-Paul Tollot, Les Fontanilles 2014 Minervois
Beautifully managed tannins from this famous Burgundian couple. Very appetising and sure-footed. They are really getting into the Languedoc groove now. But not cheap.
£25 Domaine Direct


Melis, Bovale 2014 IGT Isola dei Nuraghi
Rich, intense, underpriced Sardinian with lots of herby oomph for the money.
£11.50 Tanners

Casaloste 2011 Chianti Classico
Bone-dry end and super-classic. Very energising. Not overdone and with some maturity.
£13.50 Jeroboams until 24 Dec

Monteti, Caburnio 2011 IGT Toscana
Good-value Bordeaux blend from the Tuscan coast. Already full of character and exciting.
£14.95 (£13.50 as part of a mixed dozen) Lea & Sandeman

Terre Nere 2014 Etna
Fresh rose-scented tension from Italy’s most fashionable wine region.
£16 Oddbins

Fontodi 2011 Chianti Classico
Magnums (two bottles in one) come into their own at large gatherings. This beautifully made wine plunges you into the Tuscan countryside. Very persistent and winning.
£36 per magnum The Wine Society


Viña Zorzal Graciano 2014 Navarra
Graciano is a truly graceful grape and this fresh, minerally version tastes almost as though it had been aged in an amphora.
£7.25 The Wine Society

El Lagar de Isilla, Roble 2013 Ribera del Duero
A real rarity: an inexpensive wine from one of Spain’s most revered wine regions, with savour and energy. Ready.
£11.95 Stone, Vine & Sun

Contino, Reserva 2005 Rioja
Very smart single-vineyard refined wine from a fine vintage. Urbane somehow. Delightfully mature. NB, Bordelais.
£25 The Wine Society


Uvaggio Primitivo 2012 Lodi
The Puglian name presumably sounds more exotic than Zinfandel in California where it was grown. This is an unusually mature wine with some gaminess but no excess heat even though it’s 14.5% alcohol.
£14.95 Berry Bros & Rudd

Alcohuaz, GRUS de Alcohuaz Mezcla Tinta 2014 Elqui
This Chilean project at 2,000 m elevation is lead by De Martino's celebrated winemaker Marcelo Retamal. The Rhôneish blend was matured in fashionable concrete eggs. Very gentle and mouth-filling with fabulous energy. Really very exciting. No rough edges at all.
£21.95 Berry Bros & Rudd

Mullineux Syrah 2014 Swartland
Real grip and sweetness to this offering from one of the most admired addresses of the South African new wave. Serious stuff with a beginning, middle and end. Masses of energy – and ripeness – here. Persistent.
£24.95 Berry Bros & Rudd

Tyler, Dierberg Vineyard Block 5 Pinot Noir 2013 Santa Maria Valley
Earthy and transparent. Very lively and sinewy with a gentle touch. A joint venture in California between Tyler and de Montille of Burgundy is under way.
£30 Wine Source

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