Funky red: André Perret Merlot 2014

Domaine André Perret Merlot, Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes 2014, 13%

(£9.95, The Wine Society)

It’s fair to say both the label and style of this southern French red are a bit funky – edgy even. Not for everyone, maybe.

But part of the reason it’s so delicious is precisely because it’s so different.

How often is Merlot under a tenner bland, boring and middle of the road? Decent enough but…ugh. Uninspiring. In fact, Merlot generally very rarely proves inspirational – it needs handling with great sensitivity, restraint and tact.

Step forward André Perret, a man who makes many a mean Syrah from his northern Rhône base. I didn’t know he grew Merlot – we’re fans of his excellent value St Joseph – but there you go. This is Merlot, then, with a Syrah-esque swagger – infused with a peppery, meaty tenor, elegant and refreshing as well as complex and savoury. It’s the stuff bangers and mash dream of.

And all for under £10. Not bad for a bottle to restore your faith in Merlot. (7/10, Peter, Sept 2016)