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Baron De Badassiere Picpoul De Pinet 2017 (1x75cl)

Baron de Badassière is from the Picpoul de Pinet region of the Languedoc, near the coast of the south of France. The name of the wine refers to the Badassière vineyard which lies near the small town of Pomérols. In the 18th century, the vineyard belonged to Baron Charles Emmanuel, a colourful character who was rumoured to be the illegitimate son of King Louis XV. The wines are made by New Zealand winemaker Graeme Paul, with consultant Matt Thomson.

The grapes for this wine come from selected vineyards around the Etang de Thau, planted on clay and limestone soils.

2017 was a challenging vintage in the Languedoc. A warm spring promoted good vine growth but this was halted when frosts hit the region in late April. Rain during flowering also reduced fruit set meaning yields were lower than previous vintages. However, the fruit that made it through is of a very high standard producing elegant and characterful wines.

The grapes arrived in the winery in the early morning and were macerated on the skins for a few hours, then pressed by pneumatic press. The must was cold settled and then fermented at controlled temperatures of between 14-18°C for 16 days. No oak was used and the wine was bottled early to retain freshness and delicate aromatics.

Pale lemon in colour with a youthful rim. Crisp apple aromas are complemented by a citrus edge. On the palate, it has attractive weight, with a good balance of ripe, yellow plums and greengages and a fresh lime zest acidity that continue through the finish.

£9.70

Boulevard Napoleon Grenache Gris 2015 (1x75cl)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2018 edition expert review of Languedoc whites (see blue link below).

Boulevard Napoleon Grenache Gris 2015 - August 2018 Decanter review

Named after the street the winery is located on in the village of La Livinière, Minervois, Boulevard Napoléon is the partnership between restaurant owner Trevor Gulliver and winemaker Benjamin Darnault. Seeing the potential in the vineyards located by his holiday home, Trevor started making the wines and then showed them to his other partner, chef Fergus Henderson, who was more than impressed, as were we! Each wine is a classic expression of the varietal grown on the dry, stony slopes of the south of France - yet they retain a vibrancy and definition that marks them out from the crowd.

Fruit is sourced exclusively from a 75 year old single vineyard situated on stony terraces in the high hills of La Livinière, in the Minervois region. Here, soils are predominantly limestone and clay with the age of vines averaging 70 years. The wines show brightness, ripeness, definition and character - elements which can be largely attributed to these older vines. Grenache grapes are picked in two passes, as both the Noir and Gris grapes are grown in the same plot.

Grapes were all harvested by hand into small cases before undergoing a slow and gentle whole bunch pressing in a bag press. After one day resting on its skins, the juice was racked off into one and two year old 225 litre barrels for fermentation. The finished wine was then aged in barrel on its lees for one year without racking. A light filtration occurred just prior to bottling.

One of the best examples of white wines from the Languedoc region. Aromatic, with citrus perfumes, this wine is rich and supple on the palate with distinct notes of smoke and liquorice. The finish is fresh, long and lingering.

£20.45

Chateau De Pibarnon Bandol Blanc 2017 (1x 75cl)

The 2015 vintage was awarded 96 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2016 edition review of Provence (see blue link below). The 2015 vintage has alas now run out, but key component analysis of the two vintages shows them to be very similar - the 2016 has merely yet to be subject to review by Decanter!

Pibarnon Blanc 2015 - Sept 2016 Decanter review

Since purchasing the estate in 1975, Comte Henri de Saint-Victor and family have been producing some of the most seductively aromatic and nobly structured wines in all of Southern France.

This celebrated white - 45% Clairette, 30% Bourboulenc, 25% other - is aged in large oak casks after a long, slow fermentation, giving a wine of considerable body and geat flavour integration.

It is mellow and vinous and develops a wonderful freshness that delights the palate, accentuated with flavours of white flowers (jasmine, lime flowers and hawthorn) and fruits (such as pear and peach). It has a almost savoury-salty finish.

It is additionally suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

£28.70

Domaine La Croix Gratiot Roussanne IGP Pays d`Oc 2017 (1x75cl)

A bright yellow wine with ripe stone fruit aromas, a hint of jasmine on the nose followed by a juicy lemon and pear-scented palate. A dry, medium to full-bodied Roussanne with plenty of apple and stone fruit and a lingering lemon sherbet finish.

£11.25

Domaine Louis Latour Chardonnay Grand Ardeche 2014 (1x 75cl)

Maison Louis Latour is one of the most innovative producers in Burgundy whilst maintaining its traditional image. In 1979, with a view to expanding the business, the valley of the Ardèche river with its clay and limestone-based soils was chosen as the ideal location to produce top-quality Chardonnay wines.

The Grand Ardèche comes from the best vineyards, carefully selected every year when harvesting begins. The grapes are pressed and the must is placed immediately in oak barrels made by the cooperage at Latour, where the wine will age for approximately 10 months, like the great wines of Burgundy.

The Grand Ardeche is made traditionally in oak barrels and undergoes complete malolactic fermentation. The wine is aged for 8 to 10 months in oak barrels (20% new) which are from the Louis Latour cooperage, made of French oak and are medium toasted.

All the flavour and almost all the complexity of a Meursault for a third of the price! Oak-aged for 10 months, the wine has a clear, golden-yellow colour and a powerful, elegant bouquet of vanilla, exotic fruits, honey and subtle spices. Wonderfully rounded and fleshy on the palate, it displays honey and gingerbread flavours that persist in the mouth.

We like this because it's from a Burgundy producer of great fame and does everything that a fine, rich white Burgundy does without the cost. It's wonderfully rich and creamy: a "mock Mersault", if you will.

£13.70

Domaine Louis Latour Chardonnay Grand Ardeche 2016 (1x 75cl)

Maison Louis Latour is one of the most innovative producers in Burgundy whilst maintaining its traditional image. In 1979, with a view to expanding the business, the valley of the Ardèche river with its clay and limestone-based soils was chosen as the ideal location to produce top-quality Chardonnay wines.

The Grand Ardèche comes from the best vineyards, carefully selected every year when harvesting begins. The grapes are pressed and the must is placed immediately in oak barrels made by the cooperage at Latour, where the wine will age for approximately 10 months, like the great wines of Burgundy.

The Grand Ardeche is made traditionally in oak barrels and undergoes complete malolactic fermentation. The wine is aged for 8 to 10 months in oak barrels (20% new) which are from the Louis Latour cooperage, made of French oak and are medium toasted.

All the flavour and almost all the complexity of a Meursault for a third of the price! Oak-aged for 10 months, the colour of this Grand Ardèche 2016 is characterized by a pale golden colour. This wine offers lovely notes of brioche, almond, fresh apricot and vanilla. The ample mouth reminds aromas of almond paste and vanilla. There is a nice finish. 

We like this because it's from a Burgundy producer of great fame and does everything that a fine, rich white Burgundy does without the cost. It's wonderfully rich and creamy: a "mock Mersault", if you will.

£13.70

Domaine Pierre Cros Minervois Blanc Les Costes 2016 (1x75cl)

The  2016 vintage was awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2018 edition expert review of Languedoc whites (see blue link below).

Domaine Pierre Cros Minervois Blanc Les Costes 2016 - August 2018 Decanter review

Situated in Badens, a few kilometres from Carcassonne, the vineyards of Domaine Cros sit on the poorest of poor shallow stony soils that are so stark and inhospitable in certain places that only the vine and the olive tree can scratch an existence. The love of this arid terroir, where the drought seems more extreme than elsewhere, has induced Pierre Cros to preserve several ancient parcels of Aramon (planted in 1930), Piquepoul Noir (1910), Alicante (1927) and Carignan (1910) alongside the more classic “noble” (parvenu) varieties of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre.

The Minervois tradition provides superb value for money.  This Minervois Blanc is lovely – a field blend of Grenache Blanc, Vermentino, Muscat à Petit Grains and Piquepoul Blanc. Typically floral and resinous at the same time this white conjures dried apricots and plums sprinkled with garrigue notes of fennel and broom.

£12.05

Grange Des Rocs Picpoul de Pinet 2017 (1x75cl)

Picpoul is an ancient white-wine grape variety of the traditional and prolific Languedoc-Roussillon wine region in southern France. The name Pique-poul translates literally as "stings the lip", and is a reference to the grape's mouthwateringly high acidity.

The Grange des Rocs range is produced from vineyards located along the Mediterranean coast of southern France. Low yields and a ruthless approach to quality control means that behind the label lie some of the best value wines in the Languedoc. They use a cultivation method know as lutte raisonee which means that while they follow many of the principles followed by organic growers they do not wish to be bound by all the restrictions that this can bring.

The grapes for this wine are harvested by hand. Fermentation takes place over 12 - 15 days using a temperature controlled environment in stainless steel vats using carefully selected yeasts. It is then left on its fine lees for 8 months before filtration and fining take place prior to bottling.  While sulphur is used during the bottling process it is not used during the winemaking process.

This wine has a light delicate fragrance with floral and fruit aromas as well as a hint of minerality. It is a dry wine which has light and subtle flavours and is best served with seafood and fish or is perfect as an aperitif.

This wine is suitable for both vegetarians and vegans as it was fined using bentonite.

£9.35

La Croix Gratiot Picpoul De Pinet 2016 (1x75cl)

Owned by brothers Yves and Hugues Ricome for over 30 years, Domaine La Croix Gratiot covers 27 hectares in Montagnac in the Coteaux du Languedoc. After years of selling to the local co-operative, Yves started bottling his own wine in 2005. His daughter Anaïs has now taken charge, after working for some time in New Zealand with Matt Thomson, and makes wonderfully pure wines that reflect the potential of the local varieties with which she works.

The Picpoul grapes grow close to the commune of Mèze on a chalky plateau. The proximity of the zone to the sea means cool maritime breezes moderate the climate, making it ideal for growing this white grape variety. Its naturally high acidity is retained to give a wine of real interest and liveliness.

2016 was a late ripening vintage, marked by significant drought; a lack of rain in both winter and summer was confounded by severe evaporation caused by hot, windy conditions with practically no precipitation from mid-June onwards. The few days of rain in September relieved the vines of severe water stress, which was essential for making great wines.

The grapes were harvested at night to ensure the grapes were cool when arriving at the winery. This meant that the delicate fruit character was kept fresh before pressing and the aromatic style of the wine was guaranteed. The wine was fermented and stored in stainless steel which ensured no oxidation of the precious stone fruit character. A cool fermentation (around 15°C) also helped preserve the fruit purity. The wine rested in the winery for three months before release.

Bright yellow in colour with vibrant citrus, pear and spice notes on the nose. The palate is full but extremely well balanced, with fresh Picpoul acidity and pure fruit flavours. The finish is long and mouthwatering, with complexity of stone fruit, spice and minerality.

£10.95

Leduc Viognier Igp Pays Doc 2017 (1x75cl)

After harvesting the grapes undergo an short skin maceration. After a gentle pressing and meticulous off-settling, the juice is collected and fermented. Ageing takes place in stainless steel tanks.

The Leduc Viognier has a vibrant, luminous colour with green hues. On the nose, peach, apricot and almond aromas prevail with a refreshing yet fruity palate with a smooth and round finish.

Excellent with spicy foods, grilled chicken or fish. A great match with sushi and sashimi.

This wine is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

£9.00

Mas de Daumas Gassac Blanc 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2018 edition's "Steven Spurrier's Fine Wine World" (under £20); (see blue link below).

Mas de Daumas Gassac Blanc 2016 - March 2018 Decanter review

The cellars at Mas de Daumas Gassac were formed in the foundations of a Gallo-Roman mill; they now house 400 Merrain oak Bordeaux and Burgundy barrels; one in seven is replaced each year. There are two cold water springs under the cellar’s floor, nature’s own air conditioning system, which slows the alcohol fermentation down to between 8 – 10 days. This slow process means the complex savours have time to develop, something that doesn’t happen with modern high-tech fermentation. As they say at the winery: "Wisdom needs time to develop, so do a wealth of flavours!" 

Chemical fertilisers and synthetic matter have no place at Daumas Gassac. They only use compost based on manure produced by ewes from the Larzac.

The Mas de Daumas Gassac Blanc is pale straw in colour with scents of tropical fruits and toasted nuts. Fresh and floral on the palate, the texture is firm and waxy with flavours of green apples and tropical fruits. The finish lingers with firm acidity. This wine is a tremendously versatile wine to pair with food.  Some suggestions we have are asparagus, red peppers à la Languedocienne, fresh salmon in pastry on a bed of wild fennel, grilled swordfish steaks and roast pork with ginger and pears caramelised in vinegar.

To see the winemaker's notes on this wine, please click on the blue link below.

Mas de Daumas Gassac Blanc 2017 - fiche technique

£32.60

Mas La Chevaliere Viognier De La Chevaliere 2017 (1x75cl)

Mas La Chevalière was established near Béziers in 1995 by Michel Laroche, after ten years of searching for the right vineyards. The 40 hectares comprise high altitude, cooler sites for whites and hillside terraces for reds. The wines are classified Indication Géographique Protégée because irrigation is used to avoid heat stress (and hard, bitter characters in the wines) in the southerly, sunny climate. The conversion to screwcap for the majority of wines took place at the same time as in Chablis.

Winemaker Géraud Blanc supplements the estate fruit with grapes from 50 growers with whom he has long-term purchasing partnerships. Grapes for this Viognier were grown at higher altitudes in Minervois, Béziers, Agde, Bédarieux, Montpellier, Nîmes and Cévennes, which give fresh, varietal aromas and elegance to the wine. They were harvested in mid-September during the cooler, early hours of the morning.

The Viognier grapes were whole bunch pressed then left to settle for 24 hours before beginning their fermentation, for 12 days at 15°C, in stainless steel vats. No oak was used and there was no malolactic fermentation in order to preserve the natural acidity and crispness. After six months in stainless steel there was a light filtration only in order to preserve the natural fruit character and body of the final wine.

Light gold in colour with fragrant aromas of orange blossom and spice touches. Delicate apricot and white stone fruit character on the palate with a lingering aromatic and fresh finish.

£11.00

Terrasses De La Mar Picpoul De Pinet 2017 (1x 75cl)

One of the oldest Languedoc grapes, the Piquepoul has been growing near the Thau Lagoon for centuries. White is the most common, though both blush and black grapes are to be found. As early as 1618, the botanist J.B. Maniol cited Piquepoul as one of the best known Languedoc grapes in his work "Sylve plantarium". It grows in a dry climate, so the end-of-season humidity helps grapes fill out and finish ripening. The grapes grow in loose bunches, are oval shaped and come off easily. That is why, in the olden days, trays were often placed beneath the vines to catch falling grapes!

Terrasses del la Mer is made in the L'Etang de Thau area of the Languedoc. 

2016 was a late ripening vintage, marked by significant drought; a lack of rain in both winter and summer was confounded by severe evaporation caused by hot, windy conditions with practically no precipitation from mid-June onwards. The few days of rain in September relieved the vines of severe water stress, which was essential for making great wines.

It is a crisp, dry and refreshing wine. It is bone dry and refreshing with flavours of lemons, apples and a mere hint of almonds as well as other citrus and sweet green pepper. This is an easy drinking wine which goes well with shellfish, seafood and pasta dishes as well as soft and creamy goat's cheese.

£10.50

Vignoble Du Sud Foncalieu Sauvignon Blanc Vin de Pays dOc 2017 (1x 75cl)

A good example of Sauvignon Blanc from the South of France. Classic flavours of refreshing citrus fruits and gooseberries balanced with a delightful acidity make this ideal with light food.

£7.25
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