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Wine: Neil Courtier - New outlook brings great wines

Food and drink
Food and drink

Vin de France (formerly Vin de Table) is, in theory, the most basic level of quality for wines from France.

A typical wine in this category tends to be uncomplicated and for everyday drinking, usually a blend, but also varietal-based. However, a new outlook and energy has emerged, bringing to the table the most exciting wines from this humble classification ever produced. Cross regional blending provides wine-makers with an opportunity to be experimental and as the wines do not meet the criteria laid down by Appellation Contrôllée, the label has to stipulate – Vin de France. Vineyards that are just outside a delimited production area may also fall into this box.

The savvy wine buyer, who’s willing to take a dip into Vin de France, is likely to be pleasantly surprised at the quality and often staggering value for money. Sante!

Vin de France to try:

Cuveé Pêcheur – Wine Makers Selection – Ugni Blanc & Colombard 2014 – £4.99 Waitrose – Aromatic, citrus-toned, with vibrant, tangy acidity, light, fresh and perfect as an aperitif, or with asparagus, salads and light fish dishes.

Duo des Mers – Sauvignon, Viognier 2014 – £6.25 The Wine Society – Sauvignon from Gascony, meets Viognier from the Languedoc and what a great blend this is. An open, scented lime and peachy bouquet, the palate has texture and a refreshing quality too. Try with prawns.

Bouchard – Grand Conseiller – Chardonnay 2013 – £5.99 Tesco – Light gold with a tint of green. Acacia, with citrus fruits and a trace of vanilla - well balanced, bready notes, butter, lemon, youthful acidity and a pretty good finish.

Montgravet – Cinsault –Rosé 2014 – £5.99 Waitrose – A soft ‘Provence rosé-like’ appearance. Red-fruits and citrus on the nose. This is a pretty serious rosé, showing strawberry flavours and a juicy mouthfeel and very good length. Enjoy with garlicky seafood, or gazpacho.

Cellier des Dauphins – Reserve Des Vignerons – Merlot, Grenache 2014 – £5.79 Waitrose – Extremely approachable, exhibiting damson plum, strawberry and a trace of pepper on the nose. Medium-bodied, juicy and very agreeable. Match-up to Coq au Vin, or pork sausages.

Jacques Dépagneux – Pinot Noir 2011 – £5.95 The Wine Society – A deepish colour (for Pinot Noir) and very generous on the nose. A smashing wine – cherry, some dark fruits too, rounded and plush to taste, with instant accessibility along with some structure too.


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