All six wines this week come from the Languedoc, courtesy of Jason Yapp, that canny wine hound who understands the twists and turns of France’s largest vineyard area better than anyone I know. And so happy is he with our selection that he’s lopped a quid off every bottle.
The Domaine Collin Crémant de Limoux Cuvée Rosé Brut NV (1) is a stunningly fine pink fizz from just south of Carcassonne where they were making sparkling wines almost 140 years before they worked out how to do it in Champagne. A bottle-fermented blend of Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Pinot Noir, it’s full of lush, ripe raspberries and wild strawberries but with only 6g of residual sugar per litre (Brut champagne usually starts at nine). It’s gratifyingly dry on the finish and the bottle looks great, too. £12.95 down from £13.95.
Picpoul de Pinet is all the rage and the 2016 Domaine Gaujal (2) is as good as any I’ve had. Picpoul is the grape (known locally as ‘lip stinger’) and Pinet the place, and it’s the sort of wine the French term vif, meaning bright or lively; it certainly has plenty of zest. Laurent Gaujal is an 11th-generation vigneron and his estate (founded in 1744) is but a cork’s pop from the Bassin de Thau, France’s biggest oyster bed. This zesty wine’s raison d’être is surely to partner such molluscs. £10.50 down from £11.50.
The 2015 Domaine Camp Galhan ‘Amanlie’ (3) is from the tiny appellation of Duché d’Uzès, based around the delightful medieval town of Uzès, with its celebrated market (it’s also where Jason’s old man Robin Yapp has headed in his retirement). Made by Lionel Pourquier, known locally as a grower of fine asparagus, this is a soft, supple, creamy blend of Viognier, Grenache Blanc and Roussanne. I’m a sucker for wines like this, full of local character and unlike anything you’ll find anywhere else. They’re also made in too small quantities ever to end up in Tesco. £11.25 down from £12.25.
The 2016 Château Roubaud ‘Le Plaisir de Roubaud’ Rosé (4) is a cracker, right from the chirpy Art Deco label to the scrummy dry pinkers inside. Made by Guillaume Molinier (a 5th generation vigneron) on the edge of the Camargue Delta in the Costières de Nîmes — home to wine-making since Roman times — it’s a ripe and juicy blend of Grenache and Syrah, full of succulent red berry fruit. I’d say it was almost impossible not to like, so full is it of simple French joie de vivre. £11.50 down from £12.50.
The 2015 Domaine Le Cazal ‘Tradition’ (5) is an old standby of mine, ever since Jason introduced me to it a year or so back. You need to tread carefully in Minervois, where the wines are divided between what comes out of petrol pumps and the stuff that’s overworked and done up to the nines by pernickety oenologues. This is just spot-on and took a while for Jason to track down. A traditional blend of Syrah, Grenache Noir and Carignan, it’s full of black cherry flavours and has a deep-down intensity and spicy, leathery concentration. £10.25 down from £11.25.
Finally, we have the 2015 Domaine Girard (6) from the little-known AC of Malepère on the western fringes of the Languedoc. This is where the Atlantic influence meets that of the Mediterranean, resulting in both the climate and grapes being a mix of both. Although Malbec, Grenache and Cinsault are permitted here, this is a classic Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot — it’s soft and mellow with fine-grained tannins and a long, mulberry-rich finish. I can attest to the fact that this is what Monsieur Yapp drinks at home. £10.95 down from £11.95.
The mixed case has two bottles of each wine and delivery, as ever, is free.