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.