Reds above £15


Savigny-lès-Beaune 2014 Jean-Jacques Girard

I’m a great fan of Jean-Jacque Girard’s reds in most years and his 2014 village Burgundy is no exception. Made in an aromatic, fruity style with distinctive red and black berry flavours and fine tannin, this would be a perfect partner for duck, goose and other game birds as well as roast beef or lamb (£18.70 a bottle).


Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Cru Les Peuillets 2014 Jean-Jacques Girard

Les Peuillets is probably my favourite 1er Cru from Girard, and the 2014 is a definite star. It has a powerful, seductive nose of dark berries and spicy oak together with great balance on the palate and a lovely, lingering finish. Worthy of a place at a special dinner of pigeon breasts, grouse, or partridge with a wild mushroom sauce (£25.65 a bottle).


Marques de Murrieta Rioja Reserva 2014

Marques de Murrieta is one of the two oldest Rioja producers, the other being the Marques de Riscal, and its wines today are better than ever. The 2013 Reserva, a blend of Tempranillo, Mazuelo, Graciano and Garnacha grapes, has been aged for 20 months in American oak and another year in bottle before release. It’s drinking beautifully now, showing ripe cherry, blackberrry and plum fruit with a hint of mocha, plus silky tannins and balancing acidity. I’d serve it with most red meat, game birds, and turkey (£17.50 a bottle).


Château La Grave Figeac 2009

A French friend in London introduced me to Jean-Pierre Clauzel, who with his wife Sabine has run this small (6.4 ha) property which neighbours Ch. Cheval Blanc in St. Emilion and Ch. La Conseillante in Pomerol since 1993. I was mightily impressed by his wines, blends of 65% Merlot and 35% Cabernet Franc. The 2009 is full and velvet-textured, with long-lasting flavours of dark berries, plums and spices - delicious now but still vibrant enough to cellar for another 3-5 years at least (£27.10 a bottle).


Meerlust Rubicon 2015

A longstanding personal favourite, Rubicon is the flagship of the Meerlust collection, and the 2014 rivals the excellent 2009 in quality. I paid a visit on my trip to South Africa in 2015, and was treated to an extensive tasting by winemaker Chris Williams. His Rubicon is a Bordeaux-style blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. Young, intense and bursting with blackcurrant, plum and cedar tones, this is a perfect wine to accompany classic beef, game birds, lamb or venison as well as mature cheeses. (£24.70 a bottle).


La Rosine Syrah 2015 Domaine Michel et Stéphane Ogier

Stéphane Ogier makes sublime wines in the Northern Rhone, an impression that was confirmed when I visited his small estate near Ampuis a few years ago. Last year I was treated to a tasting and lunch in London, where he presented recent vintages of all his wines. The wines were stunning, but for me the best value by far was his La Rosine Syrah, from 30-year-old vines on the edge of the Côte Rôtie appellation – juicy, fresh and supple, with lingering flavours of violets and dark berries (£22.05 a bottle).


Rasteau Villages 2016 Domaine La Soumade

I’ve long been a fan of André Romero, who makes some of the greatest wines in the southern Rhône area. The American wine critic Robert Parker has dubbed him the ‘superstar of Rasteau’, and this wine clearly demonstrates why. A blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre grapes from low-yielding vines, it combines power and concentration with enticing aromas and flavours of dark fruits and a velvety texture (£16.80 a bottle).


Carmenère Piu 2014 Inama

The gifted Stefano Inama has created another amazing wine, this one a blend of 60% Carmenère, 30% Merlot and 10% Raboso Veronese grown in the volcanic soil of the Colli Berici, southeast of Soave Classico. Fresh and balanced, it has lovely damson, black cherry and violet aromas and flavours, very much living up to its name, which means ‘more’ in Italian (£15.25 a bottle).


Barco Reale 2016 Tenuta di Capezzana

Tenuta di Capezzana is a beautiful estate northwest of Florence dating from the time of the Medicis and built around an elegant Renaissance palazzo. Its wines have always impressed me, and the quality today is better than ever, as shown by the 2014 Barco Reale, with its bright dark cherry fruit and juicy yet intense flavours (£15.95 a bottle).


Chianti Classico 2015 Castello di Bossi

My friend Michael Palij MW, who has a nose for great Italian wine, first introduced me to Marco Bacci, the handsome, gregarious co-owner of Castello di Bossi, near Siena in souther Tuscany. All Marco’s wines are impressive, but his Chianti Classico, with its juicy black cherry fruit and round, full-bodied charm, is a personal favourite (£21.30 a bottle).


Chianti Classico 2015 Fontodi

On my first visit to this family-run Tuscan property in 1994, I was impressed not only by the quality of the wines and the impeccable new winery, but also by the breathtaking views of the surrounding Conca D’Oro (‘golden shell’) vineyards at sunset. I’ve been back regularly ever since, and have watched as Giovanni Manetti has taken on his late father’s role as winemaker, built a spanking new cellar, and continued to improve the quality of the wines. His 2015 Chianti Classico is lovely, combining the ripeness of the vintage with a luscious, spicy dark-cherry character and a powerful aftertaste (£22.70 a bottle).


Bradisismo 2015 Inama

This amazing wine from Stefano Inama is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenère grapes grown on unique volcanic soil (‘bradisismo’) in the Colli Berici in Italy’s Veneto region. It combines muscle and elegance with rich blackcurrant fruit and spicy complexity from 15 months in new French oak barrels (£28.95 a bottle).

Web design Lambent Technology