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.