2019 Bila-Haut, M. Chapoutier, Côtes du Roussillon Villages, France
£12.25, Kenrick’s, kenrickswines.com, 07311-020125
I love high-quality, independent wine retailers, which is not surprising because this métier is in my blood. I started working in the wine business in 1987 in a brilliant indie in southwest London, and I was fortunate to learn from one of the finest palates in the country.
The independent wine merchant, the butcher, baker, cheesemonger and other genuinely passionate and knowledgeable small businesses form the heart of the community. I spotted a new arrival in Fulham last year, and I finally managed to pop in last week in mystery shopper mode, and what a treat it was. I earwigged the manager talking to another customer through a couple of wines, and it was clear he knew each inside out. I bought five bottles and each was a delight.
My featured hearty red is a tremendously juicy and spicy fellow with a wicked price tag. In addition, 2020 First Flight Syrah Graeme & Julie Bott (£28.65) is a spectacular Côte-Rôtie taste-alike; 2019 Cline Old Vine Zinfandel (£15.50) is a fragrant, aromatic, super-juicy zin with masses of charm and a liquid velvet texture; and the 2020 Laureatus Albariño Rías Baixas (£16.30) shows what this beguiling white grape can do when you trade up from a ten quid high-street wine to a genuine, artisanal creation.
The 2019 Domaine Mas Barrau, Cabernet Franc (£10.45) is a bargain-priced, organic beauty, pulsing with energy and style. Kenrick’s is a magnificent addition to the wine skyline and I urge you to load up.
Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (MatthewJukes.com)