2019 Bourgogne Gamay, Hospices de Beaujeu, Burgundy, France
We chose this wine in preference to a number of wines from Beaujolais during recent tastings. It really does capture the characteristics of the gamay grape well. Vibrant raspberry and cherry aromas lead to a palate that is lightweight yet full flavoured. A very easy drink that could be served slightly chilled on warm days.
2019 Pinot Noir, Montsable, Languedoc, France
This classic Burgundian variety has been produced in the sunny climate of Languedoc in the south of France. Although much warmer than the climate of the Cote d'Or, great care has been taken to ensure that it is every bit as elegant. Red ruby colour. Aromatic nose of black cherries with elegant floral notes. On the palate, this Pinot Noir is silky and well balanced, with smooth tannins.
2019 Sauvignon Blanc, La Girouette, Languedoc, France
A staff favourite here, and one of the best value wines in our range. It's just as good Sauvignon Blanc should be; fresh, aromatic, vibrant and very easy to drink. There is a classic herbal, slightly leafy edge to the tropical aroma, yet on the palate it is citrus characteristics that come through on the finish. In all this is a classic Sauvignon with great versatility.
2019 Mâcon Lugny St Pierre, Bouchard Pere et Fils, Burgundy, France
Mâcon-Lugny is a village appellation growing in the wider area of Mâcon-Villages appellation, and located in the middle of an area formed by Mâcon, Cluny and Tournus. The vineyard combines different exposures that result in different levels of earliness for the grapes. The terroir is for a great part made of limestonefrom the Jurassic era that is perfect for the Chardonnay, but there are also flint clay soils and marls. They all contribute to give the wines their freshness and fruity aromas, as well as their rounded caracter. Grapes were slowly pressed and after settling the must at low temperature, the fermentation takes place in temperature controlled vats so to preserve the freshness and natural fruitiness of the Chardonnay. Then the wine is aged partly in vats and partly in oak barrels in order to emphasize its structure and give it more richness. The proportion of vat and oak is our winemaker's secret; he works in accordance with the vintage to make the grapes and its terroir outstand in the wine.
2020 Saumur Champigny, Les Gravieres du Roy, Loire Valley, France
This exceptional Cabernet Franc is ripe and juicy. It has a fabulous bouquet of summer berries that continue on to the palate. There is also a herbal note in the background, and on the palate it has a delightfully smooth finish. This is a great introduction to the red wines of this part of the Loire Valley, most of which are produced from the Cabernet Franc grape.
2020 Cotes de Provence Rose, Henri Gaillard, Provence, France
This is a delightfully clean, fresh and invigorating rose, great for al fresco dining, and also a delicious accompaniment to fish dishes and southern French cuising the year round. It has that delightful delicate pink colour that Provence Rose is famed for, and the floral and summer berry aromas just add further enticement. The palate is fresh and dominated with vibrant summer berries with a hint of stone fruit in the background. This really is classic Provence Rose, but at a price point below many of its competitors.
2020 Pays de l'Aude Rouge, Le Havre de Paix, Languedoc, France
This friendly red from the Aude Valley is just what you expect from Southern France. It's light, fruity and very easy drinking. The berry fruit and gentle texture make this the perfect wine to have in the wine rack. It's a lovely glass on its own and great with lighter dishes.
2019 Sauvignon Blanc, Marquis de Goulaine, Loire Valley, France
This is a great little Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc. It may not quite be a Sancerre but it still shows some fresh gooseberry and a hint of riper tropical fruit. There is a subtle herbal note on the finish, which is classic Sauvignon, and the acidity gives it a fresh lift at the end. This is definitely a wine to have in the rack as it will appeal to many white wine fans.
Cremant de Limoux, Domaine de Tholomies, Languedoc, France
Established in 1990, the AOP Cremant de Limoux is issued from the AOP Limoux and is located on the same designation area, 25 km far from Carcassonne, along the high valley of Aude, between the plateaux of Chalabrais and Lacamp on the eastern side. It's a blend of Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Pinot Noir, three varieties that lend themselves well to quality sparkling wine production. The second fermentation and ageing takes place over 12 months and the result is a fresh and vibrant style of sparkling wine. The nose displays cuitrus and almond notes, and then on the palate the wine is supple and refreshing, with notes of quince, citrus and a hint of toastiness on the finish.
2019 Picpoul de Pinet, Domaine Morin Langaran, Languedoc, France
Delicate and fresh with excellent refreshing acidity and structure. Lots of ripe melon and pear fruits and a lovely crisp dry finish. This is exactly the type of wine that the French guzzle with their seafood on the Mediterranean coast, and with seafood and summery salads is definitely when it's at its best.
2018 Cotes du Rhone, Chateau de Domazan, Rhone Valley, France
Château de Domazan was built in the 14th century in the middle of Côte du Rhône vineyard, nearby Avignon.
The ground is covered with large pebbles that were rolled and rounded on the old Rhône bed. These pebbles that can weigh up to 30 kg are very beneficial to the grapes because they provide excellent conditions for ripening. They store up the heat from the sun during the day and release it slowly through the mild summer nights.
This is an excellent value Cotes du Rhone with a floral and spicy aroma. On the palate it is nicely rounded with a concentrated red berry flavour.
2018 Merlot, La Girouette, Languedoc, France
Well we certainly can't be accused of not listening to our customers. 'I'd like a soft, juicy Merlot?' is a common question we get asked, so we went on the hunt for one and found this little gem. It's from the Languedoc in France where the sun-baked vineyards produce wonderfully ripe grapes brimming with flavour. This great example is soft textured, with jammy blackberry and juicy plum flavours and well-integrated, creamy tannins. It's smooth, supple and balanced. The 'La Girouette' label range are classic French varietals from the sunny Pays d'Oc region. Produced by multi-award winning cooperative Foncalieu; pioneers of agronomic research and terroir expression
2020 Morgon, Hospices de Beaujeu, Beaujolais, France
Wow, this is one of the most vivid and flavoursome Beaujolais we have tried in a long time. The deep colour and floral aroma are very enticing, and then on the palate the fruit really comes through. There is a little bit of grip to the tannins, making this a little fuller than many reds from this region, and this should see it to a couple of years of development if you can resist it for that long.
2020 Sauvignon Blanc/Gros Manseng, Vignobles Fontan, Gascony, France
An exceptional southern French white from the Armagnac region. Vibrant and fruity Sauvignon Blanc is given a bit more depth and roundness with the addition of some Gros Manseng.
Lots of Intensity on the nose with ripe peach, pear and some exotic notes of pineapple. Full, rounded mouthfeel with apricot and hints of mango, backed up by juicy grapefruit citrus.
2020 Reuilly, Domaine Aujard, Loire Valley, France
Reuilly is a Loire Valley village not far from the famous villages of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume, and it's white wines are made in very much the same way and, whisper it, often to the same quality.
This Reuilly really stood out for us in recent tastings, and given the current price tag of good Sancerre it was a very easy decision to add it to the range.
It's got a vibrancy and minerality that good Loire Sauvignon should. There's a hint of passionfruit in the background, but the dominant characteristic is more vibrant apple and citrus with a hint of elderflower. A very versatile wine as at home with a delicate piece of fish as it is with well herbed roasted veg.
2020 Tannat/Merlot, Vignobles Fontan, Cotes de Gascogne, France
This really is a red for all seasons. It is by no means a lightweight, so those looking for a comforting cold weather wine won't be disappointed, but at the same time it's kept fresh and lively by the vivid blackberry and blueberry fruit on the palate. It's certainly on our list of vibrant summer reds to accompany a barbecue or grilled meats.
Vignobles Fontan has been on our radar for quite some time. Their white blend continues to be one of our best-sellers, and we've sold some of their delicious Armagnac in the past, but quite why it has taken us so long to discover this absolute gem is a mystery.
Rarely have we commited to stocking a wine so soon after tasting it for the first time, but we were on the phone to the supplier within minutes of first tasting this to see how quickly we could get hold of some.
The Tannat grape is very much at home in south west France. The Madiran AOC, where the reds must contain a minimum of 60% Tannat, is very much the spiritual home of the variety, but it has never really taken off internationally, except perhaps in Uruguay where some great Tannats are made. Its reputation was as a bit of a bruiser, high in tannin and a bit rough round the edges. Modern winemaking, particularly the use of micro-oxgenation during fermentation, has helped tame the grape, and these days there are some far more approachable examples available. Here they've also blended it with the much softer textured and fruitier Merlot grape, and together they absolutely sing.