31/12/00 – CrownCap (Italy) 1998

This strikingy packaged red wine is in fact a classic blend of Negroamaro and Malvasia Nera grapes from Puglia in Italy’s deep south. The rational behind the beer bottle-style cap is very clearly explained in the supporting Web site . Though it is not the first crown-capped wine to hit the UK shelves, the whole pakaging is very radical: The stuff in the bottle is proudly described as a ‘multiblend’, and details of the very respectable grapes, producer and even country of origin are hidden away in the small print. Thankfully, the wine itself is actually delightful: an expressive nose of juicy unoaked summer berry fruit, dusted with spice and enlivened on the palate by a juicy edge of acidity. There’s a little rum-soaked raisin darkness, but this is fruity, warming, lip-smacking wine for sipping on its own or with chargrilled vegetables, pasta or braised lamb. UK stockist: Chateauonline, 4.29.