Even though there’s another month of 2019 still to run, we wine writers work far enough in advance for me to confidently nominate this Languedoc red as the most outstanding bargain of the year. Yes, of course you’ll find heaps of cheaper or similarly priced bottles in the shops – but nothing that I’ve tasted comes close in terms of style and sheer panache.
Flavour first. This 80% Syrah and 20% Grenache blend is rich and plummy, with subtle notes of dark berries, spice and the wild herbs that flourish on the southern French scrub land known as garrigue. Because the grapes are grown on slate terroir at high altitude, a fresh streak of minerality keeps it from tasting overripe or overblown. Texture next. It’s pure silk velvet with only a gentle squeeze of fine tannin. The winemaking approach, involving whole bunch maceration and ageing in stainless steel tanks, highlights the vibrantly fruity character of this Faugères.
Laurent Miquel Kinsale Faugères 2017
Made by Franco-Irish couple Laurent and Neasa Miquel who own vineyards in various parts of the Languedoc, it has been named Kinsale in honour of Ireland’s wine capital. It’s the third of their wines that I’ve recommended during 2019 (together with Solas Pinot Noir and Solas Rosé, also available from Dunnes Stores). If that sounds like bias, I make no apology for it. Having followed the steady progress of the Miquels for years, I consider them right on top of their game as far as wine quality is concerned while also conscious of the need to offer genuine value.
Although a glass of Kinsale will slip down nicely by itself, it tastes even better with just about any kind of food that calls for a relatively full-bodied red. Mushroom risotto, roasted roots, aubergine parmigiana, vegetable curry, beef casserole… all of these and plenty of other wintry dishes will make perfect partners for a red that is as versatile as it is likeable.
From Dunnes Stores, €12.50