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.