The sister wine of the Vermentino, a fascinating example of what can be done with Southern Rhône’s Grenache grape (Cannonau) in Sardinia. This is the leading red grape varietal grown in Sardinia. Unlike its French counterpart, with its dense, inky flavours, the Marmora version is light on its feet with a lovely mid taste of hot tar and pine notes. The entire region was given a boost by the involvement of Giocomo Tachis, the former chief wine-maker at Antinori, one of the leading Italian wine producers based in Tuscany. This would be ideal with white meats rather than robust dishes.
This is a perfect example of why Bordeaux remains the single most important wine region on earth. While the world’s plutocrats pay thousands for Pétrus or Lafite, producers such as Domaines des Comtes de Tastes offer these incredible value wines for single figure sums. Château Haut Gay, with its garish orange label, delivers a superb ready to drink wine with all of the balance and blackcurrant fruit we expect from classically produced Bordeaux. 40% merlot and cabernet franc with the remaining 20% cabernet sauvignon. It also helps that the 2015 vintage is an outstanding one, especially on the right bank.
Laurent Savoye is an old-fashioned Beaujolais vigneron with just over 20 acres of 55 year-old Gamay grapes, from which he makes his superb Fleurie and Beaujolais Villages wines. Forget about the earlier reputation of Beaujolais Nouveau as a joke wine – these days the Beaujolais region produces some of the greatest value for any reds in France. There is brightness in his wine with red fruit and soft tannins that make it impossible to stop drinking. A perfect aperitif or with white meats.
I am a huge fan of Albariño wines from the Galician area of North West Spain, just above the Portuguese border. Señorío de Rubiós produces rich wines with hints of pear, mingled with tropical notes but ending with a refreshingly citric aftertaste. Part of the secret is that the Albariño grape has a thick skin to withstand the damp climate, which contributes to the complexity of the flavours. Despite its immediate drinkability, this wine will actually improve with bottle age, though I doubt if it will ever survive long enough to be laid down.