Archive for the ‘Rest of France’ Category

La Fontaine, Aix-en-Provence

Monday, August 16th, 2010

On a stinking hot sunny day, 36 lobster-skin inducing degrees, what is a pale Englishman to do but find a shady spot, some food and a petit pichet of local rosé?


Domaine Pichard, Madiran 2003

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

I’ve been trying a few reds from South West France like this one from the Wine Society.  Mostly my experience has been good.  No, astonishing!

This rich smoky bomb is no exception.  Like inhaling a beetroot and blackberry flavoured firework.  Not so much representative of its terroir as made from the very scorched earth the vines are grown in.  From the vintage that deep fried numerous Gauls, this is a red-blooded hot spicy mama.

Gunpowder and plot (maybe without the treason, but you never know in France).  Truly delicious and at £7.95, a bargain.

Chapoutier Les Meysonniers, 2006

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

The future, according to some scientists, will be exactly like the past, only far more expensive – John Sladek.

Buying wine futures is no different to taking a long position on Brent crude, although the end result is often tastier – Me.

Except buying en primeur is fun and when I stick to the more reasonable end of the price range I frequently get outperforming wines for the price.  This Crozes-Hermitages was a great example at about £10 per bottle.


Domaine du Bosc, 2008

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

There are some cracking wines coming out of South West France, especially Languedoc, right now.  Sadly this isn’t one of them.


La Chapelle de Romanin 2004

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Les Baux-de-Provence is not a place I have ever visited.  But it has just blasted its way up my desirable-where-to-do-dégustation-in-France list, purely based on this wine, which is one of the most delicious reds I have tasted in a long time.


Petit Verdot par Preignes 2005

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

I’ve been exploring the wines of South West France recently.  Well, not so much exploring as gnat’s chuffing.  After being priced out of most Bordeaux, Burgundy and Rhone “offers” – I can’t work out why prices are still so high despite a decent recession – my bank manager wrote me a letter saying that he didn’t expect to see wine as a line item on my request for an overdraft when writing to explain why my household budget does not balance.


Clos la Coutale, Cahors 2007

Saturday, March 6th, 2010

I’ve just been dribbling all over the en-primeur Burgundy 2008 catalogue from the Wine Society.  I lined up a number of superbly priced selections and my wobbly knees were barely capable of carrying me to the computer to place an order.

In a year that, according to most commentators was variable at best, it looked like les escargots had marked their prices down to reasonable levels.  Then a prickly heat rose through my knees, groin, heart and ended in a face flush.  The values were for half cases.  Oh well, I am priced out again, so the catalogue was filed under B, for bin.

If, like me, you are a “W” man, and you fully expect the return of the recession (as soon as interest rates start creeping up again) then you could do worse than explore some cheaper areas of the home of wine.  South West France seems particularly good value.

This Cahors red is made from the Malbec grape, but the taste reminds me more of Carmenère.  Smoky autumn bonfires, apple and pear crumble, a touch of raspberry.  Perfect for a cold night in with a steak when you need to impress (or apologise to) your loved one.

Cost me £7.25 from the Wine Society.

The Society’s Corbières 2007

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Being a wine snob, I normally hate own brands.  Especially supermarket brands, even though they may well be the most reliable.  Isn’t it more rewarding to seek out a tiny independent producer in the Andes that can only be accessed by chamois wearing crampons?  A winemaker whose idea of export is chucking a couple of bottles to the next village idiot, 0.2 kilometres of un-navigable Amazon jungle away?

But I am not so sure if there is such a big difference between a carefully selected Sainsbury claret sourced from reputable Médoc vineyards, and a large scale “independent” brand such as Cono Sur, for example.

High Society, low country

One brand that I occasionally (but not always) trust is The Wine Society.  This Corbières is not rough and ready like the country wine I expected, but smooth and rich with strawberry flavours and spice.

Incredible value at £6.95.  Sometimes one has to ignore the label and just get drinking.

Château de Pennautier 2007

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

Well, the stock markets are in another tizz.  Up and down like the price of US claret.  This time Dubai is the potential bad debt – yes the entire state!  I am not sure what all the fuss is about.  I understand the exposure is a mere £60bn – less than the Bank of England secretly lent to two British banks during the crumbliest stage of the credit crunch!  Surely the emirate rulers can merely sell a few hundred Rolls Royces?

Stick this in your pannier...

Oh well.  If you are poorer than the Al Maktoums, here is a recession defying red.  Yet another from South of France, Languedoc to be precise.  I got mine from Majestic for £5.99 (2008 at £4.99 for two bottles or more at time of writing) and it tastes great.  Rich yet not overpowering.  Smooth yet not lounge lizard.  Fruity yet not jammy.  Tasty yet not over-alcoholic (13%).

The label recommends it for “convivial” occasions.  I consider “carnivorous” equally valid.  Also goes well with proletarian dishes like baked beans on toast.  A proper bargain for these austere times.

Domaine de l’Arjolle 2008 Viognier/Sauvignon

Saturday, November 28th, 2009

Looking for alcohol to numb the pain of having to watch Strictly Come Dancing, I tangoed across to my wine rack to find something easy drinking, fruity and cheap, like Craig Breville-Toaster

Arjolle - give me some Thongue

I found this Côtes de Thongue from the Wine Society at a mere £4.95.  Made in the increasingly popular South of France, a region that most wine merchants are pushing as recession friendly gluggers, this stands out as something more sincere.  Cheaper than a budgie’s twitter, but tastier than a topless bird on a St Tropez beach, this smells and tastes of two childhood sweets:  Pear drops and pineapple cubes.  Don’t expect fine wine at this price but I’ve tasted many uglier wines at double the Roubles.  And as for Strictly – is it still on?????