(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) In search of a moderately-priced wine to recommend for Christmas dinner 2019, I tried various rather disappointing Pinot Noir wines at around the £10 - £12 mark, but this unpretentious Côtes du Rhône hit the spot - and is only £8.99 on Majestic's familiar 'Mixed six' pricing. Based on Grenache blended with typical local varieties like Syrah and Mourvèdre, it has a buoyant, cherry and herb-filled nose with lots of lift and brightness. In the mouth it is medium-bodied and softly approachable despite 14% alcohol, but there's a creaminess and chocolate-touched depth before that fresh red fruit character and nip of rustic tannin kick in. Gentle enough for roast turkey, but fine for goose or even roast beef if that's your festive choice.