Wines of the Month
Seasonal wines for April: "...such signs of spring must herald rosé season."
As winter draws to a close, the inspiring words of Victorian poet Christina Rossetti bring cheer to the season:
"Blows the thaw-wind pleasantly, / Drips the soaking rain, / By fits looks down the waking sun: / Young grass springs on the plain."
From a vinous point of view, we feel such signs of spring must herald rosé season, certainly for the brave, so it is with great delight that I can again include a scarlet-tinted wine in my regular monthly selection. We've two bottles each of a comely claret from the bounds of St. Emilion, a spring-fresh Rhône blanc and beguiling rosé from deepest Languedoc.
IGP Méditerranée: Domaine Saint Gayan 'Argiles' Blanc 2019
The prickle of the Piquepoul grape's acidity alongside floral and stone fruit flavours from Grenache Blanc and Bourboulenc brings welcome mouthwatering freshness to this Rhône white. From the consistently excellent Domaine Saint Gayan - based in Gigondas - Jean-Pierre Meffre and his son-in-law Christian-Yvès Carré de Lusançay made this blend initially as a thirst-quencher for drinking on the terrace with friends, but it has become hugely popular since we first introduced it to customers and journalists last year. It boasts rave reviews from Victoria Moore in the Telegraph, Jonathan Ray in the Spectator, Olly Smith and Jancis Robinson OBE, MW no less, so bear witness to its quality. I love it with a classic Moules Marinière, courgette flowers stuffed with ricotta and lemon zest or Jason Yapp's fragrant Orange and Avocado salad.
IGP Pays d'Oc: Domaine Girard 'Garriguette' Rosé 2019
One of several serendipitous discoveries last year, Philippe and Jean-François Girard's Cabernet Franc rosé follows the success of their Malepère 'Tradition' (a staple of the Yapp list since 2017). Last summer, while shipping their red, they offered us this berry-scented rosé which is named for a variety of intensely-aromatic strawberry. A smash hit from the off, it has developed complexity with time in bottle and displays not only a characteristic and elegant strawberry nose, but now has additional notes of lemongrass, Szechuan pepper and ground ginger. Drink with a fragrant Thai-style broth or light Asian fish curry brimming with fresh coriander, chilli, garlic and ginger.
Lussac-Saint-Émilion: Château Milonblanc 2016
The d'Anglade family of Libourne have been making wine for over 2 centuries and their claret from Château Milonblanc is a step up from their ever-popular Bordeaux Superior Château d'Abzac. From vines grown north-east of Saint-Emilion in the satellite appellation of Lussac-, it offers good value when compared to the grand vins of St-Emilion and is much more approachable on its youthful fruit. A blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon that sees some time in oak to softens the tannin, the barrel ageing also adds a touch of vanilla, chocolate and spice to the rich berry fruit. This makes it a mellow counterpart to savoury, umami dishes like grilled aubergine with confit garlic, all manner of chargrilled or roast meats and the last hurrah of hearty winter stews.
(Two bottles of each wine shown are included in this six-bottle case. Our standard list price of these wines would be £82.30, plus £12.50 delivery to a mainland UK address. Offer price saves £15.80).