At this time of year it’s quite common to be overwhelmed by the choice of wines on offer. And there’s certainly no shame in being slightly flummoxed when picking some French fancies for the big day. Luckily, in Sud de France you’ll find a region that covers all bases, from great-value party wines to more complex styles for the Christmas dinner table.
It’s incredible that the region is still so underrated. At its heart is the Languedoc-Roussillon, the single biggest wine-producing region in the world, accounting for over a third of France’s total production. Right across Sud de France, the Mediterranean climate encourages a huge range of grape varieties, which not only means there’s plenty to try but that there’s something for everyone. Emerging styles like Picpoul de Pinet and Corbières are fast becoming household names, while some superbly complex Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs are giving their Burgundian neighbours a real run for their money.
The Sud de France Top 100 competition has set out to showcase all these diverse and delicious wines. As huge fans of the region, we stock eight wines from the list, including three trophy-winners. All offer excellence in value, quality and above all, taste!
Paul Mas Estate Marsanne ‘La Forge Vineyard’, PGI Pays d’Oc
This wine packs a punch, but a rather elegant one. Fresh pears and apples lead to warming hazelnut complexity with a touch of honey on the finish. A must-try for fans of oaked Chardonnay, it’s a definite food wine: match with a festive honey-glazed ham.
Croix Saint Adel Blanc, PGI Coteaux du Libron
New to our range, this daring blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Viognier is quite frankly, a delight. Acacia, dried figs and tangy citrus has your palate wondering which grape variety you’re really tasting. Creamy vanilla and soft richness means this would work perfectly with the infamous Christmas turkey.
Laurent Miquel ‘Nord Sud’ Viognier, PGI Pays d’Oc
Viognier has become hugely popular in recent years and this soft, very approachable example does not disappoint. Give it a whirl if you fancy a change from your go-to Sauvignon Blanc. It works as an apéritif but its peaches, pears and subtle nuttiness really come alive with baked salmon.
Paul Mas Estate Carignan ‘Savignac Vineyard’, PGI Pays de l’Hérault
Complex Carignan is usually blended with other red varietals, but here Paul Mas has let it take centre stage. Deep blackberries and damson combine with toasty mocha. The tannins are soft yet tangy. My advice? A hearty venison casserole and a glass of this in front of a roaring fire.
Laurent Miquel L’Artisan, AOC Languedoc
This Christmas cracker is a warm cuddle on a cold winter’s day. Rich, spicy Syrah blends with juicy Grenache and a hint of garrigue herbs typical of the region. If you like hearty Rhône reds you’ll love this. Savour with the cheese board into the wee hours.
La Grange des Combes, AOC St-Chinian-Roquebrun
From the moment you pour this inky wine into your glass you know it means business. Bursting with soft winter berries, cedar, cinnamon, vanilla and clove spices, it would make even the Grinch feel festive. Super-soft tannins mean it’s delicious to sip on its own but it would also work with a rich game dinner.
Sud de France Tasting Weekend
Try before you buy! Our FREE in store South of France tasting weekend is 17-20 January 2014. Find your local store here.