SPAIN: PASICO OLD VINE MONASTRELL/SHIRAZ 2013
(£5, reduced from £6, until 7 April, Sainsbury’s)
A clear favourite at its knock-down price of just a fiver. From the little known Jumilla region, this red blend is soft, smooth and succulent with few of the rough edges you might expect at this low price. Monastrell (aka mourvedre) and shiraz (aka syrah) are both French grapes which originate from the Rhône – so this is a sort of Spanish-style Côte du Rhône at a fantastic price. It just shows how good Spanish reds from lesser known regions can be. STAR VALUE BUY
AUSTRALIA: M SIGNATURE BAROSSA SHIRAZ 2013
German Friedrich Herbig arrived Down Under in 1855 in search of his fortune. He had to live with his family in a hollowed-out gum tree and planted vines to make ends meet. Several generations later his family are still making gutsy, rich reds in the famous Barossa. This is packed with fruit, and is pretty intense, spicy and big framed for its price.
SPAIN: CELLER DE CAPCANES MAS DONIS NEGRE 2009
(£8.75, Drinkmonger, Edinburgh and Pitlochry, www.drinkmonger.com)
If you like Priorat, but can’t afford it (see our £14.99 Priorat, right), try this deliciously spicy, cherry-fruited garnacha-dominant blend from the nearby Montsant region. Softened with two months in French and American oak, it doesn’t have the structure or deep intensity of many Priorat wines – but it’s a great value lookalike.
Few have heard of this popular quaffer discovered at this year’s Comic Relief Wine Fair, as it used to be called Coteaux de Tricastin. Delas producers are really at the top of their form with this delicious, spicy, balanced Rhône-blend at this price. STAR VALUE BUY
SPAIN: EXTRA SPECIAL EL MESON GRAN RESERVA RIOJA 2004
Less than a tenner for a wine more than a decade old – no wonder this rioja made by respected Spanish bodega Baron de Ley scooped the Spanish Red Trophy at the IWC awards last year. Unearthed from the tasting line-up on Asda’s table at the Comic Relief Wine Fair in Edinburgh, the coconut and cream cheese aromas and soft plummy fruits are divine. Smooth as velvet on the palate.
SOUTH AFRICA: EXHIBITION PINOTAGE 2013
(£10.50, The Wine Society)
For those who love this quirky, spicy South African grape, this is extremely good value pinotage made by the Cape’s famed Kanonkop estate. Ex-lawyer Johann Krige and his charming family run this historic pinotage estate near Stellenbosch.
CHILE: SECRET DE VIU MANENT MALBEC 2013
I loved the funky label and spicy fruit of this Chilean malbec. You might think malbec performs best in Argentina, but this French grape also makes interesting wines across the Andes in the top Chilean wine region of Colchagua Valley. The blend is 85 per cent malbec, with 15 per cent of a secret grape added to help soften malbec’s austere structure.
SPAIN: PIONERS DEL PRIORAT 2011
From the rugged Priorat region south of Barcelona, this gutsy garnacha blend from Catalunya has hints of liquorice, cherry and spice. It needs a big succulent roast lamb joint cooked with rosemary to do it justice.
CHILE: ERRAZURIZ ACONCAGUA COSTA PINOT NOIR 2011
I really liked this Chilean pinot noir as it wasn’t all soupy soft and slushy as so many South American pinots can be. This might be more than you would normally pay for a Chilean pinot too, but it’s worth it for its interesting character, rich complexity, earthy tone and long length. Well done Errazuriz.
SOUTH AFRICA: CAPE CHAMONIX RESERVE PINOT NOIR 2012
(£18-£21 Luvians; WoodWinters; Lockett Bros; Swig; Stone Vine & Sun; Berry Bros & Rudd)
Gottfried Mocke selects high grown pinot noir fruit for his reserve wine which was one of the most popular wines on my recent South African wine tour – and is always a winner at my tastings. Only a handful of Cape winemakers are making decent pinot noir – Cape Chamonix in the Franschhoek region currently wears the crown jewels.
• Join Rose’s Ottoman Empire Wine & Cheese Tasting in Edinburgh on 24 June, £40, www.rosemurraybrown.com