It's been a busy week (with yet another one ahead) during which I finally got my hands on some new wines from south-west France and Roussillon. I'll be adding them to the website over the next few days, as and when I have had the chance to write my tasing notes. It's a dirty job having to taste them all, but someone has to do it! Here's my notes on 3 of them, tasted over the last couple of evenings......
A blend of 50% Gros Manseng, 10% Petit Manseng, 40% Courbu, aged on its lees for 6 months before bottling. This is the latest vintage of what used to be called (rather confusingly for us English) "La Rosée de Montesquiou" (rosée is actually French for "dew"). It is an ultra-pale straw/gold colour, with a lovely nose of citrus, honeysuckle and herbs and a whole load of Manseng varietal minerality - really tight, and focused - as is the palate, which is crammed full of lime and tree fruit flavours, mineral nuances and enough acidity to refresh the most jaded of palates. The flavours are intensely fresh and focused, zingy rather than pithy, with just a hint of richness and plenty of concentration. The finish is long, cool and utterly mouth-watering. This really is a complex, classy and truly delicious expression of its terroir. If you appreciate delicate, nervy whites – light and fresh on the palate, yet with tremendous depth and complexity - then you will you will appreciate this wine. Furthermore, whilst it is wonderful to drink on its own, it is also a superb match for all manner of foods. Steamed salmon or other fish dishes, seafood platter, lemon-infused chicken or a mixed salad with (say) chicken livers all spring to mind. We had it with a sweet and sour pork and vegetable stir-fry and it was a match made in heaven. It is wonderful to drink now, but there is certainly no rush. If we had to recommend just one dry white wine from our list which provides brilliant quality and value in equal measures, then this would be it. 13.5% abv. £10.50
Mainly Mourvedre, with a little Syrah and Grenache, aged in oak barrels for 18 months. A medium-dark purple core, semi-opaque, leading to a small deep red rim. The nose offers intense bramble, leather, iodine and tobacco aromas, with background notes of crystallised fruits and flowers - notably violets and elderflowers. The sheer weight of ripe fruit flavours in this wine makes it surprisingly approachable now, because the tannins are so beautifully ripe. As with previous vintages, there is a tremendous depth of fruit on the palate and the flavours are long, complex and rich, with excellent acidity. A wine of real stuctureand absolute class. Another beautiful Motus, which is every bit as good as it's predecessor vintages. 14.0% abv. £14.95
50% Syrah, 30% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre, again aged in oak barrels for 18 months. Medium/dense bright purple colour with a narrow cherry-red rim. The nose exhibits complex aromas of black cherries and bramble, with beautifully integrated notes of curry spices, cloves, cedar/cigar box and citrus. The palate is concentrated, yet fresh and giving, with juicy red and black fruit, spice and garrigue herb flavours. The tannins are grippy but very fine and already nicely integrated, whilst the tangy acidity keeps it all nicely fresh. This is the third vintage of Tahi, and whilst the 2006 demands more time and the 2007 is a little softer and more forward, this one really seems to have hit its stride already. Then again, it almost seems a shame to drink it so young. The back label says "to enjoy from 2010 to 2020" and I wouldn't disagree, because it is a wine which is approachable enough to enjoy in its youth, whilst also having the structure to age and evolve for another 10 years. But you pays your money and you takes your choice - and either way, it is an absolute cracker. Yet another benchmark Roussillon wine, which leaves me running short of superlatives! 14.0% abv. £17.75