Ravenswood Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel 2014 (14.5% abv) - California, USA. Tasty reminder that Zinfandel is indeed a 'black' grape variety for making solid wild-edged red wines (as opposed to crap rosé), this is smoky and chewy with rich sunny fruit. Sainsbury's £10 (occasionally on offer at £8).
Marques de Casa Concha Syrah 2014 (14.5% abv) - D.O Buin, Maipo River, Chile. From 'a single vineyard at 500 metres above sea level' in the newly demarcated 'Buin' sub-region, this sexy Syrah spent 16 months in French oak barrels. Quite oaky when first opened - in fact it tasted better two days later - yet lush and concentrated with dark spicy fruit, firm but well-textured tannins. One of Concha y Toro's posh ranges: £9 on offer at Tesco, usually £12.
More Syrah from Chile HERE.
Finca La Celia Pioneer Malbec 2013 (14.5% abv) - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina. More serious and more 'savoury' example of the slightly ubiquitous Malbec variety, fairly full-bodied and structured vs attractive maturing fruit. Winemark £9.99.
Another big brand widely available Malbec I've enjoyed recently: Trivento Malbec Reserva 2015. Despite the sometimes misleading 'Reserve' word (which too often just means 'oaky'), this one nicely brings spicy ripe fruit to the fore.