When fellow wine enthusiasts suggest I try a handcrafted wine made from a surviving block of what was once a high-yielding vineyard that used to help supply the once insatiable Cape brandy industry, my eagerness is usually a little muted. This same (hopefully polite) sense of reservation extends to many of the more pedestrian workhorse reds.

I’ve worked in Priorat in Spain where some of the oldest and most photogenic carignan vineyards in the world are to be found. I find it impossible to express unrestrained enthusiasm when reviewing the beverage coaxed from those marvellous gnarled bushvines. The landscape may be harsh and uncompromising: the wines are generally bland and forgettable...

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