£10.50/£11.50, Lea & Sandeman
The buyer pointed this out at the autumn tasting as one of the new lines Lea & Sandeman was particularly pleased with. Rightly so – it's great value. The very good 2015 vintage, with its extravagant ripeness, gets it off to a standing start, but there's more to it than plummy, ripe Merlot and soft, easy tannins. There's a mouthwatering brightness to the fruit complemented by notes of spice, blueberry and chocolate and a lingeringly fresh, savoury finish in which the 10% Cabernet Franc component in the blend has undoubtedly played a part. It can be drunk with the usual claret-friendly grills and roasts, but it's rounded and supple enough to drink with roast chicken, mac 'n' cheese, aubergine and Parmesan bakes, roast vegetables and so on. 14%.
Château Cabos 2015, Bordeaux, France
£11.50 single bottle, or £10.50 in any mix of 12 bottles, Lea & Sandeman