May 2016’s Wines of the Month

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Under £10

(2016) Montsant in the northeast of Spain, neighbouring the much more expensive Priorat, makes broadly similar wines at generally lower prices. This has a lot of forward charms, buxom and open, but I loved its meaty, dark and bloody tones set against the huge sweetess of ripe fruit on the mid-palate. Deliciously tangy and vibrant too, edged with a charcoal and chocolate bittersweetness. It's fab wine and great value for drinking with casseroles and stews, indeed any red meat or dark game.

Under £15

(2016) The rugged hills of the Roussillon region run to the Mediterranean sea in the deep south of France, close to the Spanish border. Here the fame of the Maury appellation was founded on fortified wines: the sweet, Port-style wines made from old, unirrigated vineyards of mostly Grenache. Now, more producers are making dry Maury, and this is a beefy but plush and fruity example of great quality, haunting creamy raspberry and strawberry notes mix with spice and wild herbs, before a powerful, full palate of smooth fruit that is deep and sweet, with fine tannins and acidity. Watch the video for much more information and food matching ideas.

Under £20

(2016) Made from 60-year-old vines of Grenache Gris, fermented with wild yeasts and weighing in with an uncompromising 15% abv, this rosé marches to Amistat's excellent and incisive beat. Pale and peachy in colour, it is hugely intense on the palate, not oxidised, but earthy and concentrated with red berries, Grenache nuttiness and a huge punch of minerality and dry, orangy intensity to the acidity. A powerhouse rosé with a nip of tannin and distinctive indeed,

Sky’s the Limit

(2016) The high proportion of Chardonnay (45%) in the blend perhaps adds to the sense of creamy finesse in this wine, though with 18% of Pinot Noir blended in too it does not lack attractive small red berry fruitiness and a bit of texture and structure too. Wonderfully fresh and with a creaminess to the mousse, it is an utterly charming, rose-hip scented rosé Champagne, beautifully balanced and long too. Widely available with prices ranging from the low £40s on special deals to £60 per bottle.

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