Roussillon reds, including the best value wine I’ve had all year

La Différence Carignan 2009, IGP Pays des Côtes Catalanes (£5.99 Tesco)
Yum! A wine at an everyday price that packs in the personality. Has the classic peppery violet freshness of Carignan, but there’s more juicy flesh here than normal, bold berry flesh with that fragrant grape must smell of a winery at vintage time. Bargain. S-

François Lurton Les Hauts de Janeil Syrah/Grenache 2008, Vin de Pays d’Oc (currently N/A in the UK)
Excellent plummy, sausage-friendly red, has an almost toasty/bready edge to its meaty dark fruit flavours tinged with herbs and violet, young, spicy and very gluggable. S-

François Lurton Mas de Janeil Côtes du Roussillon-Villages 2007 (currently N/A in the UK)
This is more concentrate than the Vin de Pays, but is it better? I like the rich rounded fruit flavours, hints of hot earth and edge of minerality, but there’s a slightly raisinny, old-fashioned side to it. Hmm…. B+

François Lurton Mas de Janeil ‘Le Pas de la Mule’ Côtes du Roussillon-Villages 2007 (currently N/A in the UK)
You’ll see what my first thoughts were from the video. I then kept the bottle for four more days, tasting it regularly. In its favour, it has a warm heart of rich, juicy dark berry fruit, and a core of minerality, but the sweetness, jamminess and high alcohol, combined with the rather obvious oak disturb me. Has much in common with Priorat, but – as with much Priorat – while it’s impressive, I don’t know if I want to drink it. ???

Le Soula Rouge 2005, Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes (from £18.95 Majestic, Berry Bros & Rudd, Justerini & Brooks, The Wine Society, A&B Vintners, Raeburn Fine Wines, Adnams, Bon Coeur Fine Wines, Bowland Forest Vintners, Domaine Direct, John Gordons, Highbury Vintners, Oeno, Red & White, Roberson, Robert Rolls & Co, Uncorked, Upton-Upon-Severn Wines Ltd)
This is much more like it. Compelling, interesting wine, not immediately appealing, but reveals its true personality over the course of several hours. Combines smoky herby wildness with vibrant blackcurrant and berry fruit and an intriguing clay-like minerality. Still very coiled, but keeps you coming back for another sniff, another sip. Where the Pas de la Mule charges like a rhino, this is as sleek as a panther. S+

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3 thoughts on “Roussillon reds, including the best value wine I’ve had all year

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  • Simon Post author

    Er, it’s £6.99, and the Tesco one is £5.99. I make that £1 more expensive – I’m sure it’ll be in offer in Tesco at some point. I generally like the Grignon wines, but sometimes find them just that bit too clean and clinical. I’m sure the Carignan would have been at the Majestic Spring tasting, but I had to miss it because of volcanic ash – it’s a long story…..