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Top Tips has a couple of surprises today.

If you like pleasant wine-related surprises, this post is definitely for you.

Welcome to the latest Top Tips quest for great value options among the High Street’s inexpensive ranges.

Both selections hold some surprises.

One is a rosé with unusual lees-based savouriness and complex additional flavours – but you need to hurry because its current price reduction ends soon.

The other is a nicely balanced merlot that is an ideal cross-over point between lovers of rich versions and those who relish lighter, easy drinking cherry influenced numbers.

The second surprise with the merlot is that it only costs £6 – a price point M&S have found “challenging” in the past.

Pictures and, where appropriate, hyperlinks are included with the descriptions of these wines.

Middle of the road but definitely not bland.

While not as diverse in its potential styles as chardonnay, merlot still comes in various forms.

Extremes run from the rich, dark wines made by Bordeaux’s right bank superstars to the light, cherry and spice options that helped convert Americans to red wine.

This new arrival at M&S from Chile’s Central Valley sits almost exactly in the middle with expertly crafted wine that partners soft fruit elements and mild tannin with a complex range of ancillary flavours.

Smooth and medium-bodied, 2021 Ya’Po Merlot (£6.00 at M&S and 13%) delivers soft cherry and raspberry flavours supported by attractive mint, milk chocolate and aniseed traces along with firm but balanced acidity and palatably mellow tannin.

Not your ordinary rosé

Despite being made from classic Southern France “pink wine” grapes (grenache and syrah), this is unusual rosé.

Ripe fruit flavours and energetic acidity shine through vividly but extended contact with the yeast cells used in fermentation (lees aging) introduces savoury elements too.

The resulting fennel backdrop to 2021 Madame F Rosé (£7.50 – instead of £9 until 28 June – at Sainsbury’s and 12%) therefore vies for attention with the wine’s bright, energetic, grapefruit acidity.

It goes on to accompany that combination of savouriness and fresh vitality with layers of apricot, watermelon, orange peel and strawberry flavours.

Call in again on Thursday, when I focus on the latest arrivals or vintages at Aldi and when I reveal Sunday Best and Friday Night Special selections to complement today’s Top Tips.

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