I’ve been working in the wine trade since I graduated, which without giving away too much is around the 10 year mark! During that time I’ve been lucky enough to travel widely and sample wines from some of the most celebrated vineyards in the world. And yet, just like you, I’m guilty of taking the fact I can buy wine down the road from pretty much any major wine producing region in the world for granted. Even worse than that I’ve enjoyed wine for most of my adult life with little consideration for the efforts that have been taken to produce the stuff. This is one of several reasons why I jumped at the chance of picking grapes at Les Jardins de Saint Benoît, a new holiday resort nestled in the rolling hills of the southern French wine producing region of Corbières.
Best known for its robust reds that can be as moody as the weather there, Corbières is an appellation that produces wine from some of my favourite red grapes – Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Carignan. Typically dense, herbal, aromatic and fruity, wines with the Corbiéres appellation aren’t as commonly found on the wine shelves down the road as I’d like but there are some great wines from the surrounding areas that are easier to come across and are just as good. Le Clos 2008 is produced by Domaine Sainte-Eugénie, which is a hop, skip and a jump away from Les Jardins de Saint Benoit and is a great example of the multi-layered wines that come from the area. The bouquet is jam packed with sweet and savoury spices; cinnamon, nutmeg, some violet, lavender and the sweet smell of a new leather handbag. The palate is smooth and layered with fresh red and black berry fruits, chocolate cake, cocoa and coffee beans. Grab a bottle from Oddbins for £8.49 or £6.79 a bottle when you buy a case of 12.
Miss Bouquet’s Top Tip
I treated Mr Bouquet for his birthday to dinner at The Boundary in Shoreditch and a bottle of 2008 Corbières from Chateau la Bastide. It highlighted another great reason to try wines from the region, the versatility of this style of wine complemented our fish, chicken, pork, charcuterie and cheese dishes! Parfait!
This article has been published in the December 2010 issue of The Notebook Magazine, Kensington & Chelsea.