I have not scored these wines as such, but have a formalised system of seven gradings, from Poor to Oustanding. I guess if this was a 100-point scale, you could think of it as follows: (very approximately)
Outstanding = 96-100
Excellent = 92-95
Very good indeed = 88-91
Very good = 84-87
Good = 80-84
Moderate = 75-79
Poor = less than 75
2001 Beaujolais Villages Domaine de la Plaigne £5.99 Buy 2 @ £5.49
Real strawberry pulp juiciness about this, with hints of cranberry and redcurrant. Quite a dry, earthy palate, with some tannic heft underpinning soft fruit and a balanced, medium-length finish. Very good.
2000 Morgon Printemps Georges Duboeuf £6.99 Buy 2 @ £5.49
Creamy, soft, slightly tobacco-tinged berry fruits. The palate has fine weight and plenty of smooth, fine, juicy red fruits. Dry and quite savoury, the finish is moderately long in this stylish, well-made Beaujolais. Very good.
2001 Morgon Jean Descombes Georges Duboeuf £7.49 Buy 2 @ £6.49
Beautifully creamy nose of soft strawberry fruit showing fine ripeness, a rounded, caramel undertow, and hints of truffly complexity. It delivers a serious mouthful of firm red and black fruits, with a liquoricy core and fine tannins. Perfectly balanced and long in the finish, this will benefit from a few years in the cellar, but is an explosive, delicious wine. Excellent.
2000 Bourgogne Passetoutgrains Cave Co-op Buxy £3.99
Quite a crisp, lively, raspberry-fresh nose. Just a hint of earthiness. The palate is moderately fruity, with a suggestion of sweet strawberry ripeness and decent length. This is balanced and really a very nice example of Passetoutgrains - a blend of Gamay and Pinot Noir. Good/very good.
2000 Mâcon St-Gengoux £4.99 Buy 2 @ £4.49
This is a 100% gamay wine from the southern part of Burgundy, before hitting Beaujolais. It is a tiny bit reductive, then some charcoally, minerally notes and raspberry fruit. There is decent, gently sweet red fruit on the palate, with moderate tannins and a food-friendly dry finish. Good/very good.
1999 Marsannay Louis Latour £7.49
Sweet cherry and vanillin, fudge notes. A nice sweetness of fruit. The palate is balanced and moderate, with red fruit and some creaminess. It is ripe and has decent weight, in a very soft, easy-drinking style. Good/very good.
2000 Chassagne-Montrachet Blain-Gagnard £10.99 on offer £9.99
There's a definite sweetness about the nose, with creamy strawberry, smoke and vanilla, as well as spicy nuances. It has good fruit on the palate, quite rounded berry flavours and a little leafy quality. Finishes with good length and balanced acidity. Very good.
2000 Pernand-Vergelesses Domaine Nicolas Rossignol £9.99
Very ripe fruit on the nose with lots of juicy raspberry and redcurrant, a little toffeed quality and a minty edge. This has good fruit on the palate that is quite savoury and pleasantly rough, with good tannins and acidity adding a nice bite. Quite long, and very good.
2000 Aloxe Corton Domaine Rossignol Jeanniard £13.99
Slightly stalky/woody quality about this, then some raspberry fruit. The palate is rather acidic, without enough flesh about the mid-palate before spicy, smoky elements broaden the finish. There's a rather under-fruited quality about this, but I do wonder if the bottle was a touch corked. Good.
1999 Gevrey Chambertin Vieilles Vignes Marc Roy £14.99
Some nice, earthy, damp leaves and mushroomy complexity about this, with sweet oak notes and soft, rich fruit beneath. The palate has good weight and a rounded, juicy fruit quality. Finishes well, with good structure and plenty of power, if only moderate length. A wine I'm familar with over several vintages, and this is the best yet. Very good.
2001 Cuvée de Richard Red VdP de l'Aude £2.89
Displays plenty of jammy, fresh red fruit on the nose. The palate is zesty and crisp, with zippy strawberry and red cherry fruit, gentle acidity and a soft, easy-drinking finish. This is turning out to be a very reliable quaffer over the past couple of years.
2001 Cuvée des Amandiers VdP d'Oc £2.99
Quite a nice, rounded, soft and creamy fruit quality with jammy strawberry sweetness. Good fruit on the palate, with good balance and plenty of easy-drinking quality. Very good.
2001 Domaine Plantade Syrah Merlot VdP d'Oc £4.49 Buy 2 @ £3.99
Cherry sweets and round, jammy, slightly bubble-gummy fruit. Lots of ripe berries. Nice herbal edge to the fruit on the palate, although just a touch of hollowness about the mid-palate, but then that rounded, concentrated ripeness of fruit pushes through. Good/very good.
2001 Château Guiot Costières de Nîmes £4.99 Buy 2 @ £4.49
Really quite creamy and brightly-focused, with a thick jammy sweetness and just a little note of schisty minerals. The palate has a leathery, savoury streak and good tannins, which along with good acidity leaves this a little sinewy, but the components are of very good quality and this might well come together nicely. Very good.
2001 Terra Vitis Corbières £4.99
Very jammy, aromatic, rose-hip and floral nuanced raspberry fruit, and even a gooseberry character. A little drying on the palate, perhaps lacking a touch of flesh, but there is decent sweet fruit and a finish that is moderately long and balanced. Good/very good.
2000 Faugères Abbaye Sylva Plana La Closeraie £6.49 Buy 2 @ £5.99
Tiny bit of sulphur blows off to reveal a good quality of schisty, quite powerful cherry-edged black fruits and a peppery note. The palate is fruity and bold, with a ripe, sweet quality of fruit and plenty of savoury acidity and balanced tannins. Quite long, and very good/very good indeed.
2000 La Vieille Ferme Côtes du Ventoux, Perrin £4.99 Buy 2 @ £4.49
Modest, raspberry-fruited nose. A little note of herbs and redcurrants. Decent palate, with fresh, clean, raspberry fruit and crisp acidity. Tannins are soft, but this is fresh, light and savoury. Good/very good.
2000 Beaumes de Venise La Chapelle Nôtre Dame £5.49 Buy 2 @ £4.99
Very aromatic and sweet on the nose, with an almost minty quality and some vanillin overtones to black fruit. Good sweet attack on the palate, with a nice quality of fruit, medium weight, and a nice, fresh, lip-smacking finish with good tannin/acid balance. Very good.
2000 Sablet Domaine de Piaugier £5.99 Buy 2 @ £5.49
Sablet is one of the top Côtes du Rhône Villages, and this wine has a classy touch of briarwood and old roses about the nose, with good red fruit quality. The creamy palate is medium weight, with quite a rich texture and a thick, sweet fruit quality. There's a touch of pepperiness into the finish, and good length with dry tannins. Very good indeed.
2000 Vacqueyras Cave de Beaumes de Venise £5.99 Buy 2 @ £5.49
Definite cherry fruit here with a nice edge of minerality. A bit lightweight on the palate, with fine balance and a very pleasant, correct style, but just a little bland. Good/very good.
2000 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Les Grandes Serres £8.99 on offer £8.49
There'a mint humbug and fudgy sweetness of new oak here over ripe fruits, with plenty of cherry and a hint of chocolate-coated berries. The palate is bold, big and dustily dry, with powerful tannins gripping damson and black fruits. Powerful, and just a tad disjointed at present, but fine quality componenets and should come together very nicely. Very good/very good indeed.
2000 Gigondas Domaine des Chźnes Blancs £9.99 on offer £8.99
Quite earthy, with a nose of red berries, a touch of woodsmoke and some herbal nuances. Sweet, ripe, chunky red and black fruits on the palate, with a little leathery character and solid, chocolaty depth. Good quality and balanced by fine tannins and acidity. Very good/very good indeed.
2000 Château de Nardon Bordeaux Supérieur £5.49 Buy 2 @ £4.99
Nice, ripe, raspberry and blackcurrant nose, with a little hint of cedar. Quite powerful, and good fruit, though needs food as the dry palate has a very dominant tannin/acid axis that rather blunts the finish. Good/very good.
1999 Moulin de la Lagune Haut-Médoc £12.99 on offer £10.99
Second wine of 3rd growth Château La Lagune. Some sweet, fudge-like, minty oak quality dominating black fruit. Quite svelte on the palate, with smooth, juicy, blackcurrant fruit and balanced tannins. Modest length, but quite classy. Very good.
1998 Château Grand Faurie Larose St-Emilion GC £13.99 on offer £12.99
Pleasantly herbal edge to quite a meaty nose, with cedar, black fruit and a touch of tobacco. Nice complexity. Dense, smooth, chocolaty black fruits on the palate, with good texture and juicy acidity leaving a long, cool finish. Very good indeed.
1997 Château La Grave Figeac St-Emilion GC £16.99 on offer £14.99
Rounded, ripe, quite lush nose of sweet berry and plum fruit and a background of creamy vanillin. Very nice palate, with lots of creamy blackcurrant, some tart raspberry edges, and underpinned by smooth tannins. Very good indeed. Same owners as Châteaux Nenin and L'Evangile in Pomerol.
1998 Les Pagodes de Cos St-Estèphe £17.99 on offer £15.99
Second wine of 2nd growth Château Cos d'Estournel. There's a classy hallmark St-Estèphe quality about this, with plenty of meaty, animal, gamy complexity, leather, plum and blackcurrant fruit. The palate has a creamy texture and nice sense of sweet, thick fruit. There are fine tannins, good acids and a lovely ripe, long finish. Very good indeed.
1999 Duque de Viseu Dao £4.99 Buy 2 @ £4.49
Intriguing nose, with tobacco, almonds, minerals and zippy red fruits. There are little notes of blackurrant too. Good quality here, with a palate displaying some custardy sweetness, good fruit, fine tannins and a sense of poise and balance. Very good.
1999 Duas Quintas Tinto Douro £6.99 Buy 2 @ £5.99
Soft, earthy black fruit and autumnal berry aromas, with hints of tobacco and spice. Round, rich and satisfyingly chewy palate of robust, earthy berry fruits and key tannins. Weighty and nicely textured, this is long and balanced. Very good indeed.
NV Protocolo Tinto Dominio de Eguren £3.99 Buy 2 @ £3.49
Immediately vanillin nose with full-on new-sawn aromas (probably from staves or chips rather than barrels). Lots of mint-humbuggy intensity. There is creamy, chewy, berry fruit on the palate that is rich and opulent, with gently tannins and acidity leading to a big, easy-drinking mouthful of wine for the money. Very good.
1997 Rioja Reserva Viña Alberdi £9.99 on offer £8.99
Layers of depth and complexity here, with custardy oak, spice, sweet nutty aromas and warm, earthy, berry fruit. The palate has juicy damson and blackberry fruit, a raft of soft tannins and little hints of coffee and rose-hips. Quite long, this finishes with balance and some style. Very good indeed.
Italy15% off any six Italian wines priced £3 or over. Discounted price is also shown.
2000 Valpolicella Terre del Sole Pasqua £3.99 - £3.39
Vibrant, juicy cherry fruit; quite bright and light, with a sherbetty quality. The palate is modestly fruited, with red berries and chewy tannins, but quite a juicy, supple finish. Good/very good.
1999 Chianti DOCG Casellino Fratelli Grati £4.49 - £3.82
Light, herbal, juicy cherry fruit with a hint of raspberry and leafy redcurrants. Sweet, light, zippy fruit on the palate with good acidity adding a tart, food-friendly sense of savouriness. Good/very good.
2001 Bardolino Cavalchina Estate £4.99 - £4.24
I found this bottle very sulphury and reductive.
2000 Valpolicella Classico Santepietre £4.99 - £4.24
Light, sweet, slightly soapy nose with soft strawberry fruit emerging and a hint of minerality. Quite a nice palate here, with ripe red fruits, clean, precise cherry flavours, and moderate tannins and acids into a pure, fresh finish. Very good.
2000 Cabernet Montello, Venegazzu Loredan Gasparini £5.49 - £4.67
There's an attractively dank, vegetal quality here of leafy black fruits, but it is very fine. Chewy, medium-bodied blackcurrant and lightly toffeed savoury fruit. Decent balance and length, and that fruit sweetness persists into the finish. Very good/very good indeed.
2000 Barbera d'Asti Alfredo Prunotto £5.99 - £5.09
Cherry and currant fruit, little hints of woodsmoke, herbs and earthy, damp leaves. Nice quality of medium-bodied, juicy red fruits suggesting cherry and redcurrant. Nice wine, with decent length and ripe tannins adding savouriness, along with pleasantly sour acidity. Very good.
1999 Rosso Conero Conti Cortesi £5.99 - £5.09
Quite elegant nose of velvety fruit, some blackcurrant and a touch of bittersweet dark chocolate. Quite dense and chunky, this has plenty of stuffing and character, and though only moderately long, has balance and great appeal. Very good.
2000 Santa Christina Antinori £5.99 - £5.09
From the heart of the Chianti Classico area, this adds 10% Cabernet Sauvignon to Sangiovese. It has a very sweet, rounded, quite custardy oak quality on the nose over moderate fruit. The palate is sweet, clean and very stylish, with well-defined cherry fruit flavours and a touch of toastiness into a long, elegant finish. Very good.
2000 Chianti Classico Banfi £7.99 - £6.79
A lovely warmth of briarwood and tobacco on the nose over cherry fruit. Lots of crisp acidity on the palate, with keen-edged cherries and a light-bodied juiciness. Savoury, with elegant length, this is a modern but restrained style that is solid, but doesn't really excite. Good/very good.
1999 Valpolicella Classico Superiore Ripasso, Righetti £7.99 - £6.79
Some sweet vanillin oak softens bold, black cherry fruit and jammy blackurrant notes. Very juicy and ripe, with lovely sweetness of plum and cherry, a suggestion of prune and fig. Balanced and very delicious, this has fine quality. Very good indeed/excellent.
2000 Barbera d'Alba delle Vigne Vecchie De Forville £8.99 - £7.64
Big, deep, full oak nose with nuts, custard and hints of coffee. There's a really toffeed sweetness of oaky dark fruits on the palate, that is deep and warm with jammy ripeness and impressive style. Good balance and very good indeed.
1999 Poderuccio Camigliano Tuscany £8.99 - £7.64
Big, powerful, earthy nose of dank woodland, briarwood and cherry. Juicy, dry, beautifully delineated fruit on the palate that whilst thick and sweet, has a plummy depth and savoury blueberry quality. Lovely tannins and good length. Very good indeed/excellent.
2000 Rosso di Montalcino Banfi £9.99 - £8.49
Nose of sweet, ripe, dark brown sugar and chocolate-coated cherry and blackcurrant fruit. Hints of pleasant mushroomy notes. The palate has broad, soft, juicy black fruit and tart cherry skins with ripe tannins and good balance. Very good indeed.
1997 Barolo La Mora £13.99 - £11.89
A little dumb at first, this has a suggestion of chestnuts, sweet, damp earth, then firm black fruits. The palate displays much more sweetness and openness, though firm tannins and a rasping acidity cut in on the finish. This may improve and become more intergated, but it seems a bit unbalanced. Only good for now, but possibly deserves better.
1999 Aglianico del Vulture Val del Trono £9.99 - £8.49
Fine quality of juicy black cherries, minerals, briar and polished old wood, some deep, smoky notes. Dense and chewy palate, with very sweet-edged black fruits. Keen acidity again, giving an edge to the fruit, and ripe tannins kick in on the savoury finish. Very good/very good indeed.
1998 Amarone della Valpolicella Tedeschi £12.99 - £11.04
Loaded with sweet, dense, black cherry, damson and dried plum fruit on the nose, there is also an underlying suggestion of dusty, dry earthiness. Very dense. The palate has a bittersweet quality, with sweet fruit edged by charcoally nuances and tart cherry acidity. There is plenty of power and depth here, with good tannins and lots of spice in the finish. Very good/very good indeed.
1995 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Cą del Pipa £15.99 - £13.59
Distinctive, high, licquorice, truffle, dried-fruit and currant elements on the nose. Quite complex. The palate is concentrated and has a beautifully sweet edge to raisins, cherry, kirsch and chocolate. A real chocolaty, fudgy depth emerges on the mid-palate, with dried berries and tight tannins into a long finish. Very good indeed.
1995 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Cą del Pipa Le Vigne £17.99 - £15.29
This is the single-vineyard version of the wine above. Enhanced, almost Porty richness with sweet dried cherries and chocolate. Sweet and dark flavours flood the palate, with bitter espresso, blueberry and more cherry fruit. Silky and mouthfilling, a substantial weight of plum and dark, sweet fruit is bolstered by good acidity and gentle tannins into the finish. Very good indeed.
2000 La Mira Merlot Rapel Valley £3.99 on offer £3.79
Slightly dank, tinned tomato note at first, but then an infusion of sweeter fruit. The palate has drying tannins, but again there is a ripeness about the fruit and decent balance. A fine quaffing wine in the end. Good.
2000 Vistasur Merlot Rapel Valley £4.99 Buy 6 Vistasur save 15% £4.24
More depth here, and a more herbal, aromatic quality. Modest fruit on the palate, but pleasant and correct, with a reasonably long finish. Good.
2000 La Mira Cabernet Sauvignon Maipo Valley £3.99 on offer £3.79
Charcoally nose and suffused with sweet cherry and blackcurrant fruit. Quite creamy and ripe on the palate, this has good fruit quality and fine, savoury tannins. There's a purity about this, and it finishes stylishly. Very good.
2000 Vistasur Cabernet Cachapoal Valley £4.99 Buy 6 save 15% £4.24
More fudgy oak sweetness here, with a slick of vanilla wrapping black fruits, which have a ripe cassis quality. The palate is cool, with medium weight and good quality of fruit. Quite dense and ripe, tempered by chewy tannins and some solid structure. Quite long, and very good.
2000 Cono Sur 20 Barrels Pinot Noir £10.99 on offer - will be £11.99
Scented nose, with a perfume of flowers, violets, smoke, vanilla and a truffly undercurrent. Rich in the mouth, with a silky quality to the fruit, but then firm tannins adding some backbone. Quite a tight, structured, chewy palate with good length. Balanced finish. Very good.
2000 Montes "Limited Selection" Pinot Noir £7.49 Buy 2 @ £6.99
Much more obvious, flashy toast on the nose, with French oak complexity over cherry fruit with a touch of briar. The fruit is a little underpowered onto the palate, though it finishes with warmth and a bit of tannic structure. Good/very good.
1999 Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon £9.99 Buy 2 @ £8.99
Dominated by sweet, mint-humbuggy, toasty oak over plush blackcurrant fruit. The sweet and rich cassis palate shows no shortage of concentration, with deep, silky fruit and texture melting into a chocolate-rich finish. Sweet, luscious and delicious. Very good indeed.
1998 Montes Alpha Merlot Curico Valley £9.99 Buy 2 @ £8.99
Subdued nose compared to the Cabernet, but still sweet, deep and fudge-like quality to the fruit. A great density about the palate, with thick fruit and chewy concentration of plummy depth. Dense, savoury and lush, this is impressive again and very good indeed.
2000 Montes Alpha Syrah Apalta Valley £11.99
Super-ripe nose of chocolate, mulberry, mint and coffee, with a great swathe of black fruit. The palate doesn't quite deliver that volume, but has plenty of punch and heft, with sweet blackcurranty fruit and balancing ripe tannins and acids. Good length and very good/very good indeed.
1999 Casa Lapostolle - Cuvée Alexandre Merlot £14.99 on offer £12.99
Another fine showing for a wine I've raved about in several vintages, with copious quantities of thick, sweet, jammy black fruits, hints of damson and bitter cocoa, dry tannins and a multi-layered texture. Dense, soft and long in the finish with sweet tannins, this is very good indeed/excellent.
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2000 Tyrrell's Old Winery Pinot Noir £6.99 Buy 2 @ £5.99
Massively creamy nose, with a concentration of sweet, fudge-like oak and dense, dark, black fruits. No shrinking violet. Sweet, ripe fruit palate, not too jammy, with sufficient savoury tannin and juicy acidity to counteract all that smooth, rich fruit and decent length. Maybe not a Burgundian style, but very good.
1999 Pirramimma Cabernet McLaren Vale £7.99 Buy 2 @ £6.49
This has a bright, juicy, raspberry tinge to ripe blackcurrant fruit. There's an underpinning sweetness of oak. Rich, full palate of dense black fruit, with fine blackcurrant richness and cool, composed finish. Very good.
1999 Pirramimma Reserve Cabernet McLaren Vale £9.99 Buy 2 @ £7.99
There's a terrifically rich, super-ripe, super-concentrated mulberry and eucalyptus depth here, with cherry fruit and lots of sweet, thick, juicy cassis. The palate is dense and bold, with good weight and a solid background of toffeed oak. Very rich and mouthfilling, this is hedonistic in style and very good/very good indeed.
1998 Wynns Coonawarra Cabernet £9.99 Buy 3 save 33.3% £6.66
Big, savoury, rich mulberry and cassis nose. Plenty of oomph and stuffing here. The quality of fruit on the palate is pure and bold, with a firm backbone of ripe tannins and lots of purity of flavour. Good length, and very good.
1999 Amberley Estate Cabernet Merlot £9.99 Buy 2 @ £7.99
There's a nice red cherry and raspberry hint of light and elegance about the nose, though no lack of blockbuster ripe, dark fruit too. It just has a little suggestion of being nicely tempered and restrained. The palate too is fine, with broad, rich fruit, but avoids any sense of being cloying through spritely acidity and crisp tannins. Very good indeed.
1998 Pirramimma Petit Verdot McLaren Vale £8.99 Buy 2 @ £7.99
Classic sweet oak, spice and pepper nose with lots of clove, cinnamon and crushed blackberry. The palate has a touch of leather, but then a full, creamy, ripe black fruit quality takes over with the sweetness of the fruit playing nicely against dry tannins and moderate acidity. A very impressive example of Petit Verdot. Very good indeed.
2000 Lindemans Bin 50 Shiraz £5.99 Buy 6 £3.99
Slightly non-descript nose after the impressive Pirramimma, but decent fruit quality. Palate is juicy and has good black cherry and plum fruit, and quite a stylish appeal with fine tannins and good acid balance. Very good.
1999 Oxford Landing Y Series Shiraz £6.99
This has a very, very fine nose of ripe, eucalyptus-tinged, minty black fruit with a dense, chocolaty weight. The palate is a little more restrained, with medium body and a nice peppery zip to black fruits. There is good balance, with ripe tannis and a depth of fruit flavour into the finish. Very good/very good indeed.
2000 Rosemount Estate Shiraz £7.49 £5.00
Fantastically sweet, lifted, crowd-pleasing nose with juicy ripe berries, a jammy quality and no edges. The palate offers more of the same, with plenty of ripe blackcurrant fruit and an almost confectionery sweetness. Some will like the style more than me I'm sure, but still good/very good.
1999 Kangarilla Road Shiraz McLaren Vale £8.99 Buy 2 @ £7.99
There's a deep vein of chunky, broad, blue/black fruit with only a background suggestion of oak. Jammy and sweet on the palate, there is blackurrant and pepper, with a great dark sweetness of ripe tannin and balanced, juicy acidity. Delicious to drink and very good indeed.
1999 Pirramimma Stocks Shiraz McLaren Vale £6.99 Buy 2 @ £5.99
Bouyant, juicy, cherry-cola and sweet fudge on the nose. Quite ripe and sweet onto the palate, with a moderate toasty background and plenty of svelte blackberry and redcurrant fruit. There's just a suggestion of bittersweet plumskin and chocolate. Long, and very nice quality and balance for the price. Very good indeed.
1999 Pirramimma Premium Shiraz McLaren Vale £9.99 Buy 2 @ £7.99
Big, much more oaky nose than the regular Shiraz. Toasty, custardy opulence, with notes of toffee and chocolate. The palate is big and chunky, though perhpas a touch astringent; over-extracted? There is plenty of power and ripeness, but I feel this is a tad unbalanced and actually prefer the cheaper bottling. Still, very good.
Manzanilla Pasada Pastrana Hidalgo £6.99 on offer - will be £7.99
Aged in American oak butts and aged for 10 years before release. There's a mass of walnut, butter, raisins and a hint of tangerine peel. Bone dry on the palate, this is elegant with a walnut-shell dryness and a touch of flinty acidity. Long, pure and tangy into the finish. Very good indeed.