Episode 26 – 23rd September 2020
My two (three) wines this week are from the South of France and they celebrate the majesty of what can be achieved by blending the beautiful grapes from this part of the world with consummate skill. These are some of the finest value wines on earth.
2019 Côtes-du-Rhône Blanc, Vidal-Fleury, France (£12.99, reduced to £9.99 in a Mix Six, www.majestic.co.uk).
Sneaking in under the tenner-mark, this beautiful Viognier-based wine (88%) is augmented with Grenache Blanc and Clairette and these two more angular grapes help to calm the exuberance and lustiness of the Viognier while adding a welcome degree of tension and poise. This is a clumsy-looking bottle and it is unlikely to jump off the shelf into your basket unless it is given some help and that’s why I am here. Thank goodness the contents are sublime! As the days get a little cooler and our home-cooking finds its footholds in discreet earthiness and moments of mouth-watering rusticity, as we start to serve up wonderful autumnal recipes, this is the perfect wine to embrace as it covers all of the flavour-bases you desire at this time of year.
2018 Château La Négly, La Côte, La Clape, Languedoc, France (£13.48, www.laywheeler.com).
I have a sibling act for you here, and I am leading with the red to balance the Vidal-Fleury, and not because it is in any way a superior wine. I love these two bottles equally as they are perfect (and affordable) expressions of the famous La Clape terroir. La Côte is made from Carignan, Mourvèdre, Syrah and Grenache and it is stunningly earthy, wild and elemental. There is a lovely briary depth here and even though it is a relatively young wine the tannins are fine and balanced and you can crack on now. This is another wine which adores autumnal cuisine so get out your favourite cookbooks and reward Négly with some top-flight fare. In addition to the red wine, 2019 Château La Négly, La Brise Marine, La Clape, Languedoc, France (£13.48, www.laywheeler.com) is a beauty, made from Bourboulenc, Clairette and Roussanne. I drank this in Lorne Restaurant (www.lornerestaurant.co.uk) the other day and it was epic with elite cooking. I marvelled at just how pretty Bourboulenc can be when it is given a leading role in a wine (this rarely happens) and the seaspray and citrus oil notes are heavenly in this creation. Once again, the value here is exceptional.