(2023) It's over a decade since I last visited Mud House on a trip to New Zealand, at that time an ambitious and impressive operation that already made wines in Marlborough, Waipara and Central Otago. In 2021 I was surprised to receive a sample of a Sauvignon Blanc from Mud House Chile, the company having branched out to South America. Now in 2023, they've come back to Sauvignon Blanc's homeland of France, though not the Loire Valley, but the Languedoc. You may, if you wish, line-up wines from the three countries to compare and contrast. For me, this French version is a hit: it successfully marries New World exuberance with a bit of Old World savoury restraint. It has prerequisite passion fruit and gooseberry, but a dry, grapefruit and lemon palate with decent length too. Â£8.00 at time of writing in Morrisons. Watch the video for more information.
(2022) These Languedoc vineyards enjoy both oceanic and Pyrenean influences, with clay-limestone and gravel soils. Aromatically the wine is fresh, but rounded, showing Asian pear and lightly tropical aromas, and a little gooseberry punch. In the mouth that peachiness comes through, but there is a salt-licked, lemony vivacious acidity too, that sense of minerality that delivers an interesting and quite complex mouthful at such a modest price.
(2021) A decade or so ago Picpoul was relatively unknown outside of its Languedoc homeland, but it rather burst onto the scene and soon everyone I met was talking about this new kid on the block. Here's a classic example of what people like about the variety, a fresh and zippy white, with plenty of crisp apple, pear and a touch of peach fruit, a typical herby twang and very nicely pitched acidity. There's a similar wine from the same producer in Majestic at time of review too. Watch the video for more information and food=matching ideas.
(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 RhÃ´ne 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 Â£7.99 as part of a mixed six from Majestic. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2018) SilÃ¨ne 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.Â 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.
(2016) Despite the name, which doesn't do much for me, this was lovely: in a MÃ¢con 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 ChÃ¢teauneuf 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.