Wines of the Month - May 2022
Seasonal wines for May: "...a trio of wines from the Rhône, Languedoc and Beaujolais which pair perfectly with spring vegetables, asparagus and new season lamb."
The City of Oxford's tradition of welcoming May Day whereupon a dawn chorus sings from the tower of Magdalen College chapel used to amuse and delight hordes of revellers gathered below – many of whom had been up all night carousing. Celebrations could continue for much of the day with Morris dancing and general gaiety marking some 500 years of the tradition. And this month's selection matches May's 'fresh', spring character with a trio of wines from the Rhône, Languedoc and Beaujolais which pair perfectly with spring vegetables, asparagus and new season lamb respectively.
Picpoul de Pinet: Domaine Gaujal 2021
The vineyards of Pinet and the other 5 communes that make up the Picpoul de Pinet appellation lie just inland of the saltwater lagoons and oyster beds of the Bassin de Thau. We first were introduced to it by the then Mayor of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Jean-Pierre Boisson, on a buying trip to the Languedoc in 2003, when it was virtually unknown in the U.K. The name literally translates as 'lip stinger' in reference to its 'vif' citrus acidity, and Laurent Gaujal's textbook example follows this with a flinty minerality reminiscent of the sea. Backed up by soft stone fruit and a grapefruit edge, it is perfect with oysters, mussels or grilled fish. If out of reach of a good fishmonger, a simple lemon-roast chicken or risotto dressed with sea salt, extra-virgin olive oil and freshly-chopped fines herbes might just pass muster.
Lirac: Domaine Maby 'La Fermade' Rosé 2020
The Guide Hachette, France's wine 'Bible' awarded Lirac's Richard Maby the coveted status of one of their 'Vignerons de l'Année' (Growers of the Year) in 2021, which is testament to the quality of his wines grown both in Lirac and neighbouring Tavel. Situated across the Rhône river from Châteauneuf-du-Pape on similar 'pudding stone' soils, it remains an excellent source of good-value and full-flavoured cuvées. This is a well-crafted blend of Rhône staples Grenache Noir and Cinsault which has vibrant redcurrant, raspberry and rosehip aromas, reviving acidity and a supple, moreish finish. It makes a versatile partner to salmon, salad and Asian spice.
Beaujolais Villages: Arnaud Aucoeur 'Vieilles Vignes' 2018
Another well-deserved recipient of Guide Hachette's Winemaker of the Year (2020, Beaujolais) was Arnaud Aucoeur. He and wife, Melanie, are part of the new wave of young enthusiastic Beaujolais growers who are fortunate to be in a region brimming with potential and where land prices are still relatively affordable. Well-trained and confident, they are showing what can be done with the underrated Gamay grape. This Beaujolais Villages is a step up in quality from generic Beaujolais and is a excellent vin de soif. Jam-packed with bright strawberry fruit and spice, it's a chillable treat that complements spicy sausages, charcuterie or a tomato-based pasta dish.
Grant Berry - Shop Manager
Two bottles of each wine shown are included in the six-bottle case. Our standard list price of these wines would be £85.40, plus £12.50 delivery to a mainland UK address - offer price saves £14.90. Four bottles each of the three wines shown are included in the twelve-bottle case. Our standard list price of these wines would be £170.80, with free delivery included to a mainland UK address - offer price saves £15.80).