WITH the latest vintages of 2009 and 2010 being generally held in very high regard all over France, new regions emerging on the mainstream radar and regions coming back into fashion, there has never been a better time to explore (or perhaps re-explore) the fine offerings from our Gallic cousins across the channel.
We pick out our favourite four wines of the moment – santé!
Domaine des Felines Picpoul de Pinet 2010 £8.06 Waitrose
Although better suited to balmy evenings and served alongside a platter of oysters, picpoul de pinet is a wonderful wine that is guaranteed to light up any palate at any time of year.
Literally translated as ‘lip stinger’ in the local dialect, this stunning refreshing white is full of bright apple fruit, punchy acidity and a stunning almost saline-like texture that makes it the perfect companion to all seafood.
Vin de Pays de l’Ardeche Gamay 2011 £4.79 M&S
Yes, it most definitely is still possible to get a decent wine for under a fiver, but you’ve got to search hard for it.
This utterly juicy and gluggable Gamay is grown just south of the Rhone Valley, in the Ardeche area. Gamay of course is responsible for producing all the red wines of Beaujolais, but it does work wonders here also. Definitely one to chill down so the sappy redcurrant and cherry flavours stay as fresh as possible.
Chateau Richemont White 2010 £11.99 M&S
The region of Bordeaux needs no introduction... for its reds that is, but its dry whites often get overlooked.
Made from predominantly sauvignon blanc and semillon, these wines can offer the zingy fruit flavours and racy acidity that is searched for with New Zealand whites.
This 100 per cent sauvignon definitely leans towards that end of the spectrum showing masses of character, not to mention ripe citrus fruit flavours, a lean minerality and a richly layered and long finish.
Great with south-east Asian dishes such as thai curries or Vietnamese pho.
Chateau Soucherie Anjou 2010 £9.49 Tesco
Another crunchy red is this Anjou hailing from the Loire Valley.
Although perhaps better known for its whites such as Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume, the region’s reds are more than worth a punt if you haven’t tried them before.
Home to two red varieties – pinot noir and cabernet franc, with the latter being responsible for producing this strawberry, aniseed and slightly green-pepper flavoured wine.