Under six pounds
ASDA, Extra Special Old Vine Garnacha 2013, Spain
An outstanding bargain: just a fiver gets you this Garnacha (Grenache) from the Cariñena region in Eastern Spain. There’s loads of superb old vine fruit across Spain’s less celebrated regions, making wines such as this a real bargain if they are made well by consciencious producers. Crammed with fresh raspberry and buoyant cherry scents, there’s a herb and flower touch too and plenty of aromatic personality. In the mouth it is dry yet fruit-filled and juicy, with soft but nicely roughening tannins, balanced acidity and a real honesty that’s not always present in big brand wines being sold at such a rock-bottom price. 86/100. £5.00, Asda and Asda online.
under a tenner
Fontanafredda, Moscato d’Asti Moncucco 2013, Italy
This is a excellent example of a style of dessert wine I love: the very lightly sparkling, hugely aromatic Muscat from Piedmont in the northwest of Italy. With only 5.5% alcohol (which is typical for these wines) it is feather-light yet intense. There’s the merest frothy frizzante on the tongue, but all those floral and herbal scents translate into flavour, that persists through to the shimmering, balanced finish. An absolute delight to sip, but matches with everything from the darkest chocolate puddings to fresh fruit desserts. 89/100. £9.35 per 50cl, Exel Wines. See all stockists on wine-searcher.
Kaiken, Ultra Malbec 2012, Argentina
Twelve months ageing in French oak for this Malbec, sourced from premium vineyards in three of Mendoza’s sub-zones. What a delightfully fragrant nose, with Sandalwood and burning incense, the tobacco and toast of the oak melting into the floral-edged black fruits of the Malbec, touches of chocolate and menthol, but savoury. In the mouth it is pretty sumptuous stuff, fairly big, velvety and soft with its ripe fruit, plush tannins and chocolate density of texture, but there is a lively cherry and blackcurrant-skin acidity too, in a long and simply delicious wine. Montes reckon this will have 10-years ageing potential. 92/100. £13.99, see all UK stockists on wine-searcher.
sky’s the limit
Bruno Giacosa, Barbaresco Asili 2012, Italy
Along with Barolo, Barbaresco is the other ‘great’ wine of Piedmont, and this is a typically fresh and vital interpretation from Giacosa. Lots of cherry and bold floral and juicy red fruits, a wisp of smoke and hints of exotic incense, the nose is velvety but hugely fresh. On the palate such a gorgeous concentration without extraction. Its dry tannin structure suggests great youth and great potential, but the length and precision has chocolate and ripe plum lushness too. A 20-year wine potentially. 95/100. Currently being sold in cases of six, in-bond, and on allocation. The duty- and VAT-paid equivalent bottle price is £95.46 from Armit Wines. See all stockists on wine-searcher