the year 2002
The good news... there's still plenty of good cheap wine around.
Here's my guide to some of the best affordable bottles. All of these
come in at less than £7.
First of all,
probably the star bargain red of 2002, the highly successful Goats du
Roam from Fairview. Lots of interest, cheap, and widely avialable
Fairview Goats do
Roam 2001, South Africa
I’ve previously recommended the 2000 vintage of this brilliantly
successful red blend, and the 2001 is
equally good. A vivid red/purple colour, attractive ripe, sweet raspberry
fruit dominates, but there’s also some savoury, meaty complexity. Good
acidity and not at all confected, this has to be one of the very best reds
available at this price point. Very good+ (£4.99 Tesco, Majestic, Oddbins and others)
The South of France is a happy hunting ground for bargain hunters,
and this wine is very satisfying for five pounds. A useful house red?
Laurent Miquel Syrah Mourvèdre 2000, Vin de Pays d'Oc, France
This deep-coloured wine has an attractive nose of meaty, spicy berry
fruit. The palate is savoury with plummy fruit and an attractive
damson-like bitterness. With a chunky structure, this is satisfying stuff
for the price: the sort of thing the South of France does so well. Very
good+ (£4.99 Sainsbury)
Our house white comes from Spain. Lovely,
crisp and fresh.
Torres Vina Sol 2001, Penedès, Spain
Made from the Parellada grape, this food-friendly white wine is a
brilliant example of commercial wine making. The fresh, lemony nose has an
attractive aromatic floral twist. It's almost Sauvignon-like. The palate
is crisp and slightly spritzy, with nice taut fruit. High acidity provides
a lovely foil for Chinese food, believe it or not. Try to get the most
recent vintage (2001) if possible; it's fresher and zippier than the 2000.
Very good+ (Majestic, Tesco £4.49)
slightly surprise inclusion next. Portugal is best known as a red wine
country, but the indigenous white grapes can make lovely wines when
Segada Branco 2001 Ribatejo, Portugal
Portuguese whites have a pretty low profile, but this is a lovely
example from the Fernão Pires grape, at a bargain basement price. It is a
full flavoured fruity white with a slightly smoky edge to the apple and
lemon fruit. Lots of nutty savoury character here and even a touch of
minerality. In a modern style but full of flavour. Very good/excellent (£3.99
CWS Group, Oddbins)
the Iberian peninsula, Rueda is probably one of Spain's most
interesting white wine regions. Local grape Verdejo makes lovely
fresh, Sauvignon-like wines.
Tres Olmos Verdejo Bodegas
Gaciarevalo 2001, Rueda, Spain
From a family run Bodega with 40 ha in the middle of Rueda, one of Spain's
leading white wine regions. This shows a wonderfully bright aromatic nose
with appealing lemony fruit. With a pronounced herbal edge there's lots of
fruit here and good acidity. Brilliant for the price. Very good/excellent
(£5.95 Berry Bros)
an appearance for the penultimate choice.
Valentin Bianchi Elsa Barbera 2000,
This vibrant, juicy red is a wonderful find. Really lovely forward
liquoricey berry fruit on the nose. The palate has lots of bright savoury-edged
berry fruit with good acidity. Completely more-ish, this is brilliant for
the price. Very good/excellent (£5.45 Berry Bros & Rudd)
Finally, a real
star of a wine, tasting like a decent-ish Cote Rotie from vineyards
just outside of the appellation.
Domaine Mouton Syrah 2000, Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes
I just had to include an excellent pair from Domaine Mouton.
First, this wine: an authentic Northern Rhône Syrah at a bargain price. Lovely, smoky,
meaty nose with a core of bright raspberry fruit. The palate is rich,
meaty and savoury with attractive Syrah character and good acidity. A
bit stern for some, but I love the style. Very good/excellent
(currently £5.00 in the La Vigneronne bin-end sale; was £6.50 but
I'd still recommend it even at the higher price)
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