Two lovely own-label French wines from Sainsbury's

Credit where credit is due. I wouldn’t usually find myself recommending you to hot-foot it to your local supermarket to buy wine, but here are two good own label wines from Sainsbury’s that I really enjoyed. The regular prices are 25% more than what they are on the shelves for at the moment (the prices [...]

A serious Languedoc red from Mas Belles Eaux

I am a huge fan of the Languedoc. It’s a region that possesses some serious terroirs, and where winegrowers have the motivation, they can use these to make serious wines that usually represent great value for money. The potential of the Languedoc has attracted the attention of larger wine companies: AXA Millesimes purchased Mas Belles [...]

Zelige Caravent, exciting wines from the Languedoc's Pic St Loup

Two wines from this interesting Pic St Loup property. Zelige-Caravent have 12 hectares of vines, separated into 22 different parcels, on interesting soils in the over-achieving Languedoc commune of Pic St Loup. They farm biodynamically (although they are certified organic only), and the newer parcels are planted at very high density and are massale selection. [...]

Three amazing natural wines from Mas Coutelou

These are lovely, lovely wines. I followed them over the course of a few days, so I’m fairly confident in my recommendations, too. They are made by Jeff Coutelou, in France’s Languedoc. Jeff works naturally, using very little sulfur dioxide at all. All are young, dense and grippy, and I think that you’d be safe [...]

A day in the Languedoc

I spent today in the Languedoc, doing some work. The work was actually quite enjoyable: I was tasting a selection of 90 of the estate wines from Les Grands Chais de France, with a view to selecting 12 ‘ambassadors’ – wines that Grands Chais could use to show to the press and trade what they [...]

Two from Mas Belles Eaux

Mas Belles Eaux is the Languedoc outpost of AXAs wine empire. Christian Seely was captivated by the potential of the terroirs here, and since 2002 has invested heavily in the property, which is situated in Caux, near Pézenas. A new winery was built and has been in operation since the 2008 vintage. This is a [...]

A brilliant, affordable Languedoc Syrah

Love this wine. Affordable but with some complexity. Fun yet a bit serious. Chunky but not inelegant. Ripe yet savoury. A perfect house red for autumn/winter.

Domaine Coudoulet Syrah 2011 Pays d’Oc IGP, France
14.5% alcohol. Fresh, vivid black cherry and blackberry nose, which is rich but defined with sweetness and some floral, peppery notes. The palate [...]

Weekend in the country, and three rich whites: Chile, South Africa and France

The long bank holiday weekend provided an ideal opportunity for a family get together. Remarkably, we managed to find a house big enough to take 15 on budget in the quaint village of Erdisland, Herefordshire.

My job on these occasions is to provide the wine. There’s a strong demand for crisp, dry, unoaked white wine, and [...]

Naturae wines from Gerard Bertrand, made with no added sulfur dioxide

Very interested to try this pair of wines made by Gerard Bertrand, and stocked by UK retailer Marks & Spencer. They’re not what you would associate with the natural wine movement (Bertrand is a conventional producer making some very smart commercial Languedoc wines), but they are both made without any added sulfur dioxide, or indeed [...]

Two lovely, affordable French reds from the Sampler

Two lovely southern French red wines from The Sampler. They’re some of the exclusive imports that they bring in.

First, Domaine Rimbert Cousin Oscar 2011 Vin de France. 11.5% alcohol, from St Chinian, and made from Cinsault. This is a remarkable wine, mainly for the fact that it’s so honestly just what it is – lively, [...]