HIGHLY COMMENDED Spanish red Bodegas Ontañon Rioja Gran Reserva 2010 (£27.49, Boutinot): All you want from a Gran Reserva: oak, soft fruit and mature flavours in balance. Valenciso Rioja Reserva 2011 (£23.49, Boutinot): Well made; mellow with a touch of pepper and vanilla spiciness. Marco Abella Clos Abella, Priorat 2014 (£45.99, Vindependents): Big and brooding but balanced with liquorice and earthy depths. Viña Ginesa Reservas Imperio Gran Reserva, Valdepeñas 2010 (£10.99, Vindependents): Stuctured, rustic with appealing cherry liqueur flavours. Viñas del Jaro, Jaros, Ribera del Duero 2016 (£19, Moreno Wines): Toasty oak and lots of dark berry action; weighty but good fresh finish. Rioja Crianza 2015 (£13.25, Las Bodegas): Oak is nicely worked, red fruit is good and ripe; price is right. Bodegas Nodus El Renegado Tinto, 2017 (£7.99, Bodegas Nodus): True-to-type Bobal with a hint of reduction but richly juicy fruit. Bargain.
USA red Talbott Sleepy Hollow Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands, California 2014 (£35, E&J Gallo Winery): Developed nose of leather and spice and ripe, warm fruit. Louis M Martini Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, California 2015 (£35, E&J Gallo Winery): Round and full with intense fresh fruits; glossy texture. Louis M Martini Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, California 2014 (£40, E&J Gallo Winery): Attractively jammy juicy fruit and very soft tannins. Cannonball Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma, California 2016 (£18.95, Enotria&Coe): Woodland notes and spice; restrained fruit; soft tannins. Trefethen Family Vineyards Merlot, Oak Knoll District, Napa Valley, California 2016 (£34.99, Daniel Lambert): Clean, commercial style with excellent ripe fruit and creaminess of texture.
The Wine Merchant Top 100
The Wine Merchant Top 100 Winners Supplement 2019