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19 January 2022

A dozen more winter wines of the mo

Muga Reserva Rioja 2016 (14% abv) is a splendid oak-aged blend of 75% Tempranillo with Garnacha, Mazuelo (= Carignan) and Graciano. Smoky spicy oak aromas in that traditional Rioja fashion but with lots of rich dark berry fruit and beginning to show enticing balsamic maturing notes, quite dense powerful and structured with concentrated savoury fruit, a little firmness still on the finish but with lovely silky tannins too. Good with lamb shank; should benefit from another few years' bottle age. Half-bottle £9.25 (image = the Wine Society).

Cirò Greco 2020 Santa Venere, Calabria Italy (13% abv) - From the supreme Greco variety grown in organic vineyards on the east coast of Calabria in the deep south: Cirò is the DOP region (appellation). Peach and citrus flowers with yeast-lees tones, juicy and crisp yet rounded with full textured mouth-feel. Wine Society £10.50.

Feudo Arancio Grillo 2020 Sicilia (13% abv): Another tasty Grillo from Sicily, a variety I've become addicted to, this good-value example is lush and juicy with hallmark floral spicy apricot fruit. Love that pub wallpaper label too. Wine Society £7.25.

Calcinaires blanc 2019 Domaine Gauby, Côtes Catalanes IGP Roussillon (12.5% abv): Maturing nicely showing creamy and yeasty hazelnut characters with cooked apple, quince and aniseed notes, concentrated rounded and lightly oxidised (deliberately probably) while juicy, fairly intense, light and elegant too. Classy white although it's typical high-priced Gauby: £18.50 (Wine Society). Varieties vary from vintage to vintage but usually include combinations of Macabeu, Grenache blanc, Vermentino and Chardonnay.


Malbec Rosé 2021 'Finest', Argentina (13% abv): Stopped buying this rosé because the 2020 was lacklustre and faded quickly, so make sure you get the 21 vintage which is very pink, perfumed and zesty with sweet red berry and cherry fruit, crisp juicy finish. Made by leading winery Bodegas Catena in Mendoza, apparently with a hint of the white Torrontés grape added. £8

Errázuriz Cuvée Aconcagua Pinot Noir 2019 (13.5% abv): Found the touch of toasty oak a little intrusive when first opened, but this stylish Pinot actually got better after being open for a couple of days. Silky and savoury with sweet berry fruits, full-bodied although had a certain freshness too. £10 (was £8 before Christmas).


Roussanne 'Specially Selected' 2020 Pays d'Oc IGP (13% abv), Chassaux et Fils: A new label range as far as I know, although this one had the giveaway initials JC Mas on the capsule as in one of the Languedoc's most progressive vineyard and winery owners. Unusual dry white made from southern French variety Roussanne offering juicy lees-y texture with nutty aniseed and pear-drop flavours, aromatic and fresh yet rounded nutty and full too. €8.99 Ireland £6.99 UK.

Mimo Moutinho Lisbon Rosé 2020 (12.5% abv): Pleasant easy-going and good-value Portuguese rosé with plenty of creamy summer fruits and off-dry finish. €7.49 Ireland £5.99 UK.


MulKoa Chardonnay 2020, Navarra Spain (12.5% abv): A surprise find at Lidl recently, which looks like a one-off parcel that they stack in those wooden crates rather than on shelf (hard to find any info about the wine apart from on their German website). Actually pretty classy Chardy for the money (it's been grown in this part of northeastern Spain for some time) with lightly buttery citrus fruit and elegant finish. Chablis-esque although warmer climate style. £7 or £8 UK, €5.99 Germany.


Mas Miralda Brut Reserva Cava 2017 (12% abv): Raved about this fizz before on WW.com, this vintage is getting better in bottle with toastier brioche flavours developing against its fresh dry apple and almond finish. Produced by Marqués de la Concordia for ASDA's 'Extra Special' label. Bargain at £8.

Dr L Riesling 2020, Mosel Germany (8.5% abv): Seemed a bit sweeter than I remember (?), but this refreshing low alcohol Riesling is juicy racy and grapefruity. The sweetness works with Chinese or Thai food quite well. £7

Oyster Bay Pinot Noir 2019, New Zealand (13.5% abv): This big brand is always worth a go when it's on offer (frequently somewhere or other), and I think the oak treatment has become less obvious (?). Attractive sweet/savoury Pinot styling, fairly concentrated and full-bodied yet softish mouth-feel. £10-£11 also widely available.

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Header image: Château de Flandry, Limoux, Languedoc. Background: Vineyard near Terrats in Les Aspres, Roussillon.