(2015) This older vintage of Asda's own label has a nicely saturated ruby colour and masses of soft, quite jammy red fruit that is appealing and generous, just edged with briary spice. With 14.5% alcohol it is beefy stuff though, that fluffy sweetness suggested by the nose giving way to a palate with much more muscle and structure, the tannins and stripe of chicory acidity giving a savoury finish. 88
(2015) Bottled for Morrisons by Ogier, this also has 14.5% alcohol and perhaps a slightly darker, more crimson colour. The nose is darker and firmer too, much more about dark blueberry and cassis aromas than red fruits, with liquorice and a sheen of coffeeish oak. Firmer in the mouth too, with a racy edge to the tannins and acidity, defining the bold black fruit and more of that endive and meaty savouriness. 89
(2015) Watch out for the beefy 15.0% alcohol in this Rhône red, a Châteauneuf-like blend of 70% Grenache plus Syrah, Cinsault and Carignan. There's a decidedly woodland character to this: twigs and bracken, scrub and broom. The distinctive aroma makes way on the palate for sweetness and plushness of fruit. Its silky texture and ripeness teeters on being jammy, but a fine tannin grip takes the finish, spice and good acidity too, the whole thing tugged and cajoled into a taut, juicy finish. The price is good on offer.
(2015) Grenache makes up half the blend of this Aldi exclusive, along with Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Syrah and the seldom-seen Vaccarese. It weighs in with 14% alcohol. Schisty, raspberry-touched aromas have plenty of briar and earth, and there is a cool feel to this. There is a touch of chocolate on the nose too, and it has some spices to add complexity. The palate is rather lean, but it is juicy, and although there is a slightly stripped feel to this for some reason, that leanness does add to its sense of freshness into quite a tangy, bittersweet finish.
(2015) Bottled for Asda by négociant firm Leon Perdigal, the name behind many an own-label Rhône wine, this again has a modest 13.5% alcohol and a very primary purple/crimson colour. On the nose it is all lift and cherry brightness at first, an almost Beaujolais-like character before a bit of darker fruit and gentle meatiness emerges. On the palate a similar juicy, but uncomplicated profile continues, and whilst hardly a Châteauneuf of great seriousness or structure, it is balanced, forward and drinks well.
(2014) >From vineyards fifteen kilometers north-west of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, this is a blend of 65% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Carignan and 5% Mourvèdre and Cinsault. It pours a striking and vivid deep purple colour, with a beautiful lift to the nose, a real white pepper fragrance, touched with herbs and flowers, and sappy cherry fruit. On the palate it has delightful juiciness and a creamy red fruit flavour, the ripeness and fruit sweetness is apparent, and the finish quite gentle, with spice and pepper, smooth tannins and a freshness to the acidity. Really delicious stuff.
(2011) Note the hefty 15.5% ABV of this Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah blend, aged 18 months in a combination of vats and smaller barrels. Lovely intensity on the nose, the mineral-focused cherry and blackberry fruit quite tight and hints of chocolate, coal dust and roses adding subtle complexity. This is firm and racy on the palate, the juiciness of the fruit combining with the tannins and a certain broadening richness to give an umami savoury quality that is chewy and dense on the finish.
(2011) This organic wine, a blend of Grenache and Syrah, comes from one of the top Rhône villages close to Châteauneuf-du-Pape. I love the deep, sensuous richness of the black fruit on the nose, with a thick, syrupy weight, that belies the finesse of the palate to come. In the mouth the creamy richness of texture and weight of the fruit is all there, but this has a wonderfully tight structure too, a grippy, peppery, liquoricy edge gripping on the mid-palate and a streak of stony, mineral acidity melding with some chewy, old wood richness in the finish. A big wine, but deeply-flavoured and complex.