(2018) From the Languedoc, Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Carignan, Merlot and Mourvèdre in the mix for a medium-pale rosé, with a fairly simple and straightforward strawberry and raspberry fruit, the palate fruity and generous, a little briary leafiness and a slightly astringent quality to the acidity stopping it a little short, but keeping it fresh.
(2018) Though the name of the estate sounds like a not so subtle cash-in on Provence, in fact domaine de la Provenquière traces its history back almost 500 years in it's corner of the Languedoc close to Béziers. Having said that, this certainly has Provençal leanings, pale in colour, dry and fresh with only 12% alcohol, though made from the pink-skinned Pinot Gris rather than Provençal varieties. Summer berries, fragrant lemon peel and a little wisp of peach on the nose, then a dry, chalky palate with pleasingly sweet fruit, medium body and then plenty of tangy acid. Daily Drinker club members will pay £9.00 for this.
(2018) Carignan is a variety of the South of French that has mostly played a supporting role, blended with the star grapes, Syrah or Grenache. But there's a growing band of enthusiastic winemakers using some wonderful old vines to make terrific Carignans, and it is developing something of a cult folowing. This, made by a Kiwi flying winemaker, has a wonderfully aromatic, brightly-hued nose, all punchy red fruits like cherry and even raspberry, a touch of root beer, before a silky palate crammed with sweet berries, a touch of bittersweet dark chocolate adding depth and savoury notes.
(2018) Marsanne is a traditional grape of the Rhône Valley in France, though it is relatively rare to see it bottled as a single varietal wine. This example from Paul Mas's 'La Forge' vineyard in the Languedoc is truly lovely, perhaps picked just a little earlier than some to retain it agility and freshness. What a beguiling nose, a bowlful of ripe pears and peaches, tiny Riesling-like floral and wax nuances, and a hint of oatmeal and almond from partial barrel ageing. Round, succulent and fleshy-fruity on the palate, there is texture and a little spice and toast, but it's clean as a whistle into the finish. Lovely on its own, but could take everything from Chinese food to white fish in its stride. £8.99 in Majestic on a mixed-six deal at time of review. Watch the video for more information.
(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.
(2017) A typical blend of Syrah and Grenache with Carignan and Mourvèdre, this comes from a stony plateau and has a deep, rich colour. Warming, spicy and flowing with black fruit on the nose, there's a wisp of smoke and herbs which adds extra interest. It's a ripe, plummy and big-hearted wine, some cranberry red fruits joining the depth of black, firm and spicy tannins and a juicy cherry skin acidity add real structure and power. I have a hunch this would cellar rather well for five to eight years too.
(2017) A Pinot from the Languedoc, this has certainly retained freshness and edge in the heat of the south, with only 12.5% alcohol and a crisp, herb and red fruit nose. It's a Pinot in an authentically light- to medium-bodied style, fragrant and staying crisp and refreshing. The antithesis of 'blockbuster', but lovely of it's style.
(2017) From on of the Languedoc's traditional appellations, this is a typical local blend of Grenache, Syrah, Carignan and Mourvêdre. Richly-fruited and spiced on the nose, this deeply coloured wine is immediately inviting, with aromas of crushed red and black berries and hints of cocoa and liquorice. In the mouth there's a surprising crispness to the flavour and texture, the good level of acidity no doubt aided by the fact that the fruit was harvested in the cool of the night. It is a fairly sumptuous, expansive style nevertheless, with red and black fruits and that hint of spice in the background. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2017) Another deeply-coloured wine, organic certified and coming from the traditional Corbières appellation. It blends 40% Syrah, 30% Grenache, 20% Carignan and 10% Mourvèdre, all aged in oak barrels, 60% of which were new. It's immediately serious and savoury on the nose, vinous and darkly-hued, with damson and black cherry, a wisp of smoke and a bit of graphite in there too. Solid and powerful in the mouth, the vanilla of the oak helps soften the tannins, but it is a structured wine, crying out for beef or lamb - either that or give it some time: the fruit, black olive savouriness, density of texture and structure suggest to me this will cellar well for five years.
(2017) Yet another Languedoc pink that's a ringer in colour (and grape blend, 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah) for Provence rosé, but in this case, quite different in character: after a light, summer fresh nose there's real intensity on the palate: more tang and more fruit concentration than most Provence examples, real zip with lemony acidity powering through decisively.