Magazine article The Spectator

Spectator Mini-Baroffer

Magazine article The Spectator

Spectator Mini-Baroffer

Article excerpt

The French wine crisis grinds on. The great and expensive classics continue to sell well, but many in the middle are being swept aside by a tide of better, cheaper wines from all over the world. To some French people this is bewildering; drinking only French wines, and sometimes only wine from their own region, they know that everything made outside the country is mere alcoholic grape juice. (I loved the story of the dinner given by MoutonRothschild at the huge Vinexpo show. As growers savoured the finest vintages, some worth hundreds of pounds a bottle, one Australian said cheerily, 'This is great! Do you guys do this stuff bag-in-box?') Anyhow, the growers who have prospered are those, often in southern France, who have raised their game superbly and can now compete with the finest from the New World in both quality and price. Our friends at Adnams in Southwold have offered these wines from the baking south, and have discounted the lot.

I loved the Cascaille Blanc 2003 from the Domaine Clavel, Coteaux du Languedoc (1) .'Cascaille' is the sound of vineyard stones knocking together. The grapes are grown on lovely, hidden slopes in the Hérault, and the wine is an exotic blend of Rolle, Roussanne and Grenache Blanc. It is fresh, limey, with notes of pineapple and marzipan. …

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