Magazine article The Spectator

Spectator Wine: Jonathan Ray

Magazine article The Spectator

Spectator Wine: Jonathan Ray

Article excerpt

All six wines this week come from the Languedoc, courtesy of Jason Yapp, that canny wine hound who understands the twists and turns of France's largest vineyard area better than anyone I know. And so happy is he with our selection that he's lopped a quid off every bottle.

The Domaine Collin Crémant de Limoux Cuvée Rosé Brut NV (1) is a stunningly fine pink fizz from just south of Carcassonne where they were making sparkling wines almost 140 years before they worked out how to do it in Champagne. A bottle-fermented blend of Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Pinot Noir, it's full of lush, ripe raspberries and wild strawberries but with only 6g of residual sugar per litre (Brut champagne usually starts at nine). It's gratifyingly dry on the finish and the bottle looks great, too. £12.95 down from £13.95.

Picpoul de Pinet is all the rage and the 2016 Domaine Gaujal (2) is as good as any I've had. Picpoul is the grape (known locally as 'lip stinger') and Pinet the place, and it's the sort of wine the French term vif, meaning bright or lively; it certainly has plenty of zest. Laurent Gaujal is an 11th-generation vigneron and his estate (founded in 1744) is but a cork's pop from the Bassin de Thau, France's biggest oyster bed. This zesty wine's raison d'être is surely to partner such molluscs. £10.50 down from £11.50.

The 2015 Domaine Camp Galhan 'Amanlie' (3) is from the tiny appellation of Duché d'Uzès, based around the delightful medieval town of Uzès, with its celebrated market (it's also where Jason's old man Robin Yapp has headed in his retirement). Made by Lionel Pourquier, known locally as a grower of fine asparagus, this is a soft, supple, creamy blend of Viognier, Grenache Blanc and Roussanne. I'm a sucker for wines like this, full of local character and unlike anything you'll find anywhere else. They're also made in too small quantities ever to end up in Tesco. …

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