(2020) Yes, a very nicely pitched Viognier here from Calmel & Joseph's Languedoc range called 'Villa Blanche'. With 13% alcohol it has avoided the tendency of this variety to become a little blowsy if left to ripen to 14% or 14.5%, and yet it is ripe and fruit-filled. Peach and orange dominate the nose, open, inviting aromas, touched with almond, then masses of sweet apricot and nectarine fruit as it strikes the palate. There is a good core of citrus around which this more lush fruit is draped, giving the wine good balance through to the finish. Could work nicely with Chinese or Thai cuisine.
(2020) Terret Blanc is a traditional variety of the Languedoc in the south of France, though largely forgotten throughout the 20th century and seeing a small renaissance currently. With its modest 12% alcohol this is a useful festive season wine, good with smoked salmon and other fish, or perhaps with soft rind cheeses. Delicate, lightly floral aromas sit atop peach and juicy ripe pear, then the palate has more easy drinking, stone fruit flavours, but edged with a fine line of grapefruity citrus to give definition. Deliciously drinkable.
(2020) Viognier wines made outside of its Rhône homeland often used to disappoint me, but more and more examples are capturing the vivid fruit character of the grape and its full texture, but with excellent freshness and elegance, including this excellent example. From close to Carcassonne, this is aged for a few months on its lees which adds to the texture and hint of yeasty complexity on the nose, but really it is all about surging peach and very ripe pear fruit, just a little floral nuance too. In the mouth it has weight and a limpid, creamy texture, that intense fruit concentration with a little hint of spice, but then fine and lightly saline acidity streaks through to freshn and balance this 13.5% abv wine. A fine expression and only £7.99 as part of a mixed six from Majestic. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2018) Silène is the legendary tutor of the Greek god Bacchus, and his likeness was found on an ancient clay seal found in one of the Paul Mas vineyards, a copy of which strikingly covers the entire front of this imposing bottle of Chardonnay from its Languedoc homeland, Limoux. The nutty, slightly marmalade-like and spicy richness of the nose immediately tells you this has been aged in quality oak barrels, then the palate is really very beautifully composed: crisp, fresh and taut orchard fruits and lemon are backed up by some peach, toast and Brazil nut buttery fatness, but the clean, zesty citrus finish gives great cut and thurst through the richness. A perfect and stylish partner to roast poultry.
(2018) From their base in Pézenas, the family-owned Domaines Paul Mas are certainly one of the big names of the Languedoc region, their wines a fixture of UK supermarket shelves. This is something a little different, a crisp white made from the Clairette Blanche, from the tiny appellation of Clairette du Languedoc, where Paul Mas owns almost half of all Clairette plantings. It is elegantly floral, with an almost freesia-like note, but very delicate, and plenty of fresh apple and lemon. In the mouth that freshness drives forward, only 12.5% alcohol helping keep it light on its feet, yet it has a but of flavour intensity as well as a long, crisp finish. For more information and food-matching suggestions, please watch the video.
(2016) Despite the name, which doesn't do much for me, this was lovely: in a Mâcon style with a little warming toast and vanilla note, and Burgundian clarity showing some cream and very fresh apple and melon fruit before a crisp finish.
(2015) With a clear nod towards Châteauneuf du Pape in its packaging, this is in fact a IGP Pays d'Oc blend of Marsanne and Viognier, relatively light (which suggests crisp and fresh) at 12.5% abv. With a hint of Emerald to the colour, the aromas are indeed fresh and lifted, with a lovely honeysuckle perfume to stone fruits and juicy apple. In the mouth it strikes a lovely balance; one the one hand quite fat and filled with sweet fruit, on the other cool and crisply defined by a hint of spicy creaminess before a rush of palate-cleansing acidity.
(2015) Picpoul is a grape variety that has zoomed to the top of the popularity charts in recent years, and I can fully understand the appeal of these wines from a traditional appellation of the Languedoc. This is an excellent example, with an extra ounce of pungent, almost Sauvignon-like herbaceous and tropical intensity, some notes of lychee and mango, and a blast of citrus. In the mouth it is refreshing and zingy, with crunchy fruit juiciness, and that big, fresh-squeezed grapefruit tang to the acidity. Delicious summer drinking.
(2015) Here's an unusual white blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay that has been given a little oak-aging. That has given a subtle background nuttiness to the wine, but it is very discreet, the aromas to the fore are rosy red apple and a touch of peach. On the palate it is cool and clear, the freshness of the Sauvignon and citrus and orchard fruit clarity coming through nicely, just a rounding and smoothing effect of the oak into the crisply defined finish.
(2014) 100% Picpoul, from vineyards 800 metres from the sea near Sète. The vineyards are on clay and limestone soils, on a sub-soil of fossilized coral. The wine undergoes a long, slow fermentation at low temperature, that took two months to complete. It has 13% alcohol. The colour is a pale green/yellow, with that nice creaminess to the nose, of oatmeal, almond and soft herbs, with orchard fruit notes too. In the mouth it has plenty of refreshing flavour. It is dry, with a lemony acidity and the fruit is of cool, fresh apple and Asian pear. The acidity is gentle, with a nice little saline note too, making this aperitif and fish and seafood-friendly.
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