The South of France is a massive carpet of vineyards making a vast array of styles of wines. This week I have four beautiful and superb value wines to recreate the atmosphere of the French Riviera in your home.
2010 Cuvée de Richard, Comté Tolosan, France (£4.79, Majestic). Made from local varieties ugni blanc and colombard with some sauvignon blanc added for zip, this is the best value cheapie around and it really does reward the senses. Tidy looking and bursting with verdant notes this is an early contender for summer glugger of the year.
2008 Open Now, Minervois, France (£7.99, Adnams tel. 020 8940 8684). This mighty little red with its original artwork label and secret message on the cork is a spell-binding brew. Made from robust syrah and feisty mourvèdre and loading punnets of hedgerow berry flavours into the glass this is a dead cert for al fresco dining with your most stylish friends. All you have to do is obey the order on the bottle.
2010 l’Ancien Comté, Grenache Blanc, Mont Tauch, France (£7.95, Jeroboams tel. 020 7288 8850). Grenache Blanc is a desperately underrated white grape and in this lusty, oaked interpretation it is on mesmerising form. Tasting more like a heady white Burgundy with added aromatic splendour this is a fabulous, rich white which will amaze you with its charms.
2010 Elegant Frog, Viognier, Languedoc, France (£7.99, Sainsbury’s). Another winner from the dapper amphibian, this perfumed, peachy viognier is an alluring white with a sleek palate and crisp finish. Give is some grilled fish or chicken to contend with and you will see it entrance your pals with its haunting aroma and curvaceous body.
Dow’s Midnight Port, Portugal (£9.99, Waitrose; £9.39, Morrison’s). I have chosen this surprise wine to complement the diverse chocolate recipes this week. Slightly riper than many Ports, Midnight is silky smooth, luxurious and sumptuous and it can even handle the chilli-tinged mousse if you chill it down a few degrees!