2007 Cedro do Noval, Duriense
Vivid, deep purple; aromatic with cherry, berry, almond and vanilla flavours. Lovely breadth, freshness and minerality on the palate and a silky texture. Cedro is the understudy to the red wine under the Quinta do Noval name and it’s a Vinho Regional Duriense, rather than a Douro DOC, because there’s 30% syrah in the blend. The rest is classic Douro - touriga franca and touriga nacional (30% each) and tinta roriz (10%). It’s delicious now, but it’ll probably be better in two years and will last several more. 13.5% abv.
2007 Viña Mayu Syrah Reserva, Elqui
I’ve just been to the Elqui Valley, Chile’s northernmost wine region, for the first time. Extraordinary – near-desert, or ‘pre-desert’, as they call it. The wines all come from one pioneering Italian-owned and run operation (where we were served solar-cooked bread and about half-a-lamb each). There are two lines, Mayu and Falernia. This 2007 Mayu Reserva is richly fruity, dense, spicy, peppery and smoky. Essence of Syrah. 14% abv. Watch out for the arrival in the UK of the non-reserva 2008 Mayu Syrah which is particularly good.
£10.99, or £8.79 when you buy any 2 Chilean bottles, Majestic.
Asda may still have some of the 2006 left; if so, worth buying.
2008 Moncaro Verdicchio dei Castelli Jesi Classico
This is such good value – and it’s as happy with food as it is on its own. A medium-bodied, fresh Italian white with more flavour and weight than the average pinot grigio (not difficult, that), but not so much that it wants to take centre stage all the time. Rounded, nutty, herbal flavours and a crisp, lemony finish. 12.8% abv.