White flowers and white peach flavours make a wonderful match with white meats and fish. This is floral and fresh, with a bright persistence that lingers on your palate. A true classic from a family-run producer.
Ten generations of family expertise a packed into this delicious, fruity Sancerre. It has all the tang and vibrancy of Sancerre, with a lime and yellow plum fruit. Goat’s Cheese, fish and even lightly spiced chicken dishes are great matches.
In Louis Jadot cellars is a barrel of The Wine Show’s wine. This is their classic though, a raspberry and cherry-scented Pinot Noir. Soft, supple and fresh, perfectly ever-so-lightly chilled (even as a red) and incredibly versatile.
The mark of great Champagne is the ‘mouth-filling perfume’ that lingers on your palate. You’ll find it here, with a sleek, elegant freshness followed by a long and floral complexity. A perfect wine for lovers of lift, grace and harmony.
The wine that caused a revolution. Not only because of the sweep of berries, cherry and currants. Or the freshness and precision that marks the palate. But also the elegant, historic presentation and vibrant salmon-pink colour. It’s lovely with pink food. Think salmon and prawn.
Along with the partner red, this was a huge surprise when it arrived, fresh from an Island off the coast near Cannes. The monks make the most of a particularly good soil and cool, fresh coastal breezes to keep the freshness in the grapes. They also cleverly lift the peachy aromas of Chardonnay with the zest of Clairette, a local grape more suited to the warm climate.
Against a backdrop of established producers, Olivier Horiot only began making Champagne in 2004 (still wines in 2000). This quirky, fruity blend is has the classic tio of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, as well as Arbanne and Pinot Blanc. It’s fragrant and brisk and deliciously different too.
There’s a reason sommeliers love Chenin from the classic appellations of the Loire. It’s in the tension and fruit purity. There’s a smokiness (notionally from “Les Choisilles” – black flint) too, and it all combines into a fabulous food matching style. It’s a great foil to the sort of complex, poised, thoughful food you find in the finest restaurants.
“The wine lover’s Chateau D’Esclans”. This is the most serious wine from this winery. Made like a pink Puligny Montrachet, it has more complexity, a seam of integrated oakiness and firmer, food-loving acidity. This is the wine to have with richer meat dishes, slightly richer and more acidic sauces. It’s a pity that it lives in the shadow of its flashy siblings. I’ve always loved this.
Apparently the most expensive rose in the world. So why is it so popular? I refer you to the first sentence and vast numbers of very rich people with yachts who stay in St Tropez. This is genuinely very good. Complex, herbal, intricately textured and with serious, dry fruit. It’s gorgeous with sea bream plainly grilled. But it’s mostly famous for being, well famous. Not unlike some of its biggest fans.
Rock Angel is the drier, more restrained, more herbal sibling of Chateau D’Esclan’s pool-party Whispering Angel. It’s no wall-flower (it was launched at a party in LA with Rod Stewart) but perhaps more of a foodie style. Avoid anything with too much acidity or fat, but perhaps plainly grilled fish or a lightly-dressed salad.
Here you’ll find a refreshing spirit of adventure in Provencal rose making. Owners Lord and Lady Bamford (of JCB digger fame) add a splash of Cabernet Sauvignon to local grapes to inject more fruit, power and polish in their “secret”. It’s a wine for the table, not the beach, with a touch of currant and berry over the herbal, dry strawberry notes. Curious, as the vineyards actually run down to the beach in St Tropez.
Owner Sacha Lichine insists that if you listen while drinking this “you can hear the angels sing”. If you haven’t guessed he’s quite a charmer. Insanely popular, this is the fruity end of the Provencal rose spectrum. Ripe wild strawberries, soft and rounded mouthfeel and a hint of herbs. This is the one for parties on the beach and nights in the Jacuzzi. Or nights at home when you want to pretend.
See if you can dig out the 2010 vintage of this wine. It’s has a palate packed with fruit, so much so that it’s almost jammy, but just veers the right side of overdone. It was a big, lush vintage, and the winemakers have gone to town on new, glossy oak too. It’s no wallflower, but a fleshy, young-drinking claret with bags of fruit. Great for a sunday lunch, just keep a glass to snooze in front of the TV.
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Château Pichon Longueville Baron (or Château Longueville au Baron de Pichon-Longueville) is commonly referred to as Pichon Baron but not the same as Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande. Is that clear? Non? Don’t worry, but leap at the chance to try these opulent, fleshy, sexy wines with oodles of sumptuous fruit. In spite of the name similarity, the Lalande wines are more restrained, reserved and classic. This is why people become obsessed with Bordeaux.
One for when Matthew Rhys pops round for supper (buy two bottles). The dragon on the label is an homage to winemaker Nicola Allison’s Welsh upbringing. Today she makes this full-flavoured, minerally rose with her Kiwi husband Sean on the banks of the Gironde. Lots of fruit to match… well, anything. But my own favourite is a mild lamb tagine.
We don’t know what vintages of Chateau d’Issan were like in the mid 12th century. But they must have been good because Henry Plantagenet and Eleanor of Aquitaine had it at their wedding. But I’ll wager this deep, intense, silky wine is better. The ’11 vintage (famously) put grander names, ten times the price, in its shadow. Floral today with the tannins to last decades. A joy.
Almost the very definition of French, honest and red. Frédéric Dorthe’s wines capture the spirit of where he is with a mix of sun-ripened fruit and sun-dried herbs and even a little feel of the pumice that runs through the soils nearby. This is all about the fruit and keeping as much of it as possible in the bottle for to you crack it open with grilled vegetables, coarse sausages and pork roasted with fennel seeds.
Give this lovely fella a swirl around in the decanter before you serve it. If you don’t have a decanter to hand (we don’t always either) then pour into a jug and back into the bottle. It’ll soften up the firm, bright blackcurrant and plum fruit and give you a more supple texture. The acidity makes this perfect for those south-west French stews, goose and fatty duck dishes.