Leon Stolarski Fine Wines
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Languedoc Red Wine (AOC/AOP)
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Online Wine Shop  >  Languedoc Red Wine (IGP/VdP/VdT)

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Vins de Pays
IGP/Vins de Pays
There was a time when any French wine with aspirations to quality needed to conform to the strict wine laws of the "Appellation d'Origine Contrôllée" (AOC) - recently reformed and renamed Appellation d'Origine Protégée (AOP). The most important - not to mention restrictive - factor has always been the pernitted grape varieties. No matter how good a wine is, if it is to qualify as AOC/AOP, it can only be made from certain permitted grape varieties. The "Vins de Pays" (literally translated as "country wines") denomination was created in the early 1970's, to enable wines made from "other" grape varieties to be made, free from the restrictions of the AOC's, but with a level of quality way above mere "table wine" status. The Vin de Pays denomination was itself recently superseded by the "Indication Géographique Protégée" (IGP). Frankly, little has changed, except fior the name! Pays d'Oc is the best known of the VDP/IGP's (and covers virtually the whole of Languedoc/Roussillon).  Others may use the départment name (Hérault, Aude, Gard, etc) whilst many better and more innovative (though less well-known) wines are sold under the local VDP/IGP, which normally takes the name of a small river, town, other local feature or sub-region. Many of these wines (whether from a single variety or a blend of two or more) can be delicious, complex and, in some cases, truly world-class. Indeed, some of southern France's most famous and iconic wines are "humble" Vins de Pays - Trévallon and Daumas Gassac being prime examples.

Domaine Giroflet Cinsault 2014 IGP Pays de l'Hérault
Giroflet Cinsault 2014
Vintage
2014

Region Pézenas
Colour/Style Dry red - medium/full bodied, aged 6 months in vat
Grapes 100% Cinsault
Alcohol (a.b.v)
12.5%
Food Red and white meats, pizza, cold cuts, cheeses
Next day
Even better
Drink Now, or over the next 3 to 5 years
From a tiny (0.07 of a hectare) which produces just 500 bottles. Who says Cinsault is only good for making rosé? Not us - we already import red Cinsault wines from a couple of other growers, and this is a worthy addition indeed. The nose is floral, heady, spicy, smoky and gently tarry, with a hint of new leather and absolutely crammed full of summer pudding and fresh bread aromas. The palate offers myriad raspberry, strawberry and red cherry flavours, with a sprinkle of white pepper, allspice and a touch of fine eau de vie. It is delightfully fresh and fruity, in the manner of a young cru Beaujolais, but slightly richer and full of Languedoc warmth and charm. Whilst dangerously drinkable on its own, it is also the perfect accompaniment to an entrecote steak, sautéed potatoes and a mixed salad. Yum!
 

Price:  £10.50 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Domaine Giroflet Le Petit Giroflet 2014 IGP Pays de l'Hérault
Petit Giroflet 2014
Vintage
2014

Region Pézenas
Colour/Style Dry red - medium/full bodied, aged 6 months in vat
Grapes 100% Grenache
Alcohol (a.b.v)
13.5%
Food Red and white meats, pizza, cheeses
Next day
Even better
Drink Now, or over the next 3 to 5 years
Made from a plot of young Grenache vines, covering just 0.3 of a hectare, with less than 2,000 bottles produced. A rather intoxicating mix of ripe black and red fruits, garrigue herbs, damp earth, freshly-baked bread and fine eau de vie. The flavours are robust and full of cherry and raspberry fruit flavours and youthful vigour, with gently rustic tannins and excellent acidity. It is already good to drink, but will certainly repay a year or two in the cellar, and should eventually show genuine elegance.
 

Price:  £10.50 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Domaine Giroflet Rouge 2010 IGP Pays de l'Hérault
Vintage
2010

Region Pézenas
Colour/Style Dry red - full bodied, aged 2 years in old oak barrels
Grapes 100% Grenache
Alcohol (a.b.v)
14.5%
Food Grilled red meats, game, mushroom risotto, cheese
Next day
Even better
Drink Now, or over the next 5 to 10 years
100% old-vine Grenache, grown on Villefranchien terroir (large pebbles, quartz, etc, mixed with clay/limestone) in a rather remote and beautiful 0.7 hectare vineyard near to Pezenas. Just 1,000 bottles are produced in a typical year, at a yield of not much more than 10 hl/ha. This is a classic example of why some call Grenache Noir the "Pinot of the Languedoc". No, it neither smells nor tastes like Pinot Noir, but it does have an elegance, vivacity and sheer weight of fresh red and black summer fruits that simply screams elegance. A wonderfully fragrant and alluring combination of raspberry, redcurrant and red cherry aromas, with pronounced florality, hints of garrigue herbs and soft spices all make for a truly elegant wine. On the palate, we have fresh and crystallised sweet-sour red and black fruits, with a touch of savouriness and fine, tea-like tannins, allied to juicy, cherry kernel acidity and an almost imperceptible lick of older oak (all of the barrels have seen 7 vintages or more). At almost 5 years of age, this wine really is as fresh as a daisy, and seemingly just beginning to get into its stride. We can honestly say that this wine (and this grower) is one of our greatest "finds" in recent years.
 

Price:  £15.50 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Mas Sibert Armélot 2014 Vin de France
Mas Sibert Armelot 2014
Vintage
2014

Region Fos, in the hills near Faugères
Colour/Style Dry red - medium/full bodied, aged 10 months in vat
Grapes 40% Merlot, 40% Syrah and 20% Petit Verdot
Alcohol (a.b.v)
13.5%
Food Red and white meat dishes, pizza, risotto, soft cheeses
Next day
Even better
Drink Now, or over the next 3 to 5 years
Briary and blackcurrant aromas, with hints of red cherry and garrigue herbs and spice. The palate is crammed full of fresh, juicy, gently spicy red and black fruit flavours. The tannins are ripe and relatively soft, the acidity is ample and there is a delightful mineral/stone/cherry kernel bite. Winemaker Simon Bertschinger tells me that he selected his Merlot and Petit Verdot clones for their acidity, and he made excellent choices, for this really is a wonderfully vibrant, juicy, tangy wine!
 

Price:  £11.50 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Mas Sibert Fosénot 2013 Vin de France
Mas Sibert Fosenot 2013
Vintage
2013

Region Fos, in the hills near Faugères
Colour/Style Dry red - medium/full bodied, aged 10 months in vat
Grapes 70% Syrah, 10% Sangiovese, 10% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot
Alcohol (a.b.v)
14.0%
Food Roasted/grilled meats, spicy dishes, cheese
Next day
Even better
Drink Now, or over the next 5 to 8 years
Masses of juicy raspberry and cherry fruit, married to juicy cherry kernel/citrus acidity and tea-like tannins, which - combined with a fresh rather than savoury herbiness - makes for a really mouth-watering and beautifully balanced wine. Time in the glass reveals some deeper flavours, more bramble and cassis fruit, with a hint of black olive savouriness. A brilliant expression of Syrah, with Sangiovese, Merlot and Petit Verdot adding lots of interest and complexity. Really lovely stuff!
 

Price:  £12.95 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Mas Sibert Soléno 2013 Vin de France
Mas Sibert Soleno 2013
Vintage
2013
Image to follow 
Region Fos, in the hills near Faugères
Colour/Style Dry red - full bodied, aged 10 months in used oak barrels
Grapes 40% Merlot, 30% Petit Verdot, 30% Syrah
Alcohol (a.b.v)
14.5%
Food Cassoulet, other rich meat stews, game, mature cheeses
Next day
Even better
Drink Now, or over the next 5 to 10 years
The estate's top red wine. Winemaker Simon Bertschinger uses re-toasted oak barrels, which he prefers over brand new barrels, so the oak influence is more subtle. This is quite a deep colour with aromas of cassis and bramble and background notes of pepper and spice. The palate is ripe and fleshy, with tea-like tannins balanced by nice acidity and again a hint of peppery spice. It is undoubtedly youthful, but already showing some elegance, and certainly opens out after a night in the decanter. And it certainly went very nicely with a dish of Toulouse sausages, fatty pork and sautéed potatoes. Drinking now, but with a lot of development ahead of it.
 

Price:  £15.50 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Domaine de Ravanès Merlot-Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 IGP Coteaux de Murviel
Domaine de Ravanes Merlot Cabernet 2012
Vintage
2009
Region Thézan-les-Béziers, 10km north of Béziers
Colour/Style Dry red - full bodied. Aged 18 months in vat (no oak)
Grapes 50% Merlot, 50% Cabernet Sauvignon
Alcohol (a.b.v)
13.5%
Food All manner of meat, cheese or vegetable dishes, pizza
Next day
Even better on day 2
Drink Now, or over the next 5 to 8 years
Semi-opaque purple/red in colour, this is deep, dark and inviting, with heady aromas of cassis and bramble fruit, tobacco, citrus and spice, with little hints of meat and new leather. The palate is bright and intensely fruity, lightly spicy and herby, with bags of red and black berry fruit flavours, leather and spice. The texture is medium-rich and mouth-filling, with ample acidity and beautifully grippy tannins, making for a wine that is lovely to drink now, but with the structure to age and improve for another 5 years or more. This is a brilliant example of a Languedoc "Bordeaux blend" and frankly it knocks spots off just about any right-bank Claret under £15.
 

Price:  £9.85 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Domaine de Ravanès Alicante Bouschet 2014 IGP Coteaux de Murviel
Domaine de Ravanes Alicante Bouschet 2014
Vintage
2014

Region Thézan-les-Béziers, 10km north of Béziers
Colour/Style Dry red - medium/full bodied. Aged in vat (no oak)
Grapes 100% Alicante Bouschet
Alcohol (a.b.v)
13.5%
Food All manner of meat, cheese or vegetable dishes, pizza
Next day
Even better on day 2
Drink Now, or over the next 3 to 5 years
Winemaker Marc Benin experimented with making a red table wine from Alicante Bouschet for 3 years before hitting on the perfect recipe. It is macerated on the skins for just 4 days, before running the juice off, in order to tame the inherently fierce tannins and retain the fruit. The result is a relatively light-coloured red wine, full of red and black fruit flavours, a lick of spice and a sprinkling of garrigue herbs, with good concentration, just the right amount of tannin and ample acidity. All in all, a cracking good wine!
 

Price:  £10.85 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Domaine de Ravanès Petit Verdot 2010 IGP Coteaux de Murviel
Domaine de Ravanes Petit Verdot 2010
Vintage
2010

Region Thézan-les-Béziers, 10km north of Béziers
Colour/Style Dry red - full bodied, aged 16 months in tanks (no oak)
Grapes 100% Petit Verdot
Alcohol (a.b.v)
14.0%
Food Red meats, cheese, vegetable or mushroom dishes
Next day
Even better
Drink Now, or over the next 3 to 5 years
A very classy nose - leather, meat, tobacco, citrus and a whole load of black cherry, blackcurrant, bramble, forest floor and kirsch. On the palate, it has real tannic grip, but is ever so fruity, with dark, herb-infused fruits and citrus combining beautifully in a wine of real freshness and verve. And despite the fact that it is aged exclusively in vats (i.e. no oak influence) it has real complexity, with hints of tobacco and dark chocolate and a long, peppery finish. Ripe but not overtly rich, generous but beautifully balanced.
Was £11.95. Bin-End price £9.95. 1 bottle left.

 

Price:  £9.95 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Domaine de Ravanès Petit Verdot 2013 IGP Coteaux de Murviel
Domaine de Ravanes Petit Verdot 2013
Vintage
2013

Region Thézan-les-Béziers, 10km north of Béziers
Colour/Style Dry red - full bodied, aged 16 months in vat (no oak)
Grapes 100% Petit Verdot
Alcohol (a.b.v)
14.0%
Food Red meats, cheese, vegetable or mushroom dishes
Next day
Even better
Drink Now, or over the next 5 to 8 years
Aged for 18 months in vat, so no oak to get in the way of all the lush, ripe bramble and blackcurrant fruit. One might expect this wine to be quite tough and angular for the moment, but not a bit of it - for it really is lovely to drink already. A mélange of black fruits, leather, spice, herb and eau de vie aromas greet the nose, whilst the palate is ripe and full-bodied, with bags of acidity and a healthy dose of tea-like tannins. I make no secret of my relative antipathy towards Bordeaux wines, but when its blends or (in this case) constituent grape varieties are grown in the Languedoc, by a top grower such as Marc Bénin, they can fill me with joy. And this is just such a wine - utterly delicious and more-ish.
 

Price:  £11.95 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Domaine de Ravanès Cuvée Diogène 2008 Vin de Pays de Coteaux de Murviel
Domaine de Ravanes Cuvee Diogene 2008
Vintage
2008

Region Thézan-les-Béziers, 10km north of Béziers
Colour/Style Dry red - full bodied, aged 18 months in oak barrels
Grapes 60% Petit Verdot, 30% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon
Alcohol (a.b.v)
13.0%
Food Beef, lamb, rich casseroles, hard cheeses
Next day
Even better
Drink Now, or over the next 7 to 10 years
Now we are really entering into Languedoc territory of ripe, almost opulent fruit, aided by 18 months' ageing in 1, 2 and 3 year-old oak barrels. Aromas of cassis and bramble, black cherry and cedar, with an intriguing note of violet. Beautifully fresh in the mouth, with bright, intense fruit flavours, just the merest hint of savouriness, ripe, almost velvety tannins and bags of fresh acidity. It is so wonderfully balanced that it is eminently drinkable now, but also has enough stuffing and structure to age for at least another 10 years. A fabulous combination of ripe fruit, florality and restrained power - a really elegant wine.
 

Price:  £13.50 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Domaine de Ravanès Les Gravières du Taurou 2010 Vin de Pays de Coteaux de Murviel
Vintage
2010

Region Thézan-les-Béziers, 10km north of Béziers
Colour/Style Dry red - full bodied, aged 4 years in oak barrels
Grapes 38% Merlot, 32% Petit Verdot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon
Alcohol (a.b.v)
14.0%
Food Beef, lamb, game, duck, wild mushroom risotto
Next day
Even better
Drink Now, or over the next 10 to 15 years
The estate's top red, from 35 year-old vines, it shows a youthful dark purple/carmine with a tiny rim. It positively reeks of brambles, cassis, black cherry, polished leather, cedar and damp earth, with subtle hints of violets and iodine. If it sounds like an A to Z of all of the best wine descriptors, that's because it is - indeed, a really quite remarkably complex and intoxicating nose. As a Bordeaux blend, it smells like a top classed growth from a great year, but with a little bit of Languedoc spice and garrigue herb thrown in for good measure - and no greenness! On the palate, the fruit is beautifully ripe and rounded, almost sweet and luscious, but with plenty of tannic grip and fabulous acidity. And even after 4 years in barrel, you hardly notice the oak, which is (in my book) the sign of a masterful winemaker, at the top of his game. Even at just 5 years of age, this has a warmth and a generosity that makes it hard to resist drinking now, whilst clearly also having the structure to age for another 10 years at least - and perhaps 20 or more. An utterly wonderful wine!
 

Price:  £21.95 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Domaine de La Garance A Clara Rouge 2014 Vin de France
Domaine de La Garance A Clara red 2014
Vintage
2014
Region Caux, a few km from Pézenas and Bédarieux
Colour/Style Dry red - medium bodied
Grapes 50% Grenache and 50% Pinot Noir
Alcohol (a.b.v)
12.0%
Food White meats, risotto, pizza, cheeses.
Next day
Even better on day 2 (or even day 3!)
Drink Now, or over the next 3+ years
A blend of Pinot Noir (grown 600m above sea level, in the hills above Bédarieux) and Grenache Noir (grown on the Garance estate in Caux). This is just so wonderfully vibrant and full of life! They say that Grenache is the Pinot Noir of the Languedoc, but this wine goes one better - the *best* Grenache, coupled with "cool climate" Languedoc Pinot that could for all the world have been grown in the Cote d'Or, such is its elegance and sheer vivacity. The aromas simply leap out of the glass - damp earth and wet stone, red and black cherry, raspberry, dried orange, new leather, fine eau de vie, a dash of white pepper and herbs of the garrigue - they're all in there, and so much more. It may not be designed to be complex, but it really does tick most (if not all) of my boxes. The promise of the nose is more than matched by the earthy, ripe, sweet-edged red and black fruit flavours on the palate, laced with garrigue herbs and just a hint of peppery spice, countered by melting tannins and truly mouth-watering soft-citrus acidity. And for that reason, it may just be one of the most enjoyable bottles of wine we have drank. Oh, and by the way, no fungicides, pesticides or SO2 were used in the growing/making of this wine (not to mention, no oak). Delicious!
 

Price:  £11.99 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Domaine de La Garance Les Armieres 2004 Vin de Pays de l'Hérault
Domaine de La Garance Les Armieres 2004
Vintage
2004
Region Caux, a few km north-west of Pézenas
Colour/Style Dry red - full bodied, partly aged in barrel
Grapes 90% Carignan and 10% Syrah (65 year old vines)
Alcohol (a.b.v)
14.0%
Food Roasted red meats, game, cheeses.
Next day
Still fresh, though at its best on day one
Drink Now, or over the next 5 to 10 years
Old vine Carignan and Syrah, with yields of just 18 hectolitres per hectare. A long maceration (3 months) is followed by 27 months ageing (90% in concrete vats and 10% in oak barrels). What strikes me is how wonderfully "Languedoc" this smells and tastes. Of course, the fact that it is mostly (very old) Carignan helps. The colour is a deep-ish blood red, leading to a slightly bricking rim. The nose offers a complex array of red and black berry and cherry fruits, dried orange peel and polished old leather, with background notes of cedar, curry spices, garrigue herbs and tea. All of which suggest that the 2 years' oak-ageing was done with a sympathetic hand, for a more harmonious and intoxicating bouquet is hard to imagine. Although this is no shrinking violet, there is plenty of charm to the palate, with bags of spiced black cherry, redcurrant and bramble fruit flavours. The tannins are dense and grippy, with notes of dark chocolate and licorice, which - together with the ample fruit and racy acidity - will ensure it ages and evolves further for another 5 to 10 years. A fabulously old-school Languedoc wine, which is yet to reach its peak.
 

Price:  £23.50 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Domaine de La Garance Les Armieres 2006 Vin de Pays de l'Hérault
Domaine de La Garance Les Armieres 2006
Vintage
2006
Region Caux, a few km north-west of Pézenas
Colour/Style Dry red - full bodied, partly aged in barrel
Grapes 90% Carignan and 10% Syrah (65 year old vines)
Alcohol (a.b.v)
14.0%
Food Roasted red meats, game, cheeses.
Next day
Still fresh, though at its best on day one
Drink Now, or over the next 10+ years
Old vine Carignan and Syrah, with yields of just 18 hectolitres per hectare. A long maceration (3 months) is followed by 27 months ageing (90% in concrete vats and 10% in oak barrels). The nose offers-up myriad aromas of red and black fruits, woodsmoke, pepper, exotic spices, leather and garrigue herbs. There is also a strong hint of grilled meat and - at the other end of the spectrum - even some delicate floral notes. A huge hit of bramble and redcurrant fruit washes over the palate, accompanied by the most wonderful citrus-tinged acidity and all kinds of other flavours and textures, which coat the mouth and linger for an age. This really is a wine which fills the senses and keeps you coming back for more. There is plenty of grip, but the sheer pleasure offered by the intense, concentrated, yet gloriously succulent sweet-and-sour fruit is such that you almost don't notice the tannin. Every mouthful leaves you salivating and simply craving for more. It is utterly delicious, and yet another example of why I think Carignan - in the right winemaker's hands - is the jewel in the Languedoc's crown. A stunning wine.
 

Price:  £23.50 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Domaine de La Garance Les Armieres 2007 Vin de Pays de l'Hérault
Domaine de La Garance Les Armieres 2007
Vintage
2007
Region Caux, a few km north-west of Pézenas
Colour/Style Dry red - full bodied, partly aged in barrel
Grapes 90% Carignan and 10% Syrah (65 year old vines)
Alcohol (a.b.v)
14.0%
Food Roasted red meats, game, cheeses.
Next day
Still fresh, though at its best on day one
Drink Now, or over the next 10+ years
Old vine Carignan and Syrah, with yields of just 18 hectolitres per hectare. A long maceration (3 months) is followed by 27 months ageing (90% in concrete vats and 10% in oak barrels). This is almost on a par with the amazing 2006 - perhaps even its equal. Once again, mostly Carignan, with a little Syrah, deep blood red in colour, almost opaque, with a tiny rim. As with the 2006, the nose is a riot of red and black fruits, smoke, white pepper, exotic spices, leather and herbs, with hints of sandalwood and forest floor. The palate has all of those things going for it, and more - concentrated but not overly rich, a complex array of red and black fruits, with healthy tannins and a core of juicy, citrus and cranberry-tinged acidity. The finish is satisfyingly dry and tangy, with lingering flavours of forest fruits, cedar and peppery spice. Although it may be a few years short of its absolute peak, it is nevertheless rather delicious already. Another wonderful, world-class Carignan.
 

Price:  £23.50 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Domaine Saint Etienne Perserose Red 2014 IGP Pays du Gard
Domaine Saint Etienne Perserose Rouge 2014
Vintage
2014
Region Pays du Gard, south-west of Avignon
Colour/Style Dry red - medium bodied.
Grapes Grenache, Syrah and Carignan
Alcohol (a.b.v)
14.0%
Food Cold cuts, char-grilled meats, pizza, spaghetti bolognaise
Next day
As good
Drink Now, or over the next 2 or 3 years
An enticing nose of wild strawberries, red cherries, creamy vanilla, herbs, and an intriguing hint of citrus fruit. Warm, spiced fruit and herby flavours abound, with lovely acidity and gentle tannins. For such a lowly denomination, this is classy indeed - full of ripe, juicy fruit, yet beautifully "winey" and satisfying, with those gently spicy flavours lingering long on the palate. Coming from vineyards which fall just outside of the Côtes du Rhône appellation, this really is a Côtes du Rhône in all but name, and is a cracking weekday wine. It would age nicely for a year or two, but why bother when it is so delicious now? Southern France in a glass!
 

Price:  £7.99 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Les Vignes de l'Arque Terroir de l'Arque 2014 IGP Pays d'Oc
Les Vignes de l'Arque Terroir de l'Arque 2014
Vintage
2014

Region Pays d'Oc, west of Uzès, in the Gard
Colour/Style Dry red - full bodied. Aged in vat
Grapes 100% Grenache
Alcohol (a.b.v)
13.5%
Food Roasted meats, charcuterie, spaghetti bolognaise, cheese
Next day
As good
Drink Now or over the next 2 to 3 years

A limpid, bright red colour with small red fruits, pepper and spice aromas and flavours, with fine, soft tannins and juicy acidity. There is a refreshing bitter cherry note on the finish, together with a hint of dark chocolate. This cuvée used to be made in a big, bold, super-concentrated style, but this latest vintage is lighter and fresher and shows much more elegance. Drinking well already, but will age nicely for 2 or 3 years..

 

Price:  £8.95 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Les Vignes de l'Arque Cuvée des Boissières 2013 IGP Pays d'Oc
Les Vignes de l'Arque Cuvée des Boissieres 2013
Vintage
2013
 
Region Pays d'Oc, west of Uzès, in the Gard
Colour/Style Dry red - full bodied. Aged in oak barrels for 9 months
Grapes 100% Merlot
Alcohol (a.b.v)
13.5%
Food Entrecote steak, game, cheese
Next day
Even better
Drink Now or over the next 5 to 8 years

A dark purple core, fading to deep ruby red, with ripe red and black fruit aromas and notes of toffee, mocha and classy oak. The palate offers sweet bramble and blackcurrant flavours, with notes of bonfire toffee and bitter chocolate, powerful but elegant tannins and a long, gently spicy finish. This is no simple country wine - it is considerably complex and a brilliant example of just how good Languedoc Merlot can be. And great value for money, too.

 

Price:  £10.25 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Domaine Monplezy Canon Huppé 2014 IGP Cotes de Thongue
Domaine Monplezy Canon Huppé 2014
Vintage
2014

Region Cotes de Thongue, Pézenas
Colour/Style Dry red, medium bodied, aged in vat
Grapes 100% Cinsault
Alcohol (a.b.v)
13.0%
Food Grilled pork chops, pasta with tomato sauce, pizza
Next day
Almost as good
Drink Over the next 3 years
A brand new cuvée from Domaine Monplezy, this is pure Cinsault, aged for a few months in stainless steel vats before bottling and released young (at the time of writing - March 2015 - it is the first French 2014 I have tasted). The colour is a bright, limpid cherry red, and the aromas and flavours are equally bright, with fresh red currant and berry fruits, candied orange peel and a gentle earthiness, with soft tannins, stony minerality and juicy acidity. Cinsault is - unfairly in my opinion - generally consigned to being a constituent of blended rosé wines in the Languedoc, but this is a brilliant example of what can be done with it when left to take on some skin colour, tannin and more of that lovely red fruit. The result is a completely delicious and more-ish wine.
 

Price:  £9.85 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Domaine Turner Pageot 48H 2013 Vin de France
Vintage
2013

Region Gabian, north of Pézenas
Colour/Style Dry, deeply-coloured rosé or "clairet" 
Grapes 60% Grenache, 40% Syrah
Alcohol (a.b.v)
14.0%
Food Cold cuts, light meat dishes, grilled sardines, curries
Next day
Still fine
Drink Now, or over the next 3 to 5 years
Clairet is a term the Bordelais use for a light red wine, or a very dark rosé. The method is basically saignée (the free-run juice) but taken only after an extended 48 hour maceration (hence the name 48H). The colour is more of a bright ruby red than rosé ,and indeed it is closer in style to a red wine, with masses of juicy redcurrant, raspberry, orange and garrigue herb aromas and flavours, genuine body and depth and even a modicum of tannin. Deliciously ripe and rounded, with a hint of peachy richness, but with enough acidity and grip to make it a perfect match for many different dishes. A delicious wine. Certified organic and biodynamic.
 

Price:  £11.30 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Domaine Turner Pageot B815 2012 Vin de France
Turner Pageot B815 2012
Vintage
2010

Region Gabian, north of Pézenas
Colour/Style Dry red, full-bodied, aged 1 year in oak barrels
Grapes 95% Grenache, 5% Mourvedre
Alcohol (a.b.v)
14.0%
Food Lamb, beef, duck, liver
Next day
Even better
Drink Now, or over the next 5 to 8 years
From a single, north-facing vineyard, on limestone soil, winemaker Emmanuel Pageot calls this his 'grand cru'. He also considers Grenache to be the 'Pinot of the south', and this wine illustrates his point perfectly. It actually takes a day in the decanter for all of its subtleties to reveal themselves. Initially, I was expecting something big and brash and showy, but this is just the opposite, for it has real charm. Aromas of red berry and cherry fruits, garrigue herbs and floral, earthy, freshly baked brioche nuances combine beautifully in a considerably complex nose. Indeed, rarely do you find a Grenache-based wine that shows such perfumed elegance at such a young age. The palate is crammed full of fresh and crystallised red fruit flavours, subtle herb and spice nuances and an equally subtle streak of saline minerality, all of which is wrapped around a core of very fine tannin and mouth-watering acidity. It's a veritable beauty, which can either be enjoyed young (though preferably decanted 24 hours in advance) or aged for a good few years. Certified organic and biodynamic.
 

Price:  £19.99 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Domaine de Foltodon Sancti Cosmae 2011 IGP Pays d'Oc
Domaine de Foltodon Sancti Cosmae 2011
Vintage
2011

Region Saint-Come de Marujols, Vin de Pays d'Oc
Colour/Style Dry red - full bodied
Grapes 90% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre - partly oak-aged
Alcohol (a.b.v)
14.0%
Food Roasted red meats, hearty stews, cheeses.
Next day
Still very good, perhaps even more so
Drink Now or over the next 5 years
A bright but deep, semi-translucent carmine/cherry red colour. Fresh out of the bottle, a mix of tar and roses is the first impression, followed by a riot of bramble and cherries in kirsch, dried orange peel and mixed spice. And despite the fact that one-third of the blend is aged for 10 months in new oak barrels and a further third in 1 year-old barrels (with the remainder aged in vat) the oak nuances are really very subtle and beautifully integrated. In fact, this is a wine full of fruit and spicy southern charm. The palate is fresh and vibrant, with more in the way of super-ripe raspberry and strawberry flavours, contrasted by a deliciously tangy sour cherry quality, with excellent concentration, just the right amount of tannic grip and bags of juicy acidity. After plenty of air (or better still, a night in the decanter) it develops some earthy and meaty/savoury aromas and flavours, whilst still exhibiting all of that wonderfully fresh fruit. A bit of a bargain, this - a really substantial and even quite serious wine, from yields of just 22 hl/ha - and whilst great to drink now, it certainly has the structure to evolve nicely for a good few years.
Normally £11.50. Bin-End price £8.75. More than a dozen bottles left.

 

Price:  £8.75 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Domaine de Foltodon Sancti Cosmae 2014 IGP Pays d'Oc
Domaine de Foltodon Sancti Cosmae 2014
Vintage
2014

Region Saint-Come de Marujols, Vin de Pays d'Oc
Colour/Style Dry red - full bodied
Grapes 90% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre
Alcohol (a.b.v)
13.5%
Food Roasted red meats, hearty stews, cheeses.
Next day
Still very good, perhaps even more so
Drink Now or over the next 5 years
A bright but deep, semi-translucent carmine/cherry red colour. The 10% Mourvedre in the blend really does make all the difference, adding a subtle meaty-herby savouriness to the fresh, ripe, red cherry, blackcurrant and raspberry aromas and flavours of the Syrah. On the palate, it is beautifully poised - crammed full of gloriously fresh, juicy, garrigue herb-tinged red and black fruit flavours, ripe tannins and a refreshing lick of cherry kernel acidity, with a welcome bite of peppery spice and cool mint on the finish. From vineyards wedged between the southern Rhône and eastern Languedoc (south-west of Nimes), it certainly sings of the latter rather than the former, with a coolness and genuine elegance that one rarely, if ever, finds in the Rhône. Aged in vat, with no oak influence at all, it really is a delightful wine. Organic.
 

Price:  £11.50 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Domaine La Combe Blanche l'Incompris Cinsault 2012 IGP Côtes du Brian
Combe Blanche l'Incompris Cinsault 2012
Vintage
2012

Region Côtes du Brian, in the Minervois
Colour/Style Dry red - medium-bodied.
Grapes 100% Cinsault
Alcohol (a.b.v)
14.0%
Food Barbecued red/white meats, pizza, pasta, risotto
Next day
As good
Drink Perfect now, or over the next couple of years
l'Incompris means "the misunderstood", which alludes to the fact that Cinsault is usually considered only good for red blends or rosé, rather than as a variety with lots of character, which needs only the hands of a skilled vigneron to make something really rather lovely. Aromas of garrigue herb-infused red cherries, damsons and raspberries simply leap from the glass, with a touch of polished leather, spice and eau de vie. Succulent red and black fruit flavours abound, in a wine that is rich in flavour, but surprisingly balanced and fleet of foot, in a seamless mix of warm spice, silky tannins and ample acidity. Although it is a delight to drink now, I have no doubt that it will keep nicely for a good year or three. Bargain.
 

Price:  £8.20 (Including: VAT at 20%)

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Domaine La Combe Blanche Why Not? Pinot Noir 2011 IGP Côtes du Brian
Combe Blanche Why Not? Pinot Noir 2011
Vintage
2011
Region Côtes du Brian, in the Minervois
Colour/Style Dry red - full-bodied.
Grapes 100% Pinot Noir
Alcohol (a.b.v)
14.0%
Food Red or white meats, pizza, pasta
Next day
As good
Drink Now, or over the next 3 to 5 years
Medium-deep red colour with aromas of summer fruits and soft citrus, hints of forest floor, leather and soft spices and remarkably fresh and high-toned. This is in my opinion the best Pinot Noir that Guy Vanlancker has fashioned in years - balanced and fresh on the palate, with lots of red cherry and raspberry fruit flavours, a subtle spiciness, easy tannins and a refreshing backbone of juicy acidity, yet with plenty of southern charm and warmth and a delightful sweet and sour finish. And it is drinking beautifully already.
Normally £8.95. Bin-End price £7.50. More than 12 bottles left.

 

Price:  £7.50 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Domaine La Combe Blanche l'Enfer Pinot Noir 2012 IGP Côtes du Brian
La Combe Blanche l'Enfer Pinot Noir 2012
Vintage
2012
Region Côtes du Brian, in the Minervois
Colour/Style Dry red - full-bodied. Aged in old oak barrels for 18 months
Grapes 100% Pinot Noir
Alcohol (a.b.v)
15.0%
Food Rich game dishes, lamb, fillet of beef
Next day
Even better
Drink Now, or over the next 10 to 15 years
This deep, dark purple coloured wine certainly smells and tastes like Pinot Noir, but don't expect a light, airy Burgundy look-alike! The aromas, flavours and texture of this wine are very definitely rooted in the warm south, with rich, ripe red and black fruits and a hint of classy oak, perhaps even similar in style to a Californian Pinot. The flavours are similarly rich and ripe, but far from heavy, with velvety tannins, a touch of red cherry sourness and a decent lick of acidity making for something really quite balanced and more-ish. It is approachable now and whilst certainly no shrinking violet, I have enough experience of Guy Vanlancker's Pinots (going back to the mid-1990's) to know that this could turn into something rather special and ethereal in 10 to 15 years. Either way, a lovely wine!
 

Price:  £12.95 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Domaine La Combe Blanche Les Dessous de l'Enfer Tempranillo 2010 IGP Côtes du Brian
Domaine La Combe Blanche Les Dessous de l'Enfer 2010
Vintage
2010

Region La Liviniere, north-east of Carcassonne
Colour/Style Dry red - medium/full bodied, aged 18 months in old oak 
Grapes 100% Tempranillo
Alcohol (a.b.v)
14.0%
Food Duck, game, char-grilled red meats, wild mushrooms
Next day
Even better
Drink Now, or over the next 5 to 10 years
Guy Vanlancker planted his Tempranillo in the early 1990's, high up in the hills above La Livinière, where the winters can be fiercely cold and the summers fiercely hot, hence the name Les Dessous de l'Enfer - roughly translated as "under hell"(!) The last time he made this cuvée was way back in 2001 (and a bottle we tasted recently was still yet to reach its peak). For this vintage, he used mostly old barrels. After 18 months, the wine was transferred to vats for a further year, before being bottled in the Spring of 2013. It is vibrant and full of life, with an expressive nose, redolent of black cherry, raspberry and bramble, with subtle hints of oak vanillin, mocha and dark chocolate. After a while, it develops further notes of roasted red capsicum and turkish delight. All of which adds up to a pretty complex and alluring wine. The palate is full-bodied, with a richly tannic structure and a gentle oakiness, but at the same time immensely fruity, with real mineral depth, subtle hints of spices and garrigue herbs. All of which, combined with ample acidity, makes for a wonderfully sweet and sour and considerably complex wine. It is already excellent to drink (especially after 24 hours in the decanter) but will no doubt age gracefully for a further 10 years or more.
 

Price:  £13.50 (Including: VAT at 20%)

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Domaine Gayda Flying Solo Grenache-Syrah 2014 IGP Pays d'Oc
Domaine Gayda Flying Solo Red 2014
Vintage
2014

Region IGP Pays d'Oc - sourced from various parts of Languedoc
Colour/Style Dry red - medium bodied
Grapes 60% Grenache, 40% Syrah
Alcohol (a.b.v)
13.0%
Food Red or white meats, cold cuts, grilled veg, pasta, cheese
Next day
Still good, retains freshness
Drink Now to 2018
With a heady waft of red and black summer fruits, freshly-baked bread, herbs, spices and notes of damp earth and tobacco, this really hits the spot. The palate is simply crammed full of summer fruit and orange flavours, with juicy acidity and earthy but ripe tannins. Medium weight and a delight to drink, it is very much in the mould of a good Cru Beaujolais, but with deeper, more intense flavours and fruit so chunky you can almost bite it. A really delicious all-rounder, and great value for money.
 

Price:  £7.75 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Domaine Gayda Syrah 2013 IGP Pays d'Oc
Gayda Syrah 2013
Vintage
2013

Region IGP Pays d'Oc - sourced from various parts of Languedoc
Colour/Style Dry red - medium-bodied
Grapes 100% Syrah
Alcohol (a.b.v)
13.0%
Food On its own or with red or white meats, pizza, pasta
Next day
Even better
Drink Now, or over the next 3 to 5 years
From limestone in La Liviniere and sandstone on the Gayda estate. 10% is aged in 1, 2 and 3 year-old barrels, the remainder in stainless steel. A nose of bramble, blackcurrant, raspberry, violets and fresh bread, with hints of tobacco, allspice, citrus-infused pot-pourri and iodine adding more complexity. This is a lot of wine for the money. Spicy, tangy redcurrant and cranberry flavours, with supple tannins and citrussy acidity. There are some very subtle savoury notes, but more in the way of lapsang tea, herbs and tar, with a nice hit of sweet damson giving a touch of richness to an otherwise tangy, sprightly wine, very much in the northern Rhône style. A really lovely wine, to drink now or keep for a year or three.
 

Price:  £8.99 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Domaine Gayda Figure Libre Freestyle Rouge 2013 IGP Pays d'Oc
Gayda Figure Libre Red 2013
Vintage
2013

Region IGP Pays d'Oc - sourced from various parts of Languedoc
Colour/Style Dry red - full-bodied, aged in barrels for 9 months
Grapes 45% Syrah, 25% Grenache, 20% Carignan, 10% Mourvedre
Alcohol (a.b.v)
13.5%
Food Red meats, game, roasted vegetables
Next day
Even better
Drink Now, or up to 2020
New vintage - tasting note to follow.
 

Price:  £11.50 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Domaine Gayda Chemin de Moscou 2012 IGP Pays d'Oc
Gayda Chemin de Moscou 2012
Vintage
2012

Region IGP Pays d'Oc - sourced from various parts of Languedoc
Colour/Style Dry red - full-bodied, aged in barrels for 21 months
Grapes 62% Syrah, 32% Grenache and 6% Cinsault
Alcohol (a.b.v)
14.0%
Food Fillet of beef, rack of lamb, game, mushroom risotto
Next day
Even better
Drink Now, or up to 2025
The grapes are sourced from no less than 6 different areas of Languedoc and Roussillon. The Syrah is aged in new oak for 9 months, the Grenache and Cinsault in 2 and 3 year-old oak for 9 months, followed by blending of the best barrels of each variety and a further 12 months maturation of the final blend in the same barrels. This is a wine of considerable class and breeding, revealing complex notes of flowers, incense, bread, beef, raspberry and bramble. The palate is young, tight and gently tannic, but already showing layers of complexity, with immense concentration and length of flavour It really is enough to put a smile on the most pained of faces. As I've said of previous vintages of this wine, at the ludicrously low price of 20 quid, it is a genuine Languedoc classic, and worthy of a place in any wine-lover's cellar.
 

Price:  £19.99 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Domaine de La Marfée Les Vignes Qu'On Abat 2011 IGP Pays de l'Hérault
Domaine de La Marfeee Les Vignes Qu'On Abat 2011
Vintage
2011

Region Saint Georges d'Orques, west of Montpellier
Colour/Style Dry red - full bodied, aged for 2 years in oak barels
Grapes 100% Carignan
Alcohol (a.b.v)
14.0%
Food Beef, lamb, duck, perhaps even a spicy tagine
Next day
Still going strong
Drink Over the next 10 to 15 years
This is almost understated - for which read elegant and refined. The nose is charming and delicately perfumed, offering up a complex array of ripe bramble, raspberry and cherry, leather, polished old wood, orange peel, garrigue herbs and tobacco. Not rich, not overripe, not big and bold, but truly elegant - if ever a Languedoc Carignan could be compared (in structure, if not flavour profile) to a top red Burgundy, then this is it. By which I mean, if you love great Burgundy, then you can hardly fail to be won over by this. Dark summer fruit, herb and soft spice flavours combine with ripe, tea-like tannins and utterly mouth-watering, sour cherry acidity, in a wine that is - at this relatively early stage in its development - persistently drinkable and more-ish, and very long.
 

Price:  £23.50 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Mas Coutelou La Buvette A Paulette 2013 Vin de France
Mas Coutelou La Buvette A Paulette 2013
Vintage
2013

Region Puimisson - midway between Béziers and Faugères
Colour/Style Dry red - medium/full bodied, aged in vat
Grapes 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Syrah. 
Alcohol (a.b.v)
13.5%
Food Red and white meats, pasta dishes
Next day
Even better
Drink Now, or over the next 2 or 3 years
An impressively deep colour, which belies the rather elegant nose and palate. A wonderfully fresh and vibrant combinination of lusciously juicy blackcurrant and black cherry fruit, grippy tannins and fabulous acidity, with notes of damp undergrowth, peppery spices and new leather. It doesn't pretend to be particularly complex or even especially age-worthy, although it will certainly keep for a few years. But when it is as delicious as this, who cares?! Such a lovely wine deserves to be drunk young and hearty and without too much ceremony. A brilliant and completely natural Cabernet, which just leaves you salivating!
 

Price:  £9.95 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Mas Coutelou Sauvé de La Citerne 2013 Vin de France
Mas Coutelou Sauvé de La Citerne 2013
Vintage
2013

Region Puimisson - midway between Béziers and Faugères
Colour/Style Dry red - medium-bodied, aged in vat
Grapes 70% Mourvedre, 30% Syrah. 
Alcohol (a.b.v)
13.0%
Food Red and white meats seasoned with herbs, pasta dishes
Next day
Best on day 1, but still good on day 2
Drink Now, or over the next 2 or 3 years
Quite a deep, dark but limpid carmine colour, with a narrow rim. The nose belies the colour, with it's wonderfully expressive aromas of raspberry and cherry, brioche and sous-bois, with underlying notes of garrigue herbs and dry-fried curry spices. The palate is perhaps even more expressive - initially light and ethereal, but quickly followed by waves of concentrated fresh summer fruits, white pepper and oregano. Mouth-wateringly delicious, with a real cherry skin bite and mineral depth, countered by a hint of creaminess, firm, tea-like tannins and a core of orange/lemon acidity. It really is a beautifully elegant, pure and finely structured wine. Wonderful!
 

Price:  £10.99 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Mas Coutelou Classe 2013 Vin de France
Mas Coutelou Classe 2013
Vintage
2013

Region Puimisson - midway between Béziers and Faugères
Colour/Style Dry red - medium/full-bodied, aged in vat
Grapes 80% Syrah, 15% Carignan, 5% Grenache 
Alcohol (a.b.v)
13.5%
Food Red meats, duck, herby sausages, pasta with rich sauce
Next day
Even better on day 2
Drink Now, or over the next 5+ years
This is a gorgeous bright, semi-translucent carmine red colour. And what a wonderful nose too - a veritable bucket-load of soused brambles and raspberries, old leather and spice, with hints of flowers and even white fruits, autumnal forest floor, herbs de Provence and a refreshing whiff of volatile acidity - it really is truly vibrant and full of life! Wave upon wave of succulent, mouth-watering, sweet-sour red cherry and bramble fruit flavours coat the mouth, with a sprinkle of white pepper and spice adding a savoury note, all of which is wrapped around a core of gently rustic, grippy tannins and lip-smacking soft citrus and cherry skin acidity, which carries all the way to an impressively long finish. And for those who cn't finish the bottle on day 1, this just gets better and better with air - after 24 hours, the tannins are softer, the fruit gains even more weight and elegance and everything comes together in a most glorius way. A simply delicious, life-affirming wine, which should put a smile on the grumpiest of faces!
 

Price:  £11.95 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Mas Coutelou La Vigne Haute 2013 Vin de France
Mas Cotelou La Vigne Haute 2013
Vintage
2013

Region Puimisson - midway between Béziers and Faugères
Colour/Style Dry red - medium/full bodied, aged in vat
Grapes 100% Syrah. 
Alcohol (a.b.v)
13.0%
Food Red and white meats, pasta dishes
Next day
Still very good
Drink Now, or over the next 5 or so years
Rightly or wrongly, I tend to compare every Syrah that comes my way to the benchmark wines of the northern Rhône. And, whilst undeniably Languedoc in origin and style, this one compares very favourably, with its elegant red fruit and savoury/saline aromas and flavours, along with hints of roasted meat, polished leather and a veritable pot pourri of aromatic herbs and spices. In time, little notes of violet and honeysuckle begin to emerge, making for a truly alluring and elegant nose. At a mere 13 percent abv, the grapes for this wine were evidently harvested relatively early, thus retaining all of those lovely fresh fruit and floral aromas and flavours and mouth watering acidity. There's plenty of colour - and a healthy dose of tannin to match - but this only serves to heighten the sheer vibrancy and youthful vigour of this wine. As ever with Jeff Coutelou's wines (and despite the zero added sulphur) I suspect this can only get better with a few years' ageing. Then again, this is yet another of his wines that are almost too good not to drink young!
 

Price:  £15.50 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Mas Coutelou L'Oublié NV Vin de France
Ma Coutelou l'Oublié NV
Vintage
NV - a blend of several vintages from 2001 to 2013

Region Puimisson - midway between Béziers and Faugères
Colour/Style Dry red - full bodied, aged several years in old demi-muids
Grapes Carignan and Syrah 
Alcohol (a.b.v)
14.0%
Food Red meats, duck, casseroles, risotto
Next day
Even better
Drink Now, or over the next 5 to 8 years
A quirky "solera" blend of Carignan from the 2001, 2007 and 2010 vintages, plus Syrah from the 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013 vintages. When first opened, it smells really fresh and full of fruit, but with an unmistakably cheesy - and undeniably attractive - whiff of maturity. A day or even 2 days later and that cheesiness disappears, and the wine is even fresher, more perfumed and more alluring than when first opened. Complex notes of old leather, curry spices, forest floor and fine eau de vie are married to fresh bramble and cherry aromas and flavours, and perhaps a touch of licorice. The tannins are nicely chewy and robust and the acidity is - surprise, surprise - mouth-watering and tangy. The overall effect is a full-bodied, concentrated, yet really elegant wine, which will age nicely for a good few years, although again, there is no need whatsoever to wait. A brilliantly quirky and really delicious wine!
 

Price:  £19.99 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Mas Coutelou Copains 2013 Vin de France
Mas Coutelou Copains 2013
Vintage
2013

Region Puimisson - midway between Béziers and Faugères
Colour/Style Dry red - medium/full-bodied, aged in vat
Grapes 75% Cinsault, 20% Syrah, 5% Grenache 
Alcohol (a.b.v)
13.5%
Food Beef, lamb, feathered game
Next day
Best on day 1, but still good on day 2
Drink Now, or over the next 5 to 8 years
Another deceptively deeply-coloured wine. As with the other red cuvées, there is a purity and a vibrant freshness that is simply a joy to behold. Plummy, brambly fruit aromas mingle with notes of freshly-baked bread and a pot-pourri of herbs, spices and damp undergrowth. A gentle savouy/meatiness is offset by a lick of soft citrus, with notes of fine eau de vie and smoking incense adding further layers of complexity. The palate offers intense yet remarkably fresh and vibrant red fruit flavours, with notes of cherry, redcurrant and something even more tangy, like rhubarb or pomegranite. It is gently savoury, though less meaty than the nose would suggest. A wine of restrained power and elegance, with chunky but ripe tannins, fabulous acidity and a long, juicy, peppery finish. Utterly delicious!
 

Price:  £19.50 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


L'Argentier Vieilles Vignes de Cinsault 2011 IGP Pays d'Hérault
l'Argentier Cinsault 2011
Vintage
2011

Region Sommières, in western Languedoc
Colour/Style Dry red, medium bodied, aged in vat
Grapes 100% Cinsault
Alcohol (a.b.v)
13.5%
Food Grilled meats, roasted vegetables, cold cuts
Next day
Still good, but not quite as fresh as on day 1
Drink Over the next 3 to 5 years
This is pure Cinsault from a vineyard planted in 1969 (so 45 years old). As can be expected with Cinsault, it is the lightest of this grower's reds - both in colour and body - but nevertheless delicious. It offers aromas of red berry fruits laced with spices and herbs, with subtle hints of sous bois and freshly baked brioche. It is beautifully soft and approachable, full of raspberry and redcurrant fruits, with soft tannins and a gently creamy texture and flavour. In fact it is really rather light and ethereal, in an almost Burgundian sort of way, but with a softer feel. There's plenty of acidity though, and just the right amount of tannic grip. Cinsault is (along with Carignan) traditionally one of the "black sheep" grapes of the Languedoc family, but I have enough evidence to suggest that, from old vines and a sympathetic hand in the winery, it can make fabulous wine - and this is one of them. Lovely stuff!
 

Price:  £11.50 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


L'Argentier Vieilles Vignes de Carignan 2011 IGP Pays d'Hérault
L'Argentier Carignan 2011
Vintage
2011

Region Sommières, in western Languedoc
Colour/Style Dry red, full bodied, aged in vat
Grapes 100% Carignan
Alcohol (a.b.v)
14.5%
Food Roasted red meats, hearty stews, herby sausages
Next day
Even better - opens out nicely after a night in the decanter
Drink Over the next 5 to 8 years
Pure Carignan from a vineyard planted in 1935 (80 years old). A reassuringly bright colour, with rich fruitcake aromas and flavours, a touch of spice and a whiff of eau de vie. An initial slight tarriness on the nose dissipates to reveal a rather elegant wine, with a silky-smooth palate, soft, ripe tannins and a spicy warmth. It really begins to show its true colours after 24 hours in the decanter - still with a gentle warmth, beautifully balanced, gently spicy and with a tremendous core of crystallised red fruit flavours, flowers, herbs and soft spices, tea-like tannins and a rasp of juicy, orange infused acidity. This is a wine that (with the benefit of a day's air) could hardly fail to appeal to the most jaded palate. A truly delicious and elegant expression of my very favourite grape variety. An absolute cracker!
 

Price:  £14.50 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Rosemary 2011 Vin de France
Rosemary 2011
Vintage
2011

Region Saint-Sériès - midway between Nimes and Montpellier
Colour/Style Dry red - full bodied, aged 18 months in old oak barrels
Grapes 70% Merlot and 30% Grenache
Alcohol (a.b.v)
14.5%
Food Game, red meats, cassoulet, cheese
Next day
Even better
Drink Now or over the next 10-plus years
"I ain't drinking' no f**kin' Merlot!", is one of the best-known lines from the film Sideways. Well, this is (predominantly) Merlot, and damn fine it is too! Actually, it is a blend of 70% Merlot and 30% Grenache, from two tiny plots of 60 year-old vines grown in the rolling hills around the village of St-Comes et Maruéjols, midway between Nimes and Montpellier. The viticulture is largely biodynamic and the wine is fermented in concrete vats and then aged for 18 months in 3 year-old demi-muids (500 litre oak barrels), with no sulphites used during the winemaking or bottling stages. The colour is a deep, youthful blood red, with a narrow rim. The nose offers quite the most intoxicating combination of black fruits, incense, leather, fine eau de vie, mint and garrigue herbs, all of which come through on the palate, with a perfect balance between ripe (but not over-ripe) fruit, a touch of savouriness, gently rustic tannins and mouth-watering cherry-skin acidity. All of which adds up to a wonderfully tangy, grippy, sweet-sour wine, which just keeps you coming back for more. It isn't Burgundy or Beaujolais (even for the latter, it has far too much body) but it *does* possess the balance, vivacity and fleetness of foot that would appeal to lovers of that type of wine. And despite the large percentage of Merlot in the blend, don't expect anything remotely Claret-like..... it's much better than that! This really is an utterly delicious wine, from owner/winemaker Mark Ratcliffe (yes - he's a Brit!), in collaboration with Robert Creus of Terre Inconnue - a sure recipe for success! Biodynamic.
 

Price:  £21.95 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Domaine Adèléandre Léandre 2013 Vin de France
Domaine Adeleandre Leandre 2013
Vintage
2013

Region Saint-Sériès - midway between Nimes and Montpellier
Colour/Style Dry red - full bodied, aged in vat
Grapes 80% Cinsault, 20% Carignan
Alcohol (a.b.v)
14.0%
Food Game, red meats, risotto, soft cheeses
Next day
Even better
Drink Now (after a long decant) or over the next 10 or so years
A bright, semi-translucent cherry/blood red. The nose offers a fabulously complex array of fresh and crystallised red and black fruit aromas, with notes of blackcurrant leaf, leather, garrigue herbs and hints of autumn forest floor and vanilla ice cream. On day 1, the palate has a slightly prickly feel (courtesy, I presume, of a dash of CO2 at the bottling stage) which diminishes following a good shake and a little time in the glass. It is both refreshing and earthy, with bright cherry and raspberry fruit, married to leafy, earthy, gently herbaceous secondary flavours and cracking acidity. On day 1, the tannins are a little spiky. Not that this is a bar to its sheer drinkability, straight out of the blocks, but it is a wine that currently benefits from plenty of air. Fast-forward 24 hours and those tannins have melded together with the fruit and the acidity, making for a wine with such wonderful poise and balance. The transformation really is quite remarkable - much more than the sum of its parts (Cinsault, especially, is not regarded as a great variety for red wines), it attains a rather "Burgundian" elegance and charm - perhaps with slightly more body and overt fruit, but wonderfully balanced and supremely elegant, fresh and clean - and gloriously drinkable now, but with the capacity to age and evolve for a good few years. This is one of the most delicious red wine to pass my lips so far this year (tasting note written March 2016). Biodynamic.
 

Price:  £17.95 (Including: VAT at 20%)

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Domaine Adèléandre Adèle 2011 Vin de France
Domaine Adeleandre Adele 2011
Vintage
2011

Region Saint-Sériès - midway between Nimes and Montpellier
Colour/Style Dry red - full bodied, aged 16 months in old oak barrels
Grapes 100% Grenache
Alcohol (a.b.v)
14.5%
Food Game, red meats, cassoulet, cheese
Next day
Even better, especially on day 3(!)
Drink Now or over the next 10-plus years
From around 1/3 of a hectare of gnarly old Grenache vines, with yields typically between 15 and 18 hl/ha, only around 600 bottles of this wine are made in each vintage. A semi-translucent cherry red colour with a bricking rim. The nose is gently savoury - though more herby than meaty - with black cherry and bramble aromas and a complex array of background aromas, including leather, damp undergrowth, truffle and freshly-baked bread. The palate is beautifully soft, with very fine tannins, a mix of fresh and crystallised fruit flavours, a hint of spiced orange and just the right amount of refreshing acidity - sweet-sour, spicy, grippy, but soft all at the same time. Something I would liken to a Chateauneuf-du-Pape for Burgundy lovers, and a wine with a great future - though it is lovely to drink already. Biodynamic.
 

Price:  £22.99 (Including: VAT at 20%)

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Terre Inconnue "Sans Nom" 2005 Vin de France
Terre Inconnue Sans Nom 2005
Vintage
2005

Region Saint-Sériès - midway between Nimes and Montpellier
Colour/Style Dry red - full bodied, aged in used oak barrels
Grapes 100% Grenache
Alcohol (a.b.v)
14.0%
Food Rack of lamb, rib of beef or rich, hearty stews
Next day
Still good, but best on day 1
Drink Now, or over the next 5 years
This is described by the grower as a "cuvée oxidative". And on first opening, there is perhaps a slightly oxidative quality to it, but it opens-up in double quick time to reveal an impressive array of aromas and nuances - a mix of crystallised and baked red and black fruits, freshly-baked bread, polished leather, meat, sun-dried tomato, incense, curry spices and damp earth. Indeed, over the course of a couple of hours, it grows yet more complex, as does the palate, which is crammed full of  fruit, spices and herbs, rich and warming, with fine, soft tannins and plenty of acidity, making for a powerful but supremely balanced wine. A perfectly mature wine, and a brilliant introduction to the Terre Inconnue style - and because we were able to get some for not much money, so can you! Biodynamic.
Limited stock - maximum 3 bottles per order.

 

Price:  £13.50 (Including: VAT at 20%)

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Terre Inconnue Les Bruyeres 2013 Vin de France
Terre Inconnue Les Bruyeres 2013
Vintage
2013

Region Saint-Sériès - midway between Nimes and Montpellier
Colour/Style Dry red - full bodied, aged in used oak barrels
Grapes 50% Carignan, 50% Grenache
Alcohol (a.b.v)
13.5%
Food Rack of lamb, rib of beef or rich, hearty stews
Next day
Even better
Drink Over the next 10-15 years
Winemaker Robert Creus advised me to taste and assess this wine over 3 to 4 days, since (at the time of writing - February 2014) it is so young and very recently bottled. I can sort of see why it will take that long to show it's true colours, but I have to say I am loving it from the start! Yes, the tannins are chunky and robust and the acidity is relatively high, but it is absolutely chock full of fresh and pickled bramble and sour cherry fruit, damp earth aromas and flavours that it is hard to resist! Add to that some subtle hints of polished wood and spicy, herby notes, plus of course that utterly wonderful streak of volatile acidity that I love in Robert's wines, and it really is a wonderfully fresh, vibrant, expressive wine. After time in the glass, it also begins to develop some nice floral/violet aromas, which lend a touch of real elegance to the fruit, which is increasingly turns more red (rather than black) by the sip. For the money, this is an absolute bargain, whether you drink it now, or cellar it for 10 years. Biodynamic.
 

Price:  £14.50 (Including: VAT at 20%)

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Terre Inconnue Guilhem 2012 Vin de France
Terre Inconnue Guilhem 2012
Vintage
2012

Region Saint-Sériès - midway between Nimes and Montpellier
Colour/Style Dry red - full bodied, aged in used oak barrels
Grapes A blend of Grenache, Merlot, Carignan and Tempranillo
Alcohol (a.b.v)
15.0%
Food Roasted or grilled red meats, wild mushroom risotto
Next day
Even better
Drink Now, or over the next 10+ years
An eclectic blend of old-vine Grenache, Merlot, Carignan and Tempranillo, and a big, brooding wine, with tremendous depth and complexity. The nose offers notes of black fruits steeped in eau de vie, leather, tapenade, roasted meat and coffee, not to mention huge wafts of garrigue herbs and burning incense. The palate offers all of this and more, with a combination of fresh and baked fruits and tertiary elements, backed up by robust tannins and a layer of fabulously juicy acidity that builds towards a long finish. Granted it is still very youthful, with a long (10 year - plus) future ahead of it, but it is already offering much pleasure. Brilliant wine! Biodynamic.
 

Price:  £18.79 (Including: VAT at 20%)

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Terre Inconnue Leonie 2011 Vin de France
Terre Inconnue Leonie 2011
Vintage
2011

Region Saint-Sériès - midway between Nimes and Montpellier
Colour/Style Dry red - full bodied, aged in used oak barrels
Grapes 100% old-vine Carignan
Alcohol (a.b.v)
14.0%
Food Roasted or grilled red meats, game, mushroom risotto
Next day
Even better
Drink Over the next 10-15 years
I don't know what the magic formula is for making great wines in different vintages, but Robert Creus seems to have found it. Which is a testament to the hands-off approach he adopts - namely, if you let them do their stuff, great grapes make great wines. And this is yet another example. There is an initial whiff of reduction, which evolves quickly into a meaty, savoury nose, with simply masses of bramble fruit, burning incense and a really quite intoxicating array of herbs and curry spices. The flavours are intense yet imbued with an elegance and fleetness of foot that only really old (in this case 100 year-old) Carignan vines are capable of offering. Wave upon wave of tangy, gently pickled red and black fruits coat the palate, so much so that you almost don't notice the healthy layer of tannin, especially since it also possesses that wonderful, ever so slightly volatile acidity seemingly inherent in Robert's wines (completely natural, don't forget). It really is quite beguiling and utterly delicious. Actually I am surprised that it shows so well at such a young age, since the last vintage we sold was the glorious 2006 - a full 5 years older. Which just goes to show that great wine will be great at any stage in its development. Simply superb. Biodynamic.
 

Price:  £22.99 (Including: VAT at 20%)

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Terre Inconnue Leonie 2012 Vin de France
Terre Inconnue Leonie 2012
Vintage
2012

Region Saint-Sériès - midway between Nimes and Montpellier
Colour/Style Dry red - full bodied, aged in used oak barrels
Grapes 100% old-vine Carignan
Alcohol (a.b.v)
13.5%
Food Roasted or grilled red meats, game, mushroom risotto
Next day
Even better, for 2 or 3 days
Drink Over the next 10-15 years
Initially, the nose is rather subtle, but once it has been exposed to air, it reveals myriad aromas of fresh red fruits, spice, incense and forest floor, with subtle hints of pain au raisin and pot-pourri - complex and expressive, with just a gentle whiff of fine old oak. The palate is equally complex, with spiced red and black fruit flavours mingled with licorice, all-spice and bitter chocolate, plenty of tannic grip and a backbone of juicy, soft citrus acidity, all of which carries through to an exceptionally long, dry finish. This is an utterly brilliant, classic, old-school Languedoc Carignan - indeed ,up there with the very best. Of course, it needs food at the moment (but then what great red wine doesn't?) but it has the structure to age and evolve for at least another 10 years, and probably more. You can keep your over-priced, under-ripe, tannic, charmless Clarets and your soupy Chateauneufs - if I want a spicy, herby, rich, sweet-sour red wine, with robust tannins, juicy acidity, ripe, tangy fruit and complexity by the bucket-load, then this is the sort of wine I want! Biodynamic.
 

Price:  £22.99 (Including: VAT at 20%)

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Terre Inconnue Los Abuelos 2011 Vin de France
Terre Inconnue Los Abuelos 2011
Vintage
2011

Region Saint-Sériès - midway between Nimes and Montpellier
Colour/Style Dry red - full bodied, aged in used oak barrels
Grapes 100% Grenache (100 year-old vines)
Alcohol (a.b.v)
15.0%
Food Feathered game, fillet steak, seared tuna, soft cheeses
Next day
Even better
Drink Over the next 10+ years
Every Terre Inconnue wine I open leaves me searching for fresh superlatives to describe just how good they are - and this is another remarkable effort. It's Grenache Jim (from 100 year old vines) but not as we know it! Undeniably rich and full of plum and raspberry fruit, but with a style and sheer elegance rarely, if ever, found in Grenache's Rhône 'heartland'. Although somewhat less Burgundian in style than its predecessor vintage, it still manages to be ethereal and fleet of foot, with a wonderful potpourri of fruit and tertiary aromas and flavours. Notes of menthol, tobacco, polished leather and cassis/blackcurrant leaf emerge with time in the glass, with the tannins kept in check by brilliantly piercing orangey/lemony acidity. The savoury/spicy elements combine seamlessly with elegant redcurrant and cherry flavours, leading to a long, dry, peppery finish. A fantastic wine. Biodynamic.
 

Price:  £31.99 (Including: VAT at 20%)

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Terre Inconnue Los Abuelos 2012 Vin de France
Terre Inconnue Los Abuelos 2012
Vintage
2012

Region Saint-Sériès - midway between Nimes and Montpellier
Colour/Style Dry red - full bodied, aged in used oak barrels
Grapes 100% Grenache (100 year-old vines)
Alcohol (a.b.v)
15.0% (I don't believe it!)
Food Game, red meats, seared tuna, tomato-ey pasta dishes
Next day
Even better
Drink Over the next 10+ years
Once again, it's Grenache Jim (from 100 year-old vines), but not as we know it! And once again, it is crammed full of plum and raspberry fruit, but with perhaps even more elegance and fleetness of foot than its predecessor. This 2012 offers a gloriously complex and intoxicating mix of red and black fruit aromas, with notes of old, polished leather, exotic spices, damp earth and fine eau de vie.  The reason I question the advertised 15% abv is that there is no suggestion of heat or alcohol (other than the wonderful eau de vie note) on the nose - and even less so on the palate. There's a rush of tangy, white pepper-infused sweet-sour red cherry and bramble fruit, but the feel is light and almost ethereal. Yes, there's a healthy lick of gently rustic, tea-like tannin, but there is also a wonderfully mouth-watering and refreshing core of acidity - something that may shock lovers of the slightly soupy, rich southern Rhône style of Grenache, but should appeal greatly to lovers of Burgundy or (dare I say it) Claret. For now, it demands food, and - as luck would have it - we paired it with a Spaghetti Bolognese, and it was the perfect foil for the rich beef and herb flavours and the tangy tomato. That said, it is extremely verstile and would pair equally well with feathered game, red meats, or even a piece of rare-fried tuna. A delicious - and completely different - expression of Grenache, from one of Languedoc's greatest winemakers. Biodynamic.
 

Price:  £31.99 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Terre Inconnue Sylvie 2011 Vin de France
Terre Inconnue Sylvie 2011
Vintage
2011

Region Saint-Sériès - midway between Nimes and Montpellier
Colour/Style Dry red - full bodied, aged in used oak barrels
Grapes 50% Syrah and 50% Sérine
Alcohol (a.b.v)
14.0%
Food Roasted or grilled red meats, game, hard cheeses
Next day
Still really good
Drink Over the next 10-15 years
Sérine is (depending on where you look or who you read) either a particular clone of Syrah or - more likely - the original Syrah, from which other clones were developed. Either way, it seems that many of the Northern Rhône's greatest red wines are based on the Sérine variety and, having become almost extinct in the second half of the 20th century, it's cuttings are now highly-prized by the best growers. And whilst it may still be a relatively rarity in the Rhône, it is even more so in Languedoc, especially old vines like those of Terre Inconnue. Yields for this wine are miniscule, at an average of just 10 hl/ha, and it shows. The colour is deep and concentrated - as is the nose, which at the same time exudes freshness, with notes of violets and cherries, bramble and leather, infused with garrigue herbs and exotic spices, a fleeting hint of coffee grounds and a refreshing streak of volatile acidity. The palate grabs you from the off, with fine, grippy tannins and bright, fresh, mouth-watering acidity, combining seamlessly with dense, ripe red and black fruit flavours. With time in the glass, it develops notes of fresh bread, mint and oregano on the nose, with more in the way of red fruit flavours such as cranberry and redcurrant. It is still relatively young, but supremely balanced and already deliciously drinkable, with a persistent finish. You can drink it now, or age it for another 10-plus years. Either way, it is a fine, complex and compelling wine. Biodynamic.
 

Price:  £35.50 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


Terre Inconnue Sylvie 2012 Vin de France
Terre Inconnue Sylvie 2012
Vintage
2012

Region Saint-Sériès - midway between Nimes and Montpellier
Colour/Style Dry red - full bodied, aged in used oak barrels
Grapes 50% Syrah and 50% Sérine
Alcohol (a.b.v)
14.0%
Food Roasted or grilled red meats, game, hard cheeses
Next day
Still really good
Drink Over the next 10-15 years
Sérine is (depending on where you look or who you read) either a particular clone of Syrah or - more likely - the original Syrah, from which other clones were developed. Either way, it seems that many of the Northern Rhône's greatest red wines are based on the Sérine variety and, having become almost extinct in the second half of the 20th century, it's cuttings are now highly-prized by the best growers. And whilst it may still be a relatively rarity in the Rhône, it is even more so in Languedoc, especially old vines like those of Terre Inconnue. Yields for this wine are miniscule, at an average of just 10 hl/ha, and it shows. The colour is a semi-opaque black cherry clour. The nose, whilst initially quite muted, opens-out quickly, to reveal complex aromas of blueberry and bramble, freshly-baked bread, meat/leather and fine eau de vie. It's wonderfully spicy and herby, too, with notes of allspice, fennel and cardamom. The palate is tightly-knit, with a cloak of firm but fine tannins wrapped around a core of ripe bramble, blackcurrant and black cherry fruit, with a touch of pepper and spice and a bite of cherry kernel acidity. The finish is long, spicy and tangy, with a cool mintiness at the very end. Don't expect a Northern Rhône-alike with this wine - it is very much a warm climate Syrah/Sérine, with a medium-rich texture, black fruits rather than red, big tannins and a distinctly herby (rather than mineral) quality. At the time of writing (May 2016) it has only just been bottled, so is very much in its primary phase of evolution - a real "velvet fist in an iron glove", if you see what I mean! But there is no doubting that this is a wine of immense structure, which will soften over the next year or two and evolve slowly towards it peak in around 10 years. One for the connoisseur. Biodynamic.
 

Price:  £35.50 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


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Minimum order value, delivery charges, times and restrictions
We deliver only to UK and Northern Ireland addresses. The minimum order value is £75 (plus the delivery charge). You may of course choose a mix of any wines in our range. Orders between £75 and £200: delivery charge is £7.50. Orders over £200: delivery is free! (If your order is over £200, please remember to change the delivery charge in checkout to £0.00). Please note: Delivery to non-mainland addresses (Scottish Highlands and Islands, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man, Isle of Wight, etc.) is usually possible, but may not be on a next-working-day basis. It is also more expensive than delivery to mainland addresses, so will be charged at cost (for orders under £200) but with a small discount for orders over £200 - please call us for a quote.

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It is an offence to purchase or attempt to purchase alcohol if you are under the age of 18. (Section 149 Licensing Act 2003).We reserve the right to seek proof of age. Leon Stolarski says "drink less, but drink better!" Please consume alcohol in moderation.