Wine editor MARY DOWEY selects this French PINOT NOIR as her bottle of the week …
La Boussole Pinot Noir Les Grandes Côtes, Pays d’Oc 2015
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.
Albizu Tempranillo 2015, Spain
I have a weakness for unoaked (or very lightly oaked) Rioja. I love the lively aroma, the pure cherry fruits and the refreshing acidity. They come to together to form an easy-drinking but sophisticated wine, great for sipping alone or for drinking with a variety or red and white meats. This example, made by a Rioja producer, from grapes grown within the region, doesn’t actually have the name Rioja on the label, but it certainly tastes like it. Worth buying in quantity for the season ahead.
Available for €11.95-€12.95 from Mitchell & Son; Avoca Rathcoole; Le Caveau, Kilkenny; Baggot St wines; Blackrock Cellar; Corkscrew; Fallon & Byrne; Listons; MacGuinness; Green Man; 64 Wines; World Wide Wines.