2015 Feudi di Guagnano Diecianni Negroamaro Salento

A couple of days in Puglia and a few glasses of local red later it was starting to seem as if there’s a common theme of size, maximum extraction and alcohol ripeness, and that despite avoiding the richest Primitivi. Last night’s dinner choice was a welcome relief. Medium weighted, moderately extracted and mouthwatering cherry fruit mingled with fresh natural acidity, properly integrated with some gentle fine tannin. Hooray, instead of tiring after a glass, the bottle emptied easily and just got more delicious. Brilliant with local veggie, fishy pasta as it should be. Now to try and find more of this sensitive producer’s wine in the local shops. Avanti!

13.50% alcohol. Cork. 16 euros on the osteria’s list, perhaps under 10 retail I hope!

91 yum points.

Other goodies by the glass from the Pugliese stiletto –

2016 Erbaceo Colle della Murgia, Greco di Tufo e Minutolo. Refreshing fragrant flower and green herb scented. Green melon, citrus and great acid.

2017 Polvanera  Rosato, Aleatico, Primitivo e Aglianico. Deep colour for a pinky, toffee, cherry and an endearing chalky tang to bring you back to the glass. Enough to fling rosé prejudices aside!

2013 Le Temps Retrouvé Mourvèdre

From vines in the hills above Perpignan in Roussillon via the seminal natural wine caviste La Cave des Papilles in Paris’ 14th. Developed but still some freshness to the dark cherry fruit and relatively high acidity. Improved with being open for a day as the parts came together to make a delicious wine. As well as cherries there was a lasting sweet roasting pan juice flavour tinged with rosemary. Clean and fine for its warm climate origins. The last glass was wistfully the best.

12.50% alcohol. Cork. 25 euros.

94 points

2015 Les Vignes Oubliées Terrasses du Larzac

A favourite caviste in Paris, Les Caves du Marais, run by the irrepressible Jean Jacques Bailly, is described by Paris by Mouth as the sort of place you always thought should exist but rarely does. Yet to be disappointed when asking for a coup de coeur. This Languedoc blend of Grenache, Syrah and Carignan is spectacularly rich, firm and at its powerful core deeply fruited. Dark squishy cherries and blackberries abound with earthy road tar, woody herbs, dried figs and scents of an old carbon black fireplace. The exuberance is nailed securely in place by dense wall of ripe tannin and acid that really brings the fruit to life with food. Sort of daunting without in that almost Italian way maybe. Wild but beautifully clean. The winery website shows just how carefully its beautiful old vineyards are tended. Forgotten no more.

14% alcohol. Cork. 24 euros.

95 points.

2016 Domaine Romaneaux Destezet Hervé Souhaut Clos des Cessieux Saint Joseph

About as far away from industrial alcoholic Shiraz as it gets. Perfumed violets, smoky Rhone and red fruits. An essence of raspberry and blood orange dances with real energy but so lightly it floats. Framed by tingling ripe acid and a smear of such fine tannin. It’s wild and earthy but not faulty. Crisp but not green. Seasoned by just a touch of pepper. Wish all those…er….vins naturels were this dazzling and clean. Probably never going to please the power and concentration seekers. Polarising without doubt.

12.50% alcohol! Cork. 27 euros.

95 points

2017 Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis

The back label proudly says Jean-Marc Brocard is a big name in Chablis. He certainly makes delicious Chablis, specious boast notwithstanding. Half a bottle from a Paris  supermarket disappeared leaving drools for more. Relatively rich at first and maybe developing quickly from being shelf bound in a scorcher of a summer, it’s still citrus and yellowy green fruits and that mouthwatering acidity. There’s some seaside Chablis scent just to make sure. Seemed to freshen up in the glass. Shame it was only a half.

12.50% alcohol. Diam. 9 euros a half.

91 points but a bonus mark for being the best sort of Chardy.

2013 Domaine Huber-Verdereau Meursault 1er Cru La Pièce sous le Bois

First and very probably the only 1er Cru white burgundy of the year thanks to a very generous friend. From a producer in Volnay. Opened a bit natural winey yeasty and spiced but sucked up air beautifully to become a self assured, rich yet still fresh Chardy. Full range of honey, toasted nuts, cut apple and autumnal stone fruits, melting butter and golden sunny days. All contained by a deliciously soft mouthwatering acidity that sits right inside the wine and balances the abundance so well. As with Burgundy sometimes the last glass the best. Shame you can’t squeeze a glass bottle.

13% alcohol. Cork. $? dread to think.

95 points