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The great and the good of the UK wine world (and no that doesn’t include me) tasted a few wines earlier in the year and came up with the Top 100 Vin de Pays. More than a few wines actually; more like over 1,000. As last year the winning wines were available for tasting at the London Wine and Spirits Fair last week. Reflecting the poor quality harvest in 2004 the 16 judges chose not to award trophies for Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Viognier. As the white wines were mostly from the 2005 vintage they showed better.

For me it was the whites, especially from the more obscure varietal end, that excited. A stunningly delicious Rousanne from Domaine Sainte Rose stood out (Charles Simpson, owner of Sainte Rose is third from the right in the photo) as did the Rolle (aka Vermentino) from Domaine des Lauriers. Both offer a great array of complex and interesting flavours; really I can’t recommend them more highly.

For the reds a Cabernet Franc (Carnaval) and a blend of Cabernet and Syrah (Mas des Bressades) led the pack. The former is a little expensive at around fifteen quid but worth a punt if you are feeling generous but both were eclipsed by the superb La Crois Cascaillou that hit the spot with its blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre.

I am getting bored of reading tasting notes (I can only assume many others are too) so I am just going to list my personal favourites from the tasting. Of the hundred wines available I sampled 62…

The Whites

  • Domaine de La Saulzaie Sauvignon Gris, 2005, Vin de Pays du Jardin de la France
  • Jean Douillard Melon, 2005, Dom de la Fruitière, Vin de Pays de Loire Aquaitaine (£5.79)
  • Domaine Sainte Rose Barrel Selection Low Yield Roussane, 2003, Vin de Pays des Cotes de Thongue (£10)
  • Domaine des Lauriers Le Rolle, 2005, Vin de Pays d’Oc (£5.80)
  • Domaine de la Saulzaie Pinot Gris,2005, Vin de Pays du Jardin de la France
  • Mas Karolina Blanc Sec, 2004, Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes (£7.50)
  • La Rabassière Blanc, 2004, Vin de Pays Duche d’Uzes (£8.30)

The Reds

  • Mas des Bressades Cabernet Syrah, 2004, Vin de Pays du Gard (£8.49)
  • Domaine La Crois Belle Cascaïllou, 2003, Vin de Pays des Côtes du Thongue (£12.99)
  • Domaine Clapier, 2003, Vin de Pays du Vaucluse
  • Mas Carlot Cuvée Tradition, 2005, Vin de Pays d’Oc (£6.35)
  • Carnaval Cabernet Franc, 2004, Cin de Pays d’Oc (£14.95)

The Roses

  • La Saint André Rosé, 2005, Vin de Pays du Var
  • Domaine de Regusse Rosé Fruite, 2005, Vin de Pays des Portesde Méditerranée

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