Claude Serra, les Domaines de Virginie
Renowned winemaker Claude Serra is behind these amazing wines. The vines are tended using ‘Lutte Raisonnée’ methods, the yields are low and the result is a range of wines showing great concentration and purity with spot-on varietal character.
Grown on chalky and marl terroirs, on the hills surrounding Limoux, the Pinot Noir has ripe wild strawberry, cherry, mint and sous-bois scents on the nose and these flavours are also found on its bright, fresh and vibrant palate. This is a medium-bodied wine that would be excellent served with lighter dishes including fleshy fish dishes.
‘A fruity Pinot Noir served very slightly chilled is just the thing to enjoy with dinner on a summer evening. As France celebrates Bastille Day it seems only right and proper that this weekend’s recommendation should come from the home country of Pinot Noir – although, with cracking value in mind, I’ve picked a bottle from the south of France rather than Pinot’s pricier home turf, Burgundy.
You may be thinking south of France, endless sunshine, ultra-ripe grapes, jammy flavours… Until this wine first crossed my lips I had the same suspicions. But I’m happy to say they’re unfounded. Alongside wonderfully pure notes of strawberries and violets, La Boussole delivers mouthwatering freshness. There’s nothing remotely over-sweet or jammy about it. That’s because the grapes that go into it are grown in some of the Languedoc’s coolest vineyards up in the hills around Limoux.
I like the fact that there’s a hint of smoke about it which would make it an excellent partner for grilled foods of many kinds. I like its smooth texture. I like the gentle but persistent grip of fine tannin in the finish that makes it palate-cleansing. I like the alcohol level, a very manageable 12.5% – a figure once commonplace for reds but now relatively rare. And I like the price. Full marks to well-known winemaker Claude Serra for putting all these elements together with élan.
Slip a bottle of Boussole into the fridge half an hour before you eat. Tuna, chicken, high-class sausages, even a bowl of lentils with smoky bacon will taste all the better for its company.’
Alcohol: 12.5% – Mary Dowey, The Gloss 13th July 2017