Bordeaux had its chance – and it blew it. After three unexceptional years, the wine trade made itself hoarse shouting that the price of the mediocre 2013 vintage needed to be discounted by 30-35 per cent if the wines were to sell at the pre-bottling early release stage. But to no avail – we were ignored.
The trouble is, the châteaux can hold the Bordeaux merchants to ransom. How? By threatening to withhold their allocation when there is a good vintage. Until the revolution comes, the few dozen châteaux at the top will always survive – whatever the vintage – while several thousand lowly growers wither on the vine.
No wine, no matter how venerable, should rest on its laurels. While limited production and a good address may add a premium to the price, wine needs to be good value to ensure people buy it. Still, though, the myopia of Bordeaux creates opportunities elsewhere. No one could accuse Burgundy or Barolo of ever being knowingly undersold: the 2012 Burgundy was the star buy earlier this year, and so too is the 2010 Barolo, which is now coming on to the market. Select an excellent wine in a good or great vintage and you will find rich reward in the years to come.
Burgundy and Barolo are more special occasion, rather than more-bang-for-your-buck wines. Sure, they're great to drink, but I'm also always after wines for everyday drinking that punch above their weight, as well. Majestic's summer tasting offered just such tantalising glimpses with a zippy, richly tropical Burgundian 2012 Killka Chardonnay, Bodegas Salentein, £11.99, buy 2 = £7.99 and an equally fine, lime-zesty and dry 2013 Peter Lehmann Riesling, £10.49, buy 2 = £8.92. The ultra-freshness and peach tones of Tesco's finest* Albariño, £7.49, trips off the tongue with an almost briney freshness. And 2013 Tesco finest* Swartland Chenin Blanc, £6.99, is like fresh, full-flavoured honeydew melon in a glass.
Impressive everyday reds from Majestic include the excellent new vintage 2013 Domaine de Montval Syrah, £9.99, buy 2 = £7.49, a peppery Crozes-like southern French red; a bright plummy Puglian rosso with suitably damsony bite in the 2013 Primitivo, Natale Verga, £8.99, buy 2 = £6.74. There's also a surprisingly delightful, raspberry fruit-flavoured 2012 Pinot Noir Puy de Dôme from Cave Saint Verny, £7.95-£8.12, The Wine Society, Lea & Sandeman. The 2012 Familia Zuccardi Series A Malbec, £9.13-£11.99, slurp.co.uk, Cheers, Cambridge Wine Merchants, is also a gluggable delight. And the impressively spicy, blackberry-rich 2011 Château de la Négly, Coteaux du Langeudoc, La Côte, £10.95, from vineyardsdirect.com, is great value. No flies on any of these wines.Reuse content