Tried and Tasted Spring 2021 : Local Lockdown Lovlies
Tony Goodman continues his tour of regional wine producers, chatting to the vignerons and recommending wines that have inspired him. Once again, a bit of poetic licence will allow you to enjoy some fun observations from this talented amateur wine taster.
This spring he discusses local lockdown lovelies that helped him to survive confinement (and will also be perfect for celebrating a return to freedom!)
Maintaining standards is vital in these troubled times. Who knows what this year may bring? We may find ourselves raising a glass with friends under a hot summer sun in a busy Mediterranean beach bar or huddled in a bubble behind a locked and shuttered door.
The wise will be prepared for both with a suitable something always on hand to mark landmark events or a ‘cheer-you-up’ treat. Rather than relying on good luck and a last minute raid on your local cave, which may or may not be open, Covid permitting, stock up your bubble with essential items for special occasions.
Here’s a selection of good value personal favourites that will cover all bases and won’t let you down.
Contact me with comments and queries on email@example.com or on Instagram @antonstjohn
Sweet fortified vin doux wines are increasingly being tuned to Anglo-Saxon palates. Perfect for a fireside discussion or poured over plenty of ice with a dash of tonic when its warm.
Le Trésor de Valmy
Château Valmy, Argelès sur Mer
Chateau Valmy’s premier class vin doux is almost impossible to describe. Gloriously refined, oak aged. Honeyed fruit, caramel and vanilla. The spice island floral aromas are the opening bars of Khachaturian’s Adagio of Spartacus and Phrygia. The perfect special occasion aperitif.
La Perdrix Muscat de Rivesaltes
Domaine de la Perdrix, Trouillas
Rich and inspired. It is supple enough to work well as an aperitif, with a Catalan cheese platter and spicy jambon. Perfect match for a small bowl of chilled summer stone fruit. If so inclined it would be the ideal accompaniment to a contemplative evening on the terrace with a smooth Cuban.
Good quality white wine can be set aside, just ensure your lockdown reserve includes a cool dark corner.
Les Roses Blanches de Valmy
Château Valmy, Argelès sur Mer
Pale Welsh gold colour, nice hint of oak and vanilla. A refreshing reminder of how well oak works with white wines in the hands of a master. Roast chicken or grilled fish. Considering the work involved the price is about right.
Mas Christine Blanc
Mas Christine, Argelès sur Mer
A showcase wine. Peach with a hint of Tahitian lime. An alert crisp wine perfect with a seafood platter, cheese and with enough presence of mind to carry you from the pre-dinner apéro, through the warm goat cheese and roquette salad entrée and well into a main course of free range roast chicken. Serve around 12C.
Domaine Lafage, Perpignan
Plenty of mineral and oyster shell. Citrus, white fruit. Produced from vines well into their tenth decade. Perfect for a festive seafood platter or a shared dozen of local Leucate oysters. Don’t chill it right down.
12,60€ or less if you shop around
Our gong gathering red wines can easily go toe to toe with some of the best. Powered by our sun and increasingly BIO. There are almost too many choose.
Les Orris Cotes du Rousillon 2017 BIO
Domaine Boucabeille, Corneilla la Rivière
Domain Boucabeille wines are worth searching for or booking a cellar visit. Lush ruby red in the glass. Structured and elegant, Rhonda Fleming in glass. Plenty of red fruit. Friendly hints of vanilla and liquorice. A special occasion wine, will always impress. Serve 14C.
Chateau Saint Roch Kerbuccio 2017
Domaine Lafage, Perpignan
Profoundly red, powerfully elegant reflecting the Agly Valley black schist terroir. An impeccably mannered prowling panther of a wine. Perfect for a celebratory Beef Wellington or a well seasoned Cote de Boeuf for two. Gloriously drinkable now its power and structure will allow this to be laid down for five years if you insist. Let the wine breath for 30 minutes or so, serve at 14C.
Le Charakter 2016
Domaine La Perdrix, Trouillas
An enormous red with plenty of Syrah panache. Chocolate, liquorice and light honey highlights. It has power and élan. A superb match for any meat and game with a rich sauce. It would not be out of place on Rules of London’s wine menu. It will bring a hard charging à point Cote de Beouf to heel. Perfectly drinkable now or can be laid down for 5 – 10 years. 24E
Rosé wines are not just light summer time quaffers. Increasingly they are the wine of choice for the top table. While table ready the better examples can be set aside for a limited time under the right conditions.
Château de Corneilla Gris Gris 2017
Château de Corneilla, Corneilla del Vercol
Has the flexibility Tom Daly displays from the 10 metre board. It will open proceedings with a refined splash and will close the evening with soft cheese, local fruit and a podium finish. The Grenache Noir allows it to go toe to toe with a spicy Mexican or a Friday night Jalfrazi. Could be set aside for 12 – 24 months if you wish however it’s delightful now. Chill it down to 10C, chill the glass as well and you are good to go.
Cuvée de Peintres 2018
Abbé Rous, Banyuls sur Mer
An elegantly simple Rosé from nearby Collioure old growth vines. Grenache and Syrah provide a festive strawberry and grapefruit welcome while Mouvedre provides depth and a sense of direction. Perfect for a Friday night Margarita pizza, a Saturday grilled Dorade or a Sunday seafood platter. Chilled 8 – 10 C.
Arnaud de Villeneuve, Rivesaltes
Muscat d’Alexandrie and Muscat Petit Grain so plenty of lovely luscious PO peach and apricot. Slight citrus finish. A well rehearsed performer that will never let you down. An excellent opening stanza with enough structure to match some thinly sliced lightly spiced Iberico Jamon. Serve 6 – 8C