2007 Domaine du Joncier Le Classique, Lirac
Waitrose has beefed up its Rhône range to great effect, and not just at the top end where there are wines like the superb 2007 Côte-Rôtie from Stephane Ogier (£39.99, Waitrose Wine Direct). This red Lirac, from a domaine which I think the Rhône buyer Andrew Shaw discovered during his Stone,Vine & Sun days, is like a mini Châteauneuf – full and fleshy, with nutty, sweet fruit and milk chocolate suppleness alongside savoury, stony, spicy flavours. 14.5% abv. Good value at its full price; even better at the current offer price.
£7.49 until November 3, then back to £9.99, Waitrose.
2008 Tasmania Sauvignon Blanc
The autumn press tastings so far have been loaded with sauvignon blancs (just as they used to be with chardonnays) and a lot of them are sound, but completely unremarkable. This one from Andrew Pirie’s Tamar Ridge operation in Tasmania wasn’t shown at the recent M&S tasting, but I tasted it again last week (drank it, actually) and thought it pretty well unbeatable at the price, as I did when I tasted it in the spring. It’s got the brilliant sauvignon crunch factor, but without the aggressive tendency, and really interesting, sustained smoky, gooseberry flavours. 13% abv.
£7.99, Marks & Spencer.
2007 M de Murviedro Syrah, Utiel-Requena
Asda hasn’t featured here much and I can’t pretend I was inspired by its recent press tasting, but there are some good bottles if you look hard. This Spanish syrah is one of trio of good wines from Bodegas Murviedro in Utiel-Requena. It’s full and generous with ripe but fresh blackberry fruit and a nice touch of pepper and bonfire smokiness. There’s no oak and it doesn’t need it. 13.5% abv. The other two wines are a young white blend of sauvignon and viura (£5.48) and a 2005 oak-aged blend of tempranillo, monastrell and cabernet sauvignon (£6.98)