Continuing from where I left off, below are some of the reds at under £10 from the annual tasting of The Bunch, a group of six independent merchants whose slogan is ‘for wines less ordinary’ – a fair claim. There’s also another Symington single quinta port – one that wasn't at the London tasting, which is why I forgot to include it last week. First, though, something else I failed to mention last week: the Spanish white wine taste-off in London between two estates – the all-Albariño wines of Pazo de Señoráns (Rías Baixas) and the wines of Can Ràfols dels Caus in Penedès. Each showed 11 vintages going back to 1996. I gave my equal highest scores to three wines: 1996 and 1999 Pazo de Señoráns Seleccion Añada – thrillingly fresh on the nose, deep and complex on the palate; and the 1999 Can Ràfols dels Caus, a wonderfully, rich, intense and steely 100% chenin blanc from a single vineyard. So I gave my highest scores to the two oldest wines and one that was only a little younger. Who says Spanish white wines don’t age?
1999 Quinta da Senhora de Ribeira
Lovely single quinta port that can be drunk any time over the next 15–20 years. Fragrant, intense and densely flavoured with black fig, cassis, violets, spices, a touch of eucalyptus and ripe, rounded tannins. When a Dow’s vintage is declared, this quinta’s wine goes into it.
£65, The Wine Society.
2009 Gonnet, Ventoux, Rhône, France
Perfumed, ripe and spicy with juicy, raspberryish fruit. A sort of baby Châteauneuf-du-Pape from the family that owns Font de Michel. 14% abv.
2010 Domaine des Filles de Septembre Tradition, Côtes de Thongue (IGP), Languedoc, France
Youthful, juicy, spicy, earthy Mediterranean red with a herby garrigue accent and some carignan grip and dryness. 14% abv.
2009 Domaine Camp Galhan, Les Pérrassières, Duché d’Uzès, (IGP) Languedoc, France
Full-bodied, full-flavoured, warm, spicy, grenache-based red with succulent fruit and balancing dry tannins. 14% abv.
2010 Bodegas Monteabellon, Avaniel, Ribera del Duero, Spain
Richly fruity, unoaked tinto fino (aka tempranillo) with flavours of chocolate-coated, wine-soaked cherries, a minerally, peppery undertow and some useful ripe tannin in the background. 13.5% abv.
£9.75, Berry Bros