(2022) Lovers of the Gamay grape variety have all of Beaujolais to explore, but outside of south-eastern French region, there's not a lot of choice to be had. This comes from a producer in Gaillac in the southwest of France, originally planted to soften some of the more tannic local grapes. Vivid crimson in colour, the nose has a little meat and pepper character to berry fruit, just a hint of florals too. In the mouth the sweetness is what strikes the palate first, a bursting berry sweet juiciness, cherry-ripe and charming. There's no tannin to speak of, but nicely judged acid and a bit of dark chocolate character gives some weight and smoothness to the finish. £10.49 as part of a mixed dozen. Watch the video for more information.
(2020) Made fron the local speciality, Négrette (55%) along with Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, this has an interesting nose of blackberry, leather and a slightly balsamic quality, definitely some herbal notes flitting in and out of the picture too. In the mouth it's full of juicy, tart plum-edged black fruit, buoyant and keen, there's lots of berry fruit but the stripe of tannin and that punchy acidity power through. Needs food I think, maybe a cassoulet or wintery casserole.
(2020) There is some Cabernet Franc blended with the Tannat here, in a forward and juicy Madiran from Southwest France. Spices, black plum and some floral highlights aromatically, some oak too giving a little creamy and chocolaty background note. The fruit on the palate is very sweet on first impression: real blackcurrant and blueberry, almost pastille sweetness, quite soft in texture and structure for Madiran, though acidity and a little liquorice or endive bittering quality tightens up the finish.
(2020) From the Côtes du Marmandais in teh southwest of France close to Bordeaux, this is a blend of Bordeaux varieties plus Syrah. It has a very nice, gently rustic nose, game and leather, but fruit to and a certain peppery quality. In the mouth it is savoury and nicely balanced - though quite dry, there is an honest and rustic charm about this, and there is decent black fruit at the core.
(2020) Tank sample. A dark, inky, almost slatey character on the nose, with Asian dried plum and black cherry fruit. This is 100% Manseng Noir, that sees no oak, and though the palate has smoothness and fruit density, the vigorous acidity gives it real spine and inky dryness, with plenty of juicy dark, very dry tapenade and cherry character. Intriguing, though still to make it to the UK.
(2020) Again that big difference in climate to the 2019 vintage, this a much cooler year and the wine shows a fine, Cru Beaujolais-like purity of red fruit and minerality, taut with the tannins gentle and refined and the acidity juicy into the finish. Fruity, but the bite of sour cherry to the acidity adds a lovely freshness. Not currently in the UK.