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2 More Examples of Languedoc Consolidating its Record for Great Value

Further evidence that we should dial up our wine price expectations plus two wines that make it worth doing so.

It is always reassuring to see others reaching similar conclusions to your own.

Consequently, I was pleased to see David Williams expressing these views in the Guardian the other day.

Note in particular what he says about needing to revise his “longstanding rules of thumb that I use to guide my wine-buying”.

His first conclusion has a familiar ring given what has been said on this site  – “Accept that £8 is the new £5.99”.

He describes that as “the price below which you’d have to be lucky to find something decent”.

Furthermore he says “ … you know you’d have to exceed [it] if you wanted the really good stuff.”

He also suggests that the £8 to £12 point on the quality ladder four years ago, has now leapt up to £12 to £15.

So, today’s selections pick up on those comments from a wine writer (and bloke) for whom I have considerable time.

They take the customary format of a “Friday Night Treat” and – a rung or so further up the stairway – a “Sunday Best” option.

However, both are from a region that takes value for money very seriously – Languedoc.

Adopting my traditional format, images and, where possible, hyperlinks accompany the assessments of the wines.

First the Friday Night Treat

2021 Belleplane Viognier (£10.95 at Slurp and 13% abv)

Underlining that value for money point, here is an example of Languedoc producers creating affordable versions of wines that cost serious money elsewhere.

That is good news because viognier is a lovely grape serving up wines that are aromatic, indulgent and even exotic.

Perfumed and textured, this example brings us complex peach and rose components.

These are coupled with firm satsuma acidity, savoury liquorice undercurrents (nicely balanced by sweet hints) accompanied by supplementary oak influences on the finish.

And that Sunday Best choice

2020 Domaine Jones, Fitou (£14.50 at The Wine Society and 14.5%):

Interesting to see how the Rhone’s GSM blending formula is often adapted in Languedoc to GSC – by using carignan instead of mourvedre.

That grape provides extra flexibility and is plentiful in Languedoc as its resistance to drought ideally suits the region’s hot and dry conditions.

Here is one such example from the acclaimed Katie Jones – originally from Ashby de la Zouch of course.

This illustration of her winemaking skills is inky in colour but soft in texture and centred on herbal and espresso charged damson and bramble flavours.

Further complexity comes from its olive, cinnamon and dark chocolate touches embellished by gentle acidity and nicely balanced tannin.

Join me again on Monday to see what I am I recommending as the latest Top Tips among High Street retailers.

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14 Responses

  1. Hello Brian,
    Just an example of how prices have shot up.
    2018 Les Hauts de Saint Martin, Saint-Chinian, Languedoc, France
    £7.75, Co-op.
    This was a good wine at great value.It is now £10.25.
    This wine is a mix of SGCM-Syrah,Grenache,Carignan and Mourverde.

    1. Saint Chinian wines often gives just that little bit more and, maybe, the altitude of some of its vineyards helps. That particular one is, as you say, a far from unique example of escalating prices – even with an ethical retailer like the Co-op.

  2. Agree Paul, I really rate that Co-op Saint-Chinian but boy has it shot up in price.

    As far as Brian’s selections, I’m a big fan of winemaker Katie Jones wines and this Fitou is really good, along with all the Domaine Jones, worth the extra spend, for me anyway.

    1. Yes Domaine Jones is invariably one of the “go to” options when looking for Sunday Best wines from Languedoc.

  3. I agree that the Domaine Jones output is first class. You have to admire her persistence after all the difficulties she has had.
    Please don’t bang on about my favourite wine area, the Languedoc. too often Brian – you will only put the prices up even more!

  4. To join the Languedoc love in …
    I recently enjoyed Laurent Miquel’s 2022 take on Albarino, £12.50 at Sainsbury’s but currently available on their 25% offer.
    Also the Tesco 25% offer ends Monday – the Gerard Bertrand ”Picpoul de Pinet 2022 is subject to a double offer so down from £12.50 to an excellent £8.75. Also, to stray out to Portugal, the Symington’s Altano Rewilding Edition Douro 2021 13.5%, is also on double offer, so down from £10.50 to £6.75! I would very happily recommend both these wines.
    So despite rising prices, Brian and fellow MidWeekers can continue to flag up the opportunities!

  5. Looks like Languedoc is getting all the plaudits here today Brian! But you remember I mentioned to you the Domaine Laborie at TWS? It’s a grenache/merlot cuvee and has some detractors online for a certain sweetness but it didn’t put me off at all, nor my wife. It’s a belter and at £6.95 it was a steal in amongst so many more bottles these days that are way more expensive.

    More than that the exceptionally savvy TWS whilst rarely offering the kind of 25% off deal the high street retailers will do so regularly these days, and I can hardly keep up …. we can have one or twenty-one bottles, doesn’t matter, delivered quickly and free to the door that IS a saving in itself!

    So when folk are trying your today recommendation of that Domaine Jones chuck in a Domaine Laborie too. A kind of double-dip advantage in its own way. Just to say as well that the producer LGI down there have a lot more bottles to go at as well at TWS as indicated in the Laborie write-up.

  6. PS …. oh! and why not … it’s my birthday … inspired enough to have just ordered
    Fitou, Domaine Jones 2020 …. Saint-Chinian, Domaine Raynier 2022
    Domaine Laborie, Pays d’Oc …. and the very excellent Baccolo Appassimento Rosso Veneto 2021

  7. For wine buffs who want to know more about the Languedoc-Roussillion area.- probably the most dynamic and certainly the largest wine growing area in France-then I can recommend a recent report on the area by Matthew Stubbs MW who has tasted over 1,000 wines and commented and scored on wines of 90 points or more.
    The 149 page report is well written,thorough and comprehensive .
    It will set you back £20 and is available to download from the Tim Atkin wine writer website.
    By the way the Domaine Jones Fitou had a very good score and was highlighted as outstanding value.Terrific choice,Brian!

  8. As you say, Katie has battled on with unwavering quality despite the sabotage of one vintage and the loss of her husband far too soon. I note your plea – and will turn to SW France next – but any site with “MidWeek Wines” in its title will almost inevitably feature South Africa, Romania, Portugal AND Languedoc quite often in its output.

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