Languedoc - Sud France
From the Bottle
Price £8.99 (single bottle) £5.99 mix six - Majestic
To the casual observer this is a very unassuming bottle. Without looking at the back label you wouldn't know that this was a Gerard Bertrand wine, and even if you did read that, what exactly would that mean to you? Nothing, more than likely and why should it?
Well readers I am here to tell you that GB is a name you should look for. An abridged version of events, this former rugby star was introduced to wine by his late father. His passion grew as did the size of his estates (he is currently up to 9) and he is a well known ambassador of the Mediterranean lifestyle and Art the Vivre. He is obviously doing something right because in 2012 Gérard Bertrand was named Red Winemaker of the Year by IWC and European Winery of the year by Wine Enthusiast. No small feat.
What I personally like about GB is that he comes across as genuine and unpretentious with a range of wines to suit every budget. This is one of his entry level but don't let that fool you into thinking it's cheap.
Deep purple in colour the nose gives blackcurrant, black cherry jam, sweet spice, chocolate and raspberry ripple ice cream notes with a little eucalyptus, forest floor, earthy backdrop.
On the palate this wine is not a fruit forward as the nose would suggest. Black fruit salad with a lick of leather, fresh acidity and a slight white pepper heat. A sprig of mint on the finish with clay- earth and a tad salty. Medium bodied with crunchy tannins. Might be best to let breath before drinking.
Would be good with cheese and meat.
Rating - A cheaper end of price spectrum would be worth scraping your pennies together.
Saint Chinian Roquebrun - Sud France
From the Bottle
Price £11.99 (single bottle) or £8.99 mix six - Majestic
Southern French wine may not be seen to be as glamourous as Bordeaux or Burgundy but I think they are much more exciting! Wine laws are very strict when it comes to what grapes are allowed, percentage restrictions and ageing etc but in South France the winemakers can get away with being a little bit more experimental and therefore I think ultimately the wines are more expressive and unique.
Deep purple legs with a complex nose of cassis, damson, black forest fruits and a savoury earth and (please stay with me on this one) cold bean salad notes.
This wine is a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre and a perfect example of what the French call 'Terrior' (I'll cover that in another post, but it basically means how a particular region's soil, climate etc affect the taste of the wine) which comes through in the unpretentious and rustic qualities of this wine.
The fuller side of medium bodied with tannins that have softened with age. Black pepper spice and slight smokiness on the palate with black fruits coming through. Short finish but pleasant.
Would pair fantastically with sausage and bean casserole.
Definitely worth scraping your pennies together
Gassin, Côtes de Provence, France
From the bottle
Price £14.99 Available from Majestic (£9.99 when two bottles brought in same offer)
Pale salmon pink in a sexy bottle that has curves to rival a pin up model. With nothing to go on regarding the label, I think Chateau Minuty were looking to produce a wine that spoke for itself, and it does.
A gorgeous nose of strawberries and toffee bonbons, although don't let that put you off by thinking this a sweet wine. Made from a blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Tiboren the palate is dry with a refreshing citrus twang. A good rosé to get white wine drinkers to try.
Buy it now
From the Bottle
Dark red colour with well integrated aromas of ripe fruit. The palate is balanced and well structured. Serve between 14-16c
Price £4.99 (Available from Budgens)
Rioja seems to be one of the new darling wine of the moment. The one people ask for if they want to seem a little bit more 'knowledgeable' about wine and not just order a standard Merlot or Cab Sav. Even my dad has told me that Rioja is his current favourite, a fiftyish year old, 6ft4, Jamican born in Birmingham, not that you need to know that, but it tickles me when I think of him going into a bar and specifically ordering a bottle of Rioja. Anyways, this particular one is a blend of Grenache Noir and Tempranillo grapes, which combine to give a bouquet of lush fruits, slight spice and a hint of vanilla (from the limited time spent in oak). The taste mimics the fruity smell and there is slight acidity that balances well. Supple tannins are observed with a slight heat to the back of the throat.
Rating - Worth scraping your pennies together for