Three French wines to try this autumn
PUBLISHED: 10:52 24 September 2020 | UPDATED: 10:52 24 September 2020
Liz recommends Oz Clark’s brilliant passionate book on English wine and heads to France for a trio of bottles from Vignobles & Signatures group of growers
As I write, grapes are being harvested – under strict Covid-19 safety regimes – all over southern England. And now there’s a fine new book to encourage more wine drinkers to choose the product that will result.
In English Wine (Pavilion) Oz Clarke’s passion for the wines of England (and Wales) is unbounded. He writes as he talks, with the same happily irreverent enthusiasm: “a tiny golden spot of fairy magic”, “they bought the grapes from the local greengrocer”, “[he] is as quintessentially English as she is intriguingly French”, “and it all comes together under a railway arch in Battersea”.
Such tantalising extracts from vineyard descriptions can’t in any way do justice to a book that explains the story of modern English wine as well as visiting crucial producers of it. Buy, read, pour and enjoy.
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For this month’s recommendations, though, it’s back to France, to meet the Vignobles & Signatures group of growers. The 19 family businesses, together producing 12 million bottles a year, span their homeland’s main wine regions and share a commitment to quality.
At their last, pre-coronavirus, London tasting I left wearing the broadest of smiles, and 2020 retastings have confirmed what a joy the wines are to drink.
It’s invidious to select, but these are some recent delights. Coume del Mas Mas Christine Blanc 2018 (£18.75, amathusdrinks.com) from Roussillon blends six southern French varieties to richly layered pleasure,discreetly oaked.
Dominique Piron Fleurie 2019 (£15, fortnumandmason.com) is the epitome of fine, elegant cru beaujolais. Château de Tracy Pouilly Fumé 2019 (£26.50, leaandsandeman.co.uk) is another classic, true sauvignon blanc flavours with long, clean minerality.
Previously, I’ve also particularly liked the wines of Domaine Cauhapé in Jurançon, Couly-Dutheil in Chinon and Jean Durup Père et Fils in Chablis.
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