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Glorious lockdown wines

Last year, during lockdown, I was invited to help judge The Wine Merchant Top 100, a competition which pits wines against each other, whittling thousands down to just one hundred winning wines, to be stocked by independent wine merchants around the country. Two of these winning wines I scored 90 and 91/100, my highest scores, for their good value, typicity, and depth of flavour, which they had in spades.  And since you can buy each of them for less than a twenty-pound note, I am delighted to include them now in my ECS dedication to “Award-Winning wines in the £15-£20 category”, the subject of my column for the next few months. What`s extraordinary, as well, is that the two wines come from not just the same wine region, but from the same wine producer as well, something I could not have known at the time of tasting because I had tasted them blind. Which just shows how good they are. Two standout wines, “dos amigos”, representing the best of their type. They are: `Cabriola` and `Tres Picos` by Borsao;  from old vines grown high up in the Campo de Borja region of north-eastern Spain. I can`t recommend them enough. The `Cabriola` is an impressive Garnacha, Syrah & Mazuelo blend, predominantly Garnacha grapes, with deftly applied oak aging. It has red fruit aromas intermingled with herbs and spices, and the palate is well-structured with bramble and berry fruits alongside toasty notes, beautifully balanced. The `Tres Picos` is from 100%  Garnacha, has a floral expression to its fruit-bomb aromas, followed by a generous core of dark, fruit-rich bramble and sweet tin-strawberries. A few months oak aging has added to its richness. Both are excellent examples of the high-performance reds emerging from Campo de Borja, currently, where the Garnacha grape is King, and the wines luxurious in their delivery. They are hedonism personified, and for less than £20 per bottle. Talk about bang for your buck. This time of year, they make great casserole wines, and excellent cheese wines as well. Glory, glory. Cheers everyone!

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