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New 'wines of the month' for Café Rouge 

Café Rouge- known for its simple but effective French dishes - has been revamping its wine list, and as part of this process they have introduced a 'Wines of the Month' selection. These wines (see below for details) will sell at £12.95 a bottle, and by the glass at £3.25 (small) and £4.55 (large).

The good news for wine lovers is that these wines are very respectable, and the mark-ups are far less than you'd normally get in a restaurant. I was sent the wines of the month for March, April and May to try. I've yet to get round to May, but my notes are as follows.


Domaine Champalou Vouvray 2001, Loire
A 20ha estate in Vouvray. This Chenin Blanc is dry, showing intense, herby, waxy notes on the nose that are typical of this variety but which are quite hard to describe. The palate is quite fresh with good acidity and lots of savoury, straw-like fruit. An interesting and unusual savoury white that I suspect would make a lovely food match with cheesy or creamy dishes. It’s also a wine that could do with cellaring for a few years. Very good+ 88/100 (£12.95 in Café Rouge as their wine of the month for March 2004)

Domaine de la Mordorée Côtes du Rhône 2002 Southern Rhône, France
From a 55ha biodynamic estate in Lirac with 40 year old vines, this is a blend of 40% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 15% Cinsault, 10% Carignan and 5% Counoise.    Classic Southern Rhône perfumed nose, showing sweet ripe red fruits with a spicy, minerally underlay. The palate is midweight with supple fruit, a touch of meatiness and a spicy finish. A really good effort from a very difficult vintage, and drinking well now. Very good+ 87/100 (£12.95 in Café Rouge as their wine of the month for March 2004)


Ch Tour des Gendres Bergerac Sec 'Cuvée des Conti' 2001
A 40 ha estate in Bergerac, using traditional methods to make this dry Bordeaux-style white. This wine is a yellow-gold colour. The nose is bready and minerally with herby fruit, and leads to a broad, savoury palate with herby, mineral-edged fruit. Quite distinctive. Noticeable oak but its quite well integrated. Good concentration. Very good+ 89/100

Domaine Marcevol Côtes du Roussillon 2001 
From an organic 12 ha Roussillon domaine, this is a blend of 40% Grenache, 40% Carignan and 20% Syrah. Smoky, meaty, roasted red fruits on the nose, which is savoury and intense. The palate is chunky and dense with good concentration of savoury, spicy fruit with a slightly bitter twist at the end. Structured and firm, this is quite delicious in a rather stern way. Very good+ 89/100


Ch de la Negly, La Brise Marine, Côteaux de Languedoc 2002 
A blend of Bourboulenc (a late ripening variety with good acidity, rarely seen outside the wines of La Clape), Marsanne and Roussanne.

Ch le Roc Côtes du Frontonnais 2001
This cuvée is dominated by Negrette, a variety which originated in the Middle East, but is now only found in Fronton.  It is semi-aromatic, with flavours of violets and liquorice.

Wines of the Month will feature at the following Café Rouge restaurants:

  • Birmingham – Brindley Place
  • Manchester – Deansgate
  • Bury St Edmunds – Abbeygate Street
  • Reigate – Church Street
  • London – Hay’s Galleria, London Bridge
  • London – High Street, Hampstead
  • London – Basil Street, Knightsbridge
  • London – James Street, off Oxford Street
  • London – Wellington Street, Covent Garden
  • London – Abbeville Road, Clapham
  • London – Lancer Square, Kensington High Street
  • London – Montpelier Vale, Blackheath

There are 77 Café Rouge restaurants, nation-wide, and further details can be found on the web-site at: www.caferouge.co.uk

see also: Cafe Rouge wines of the month for June, July and August 2004

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