This is an archive of tasting notes from participants in the UK wine forum, with notes from before 2005








UK Wine Forum - Vins de Pays & Region France

03/04 1998 Chateau de Cazeneure - Le Roc des Mates (Pic St Loup)
Dark red plum, the very odd nose showed me burnt rubber (sulphur?) and hints of tinned ham. Slightly sweet with noticeable acidity, the wine had a good length but showed hot alcohol on the finish and was unbalanced for me. This may be in a closed phase at the moment. 84/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

03/04 2001 Chateau de la Negly - La Fallaise (Languedoc)
Dark plum purple, the nose was ripe with black fruits like blackcurrants. Tasting was very different, with a very young, tight power palate showing good acidity. Ripe and drying tannins with the dark forest fruits to mean show that this wine needs time to fully resolve itself, although the key elements are in place. 90/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

03/04 2000 Clos des Truffieres (Languedoc)
A dark plum red, opaque, this 14.5% monster showed liquid vanilla essence with luscious plum fruit on the nose. A Power palate with more liquid plums but it struck me as simple. The long length did show a dry tannic finish. 92+/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

02/04 2002 Chateau Guiot, Costières de Nîmes
13.5%, served blind. Glorious strawberry pink (oh yes, it's a rosé). Fruity, rich nose that's a bit reticent at first. Good fruity attack. Quite full bodied. Nice fruit. Falls away a tad on the finish, but a pretty impressive rosé. (Andrew Stevenson, UK)

02/04 Domaine D'Aupilhac Montpeyroux 1999
From the Coteaux du Languedoc, so I'm not sure if Montpeyroux is the name of the wine or a sub-region as it were. I am sure that I like it though. Lovely perfumed scent from the nose that just says "class" not "slapper". The palate has rich mulberry fruit and finishes sweet. There's tannin there though. Its like a super-charged St. Chinian. A really nice bottle of wine. 13.5% abv Wine Society £9.95. (Daron Fincham, UK)

01/04 1998 Coteaux du Languedoc, Domaine L'Aguiliere, Cote Rousse
Bright deep purple in colour. Pronounced menthol/mint on the nose immediately transports me to Australia and I'm thinking Clare Valley. I also got touches of plum fruit, spice (presumably oak derived) and pepper. On the palate, dry (indeed very dry), black fruits, pepper again and lots (and lots) of smoky oak. I found the wine to be quite oak dominant and did not know whether the wine would open up with a few more years bottle age, or if it simply lacked the fruit to break through the oak. (Phil Shorten, UK)

11/03 Saint Martin de la Garrigue, Cuvée St Martin 1998
Scratching my head to remember any details here - didn't write anything down :( What I do remember is an impression of a well-made if not especially stunning wine. Quite stewed fruit, has that "hole in the middle" effect on the palette - slightly lacking depth. Good, and not bad for the money, but not really anything special. 2/5 (Lucian Holland, UK)

11/03 Mas de Daumas Gassac 1998
Very dense colour right to rim, with touches of purple. Nose has some very clarety characteristics - deep blackcurrant fruit, pencil shavings, cigar box etc. Surprisingly developed and accessible - being the ignoramus I am, if I were just going on first impressions of the nose of this, I would have said it was a 10 year old claret of good pedigree. Also some odd other notes though, including parsnips and a dusty, thick earthy character and a suggestion of some deeper fruit that isn't really showing itself fully. Also some more animally notes. Palette doesn't mess about - big structure, very ripe big tannins; a triffle woody, but all backed by a massive richness of fruit. I suppose it's partly the cepage, but the main thing that really struck me about this wine is its enormous elegance, a word that doesn't usually creep into my notes from this part of the world! Truly lovely, and surprisingly drinkable now, with food, even if it isn't showing all it's depths. 4/5 (Lucian Holland, UK)

11/03 Mas Champart Clos de la Simonette 1999
Deep colour. Purple rim. Fair bit of alcohol on the nose. Very deep, wine gum fruit, liquorice. Some dark sugar and pungent herbs. Quite "bright". Nice oaking, if somewhat unintegrated at the moment - slight hints of pencil shavings, but more toasty than anything else at the moment. Palette is big and bright and slightly alcohlic. Masses of ripe tannin chews your tongue off. Quite a long finish, a touch woody for now. Improves a fair bit with a lot of air (although it did close down completely for a bit). At the moment I find this a bit sweet and stewed, but being 70% Mourvedre I guess this probably needs a fair bit of time. Whatever - it's an excellent and very well made wine. 3.5/5 (Lucian Holland, UK)

11/03 Château Grès-Saint-Paul Muscat de Lunel 1999
15.5% alc. Brought by Kasia and Tomek from their Languedoc peregrination a couple of years ago. Rather coarse at first, with notes of baked apple, fresh cucumber greenness, slightly odd, cooked and tropical-fruity on the palate, but seemingly watery or unclean; then integrating a bit in the glass and all in all a pleasant if not very sophisticated glassful. (Nerval, Poland)

11/03 Domaine Pouderoux Maury Grande Réserve NV
More complete notes on this estate should appear soon. This was Marek's attempt to round off the evening, and it worked. Medium dark purple with a wide rim. Stemmy-blackcurrantey at first, with a beaten egg softness, then following with aromas of caramel, burnt treacle, dark grapes, some tar perhaps, and finishing in mouth with quintessential Maury papery, coarse-grained tannins and a Rückaroma of menthol. Picking up more and more fudgey thickness with time in the glass. Elegant and balanced for a Maury, though never very sophisticated. Definitely good wine. (Nerval, Poland)

11/03 Domaine d'Alzipratu Corse-Calvi Cuvée Fiumeseccu 2000
A wine I brought recently from Paris (purchased for 7€) following my growing interest in Corsican wines. Varietal composition unknown (Vermentino with a splash of Muscat?). Dark golden in the glass, a concentrated colour. Upon opening notes of boiled vegetables and slightly overripe citrus, waxy-herbal much in the Mediterrenean mould, lemony and textured in mouth, quite long while staying bone-dry. But an impression of hollowness prevailed and the sharpish vegetal aromas caused the wine to be pronounced corked; I wasn't sure, the aromatic profile was much alike some Xarel.los from Catalunya or some Sicilian whites, but eventually I gave in and the wine was put aside. I kept the remaining half-bottle overnight and when retasting it the following evening, I was even more convinced it wasn't corked. It kept that slightly mouth-drying herbiness but picked up a bit more fruit filling and was more satisfying on the palate. Surely nothing great but a nice table wine for some vegetable dishes. (Nerval, Poland)

11/03 Chateau Pibarnon 1988
Rich, earthy nose, some realy finesse. Good, ripe, dark fruit. Palate is earthy and complex, with some ripe power. Lovely length. Smooth, integrated flavours. Lovely. (David Strange, UK)

11/03 Viognier 2003, Triennes (tank sample)
Very limey, citric fruit. Very yeasty. Almost dry. Some weight and spice. Quite fermentative, though. (David Strange, UK)

11/03 St Auguste 1999, Triennes
Quite a spciey nose, with a lot of blackcurranr fruit. Soime weight to the palate, lots of currantly fruit, a bit of spice on the finish. Alright, indeed quite good. (David Strange, UK)

11/03 St Auguste 2000, Triennes
A bit riper and fruitier on the nose. Red fruit and spice. Palate is a bit one dimensional. Simple, light fruit. Also quite acidity. Less good than the 1999. (David Strange, UK)

11/03 St Auguste 2001, Triennes
A bit closed. Plenty of dark ripe fruit, though. Palate is a bit tough, but with some good fruit and nice long spciey finish. Pretty good. (David Strange, UK)

11/03 Tempier Blanc 2002
Quite round and fruity, quite Rhoney. Some acidity. Round but not fat. Surprisingly good. (David Strange, UK)

11/03 Tempier Rose 2002
Simple strawberry fruit. Light. Good acidity. Light fruit. Good length. SOme minerality. Good, very good for a rose. (David Strange, UK)

11/03 Tempier Cuvee Classique 2000
Quite ripe and alcoholic. Arsey with some floral character. Palate is quite tannic, but has some good fruit. Quite nice. (David Strange, UK)

11/03 Tempier Cuvee Classique 2001
Very alcoholic, surprsingly clean. Palate is very concentrated and very tannic. Very spciey. Some complexity. Really very good for a generic. Very exciting to drink young. (David Strange, UK)

11/03 Tempier Cuvee Speciale 2001
Really concentrated, cassis and liquorice nose., Palate is quite tought, but has good concentration and refined fruit. Real length. Undoubtedly good. (David Strange, UK)

11/03 Tempier La Miguoa 2001
Real purity of fruit and an almost elegant nose considering its power. Really tannic but great purity of fruit. Real elegance and finesse. Lovely minerality. Great length. Very good indeed. (David Strange, UK)

11/03 Tempier La Tourtine 2001
The power of Mourvedre! Quite dirty, but great dark fruit. This has the manly roughness of a solid peasant type deflowering the lord's daughter. A bit of a bruiser, but great fruit. Very good indeed. (David Strange, UK)

11/03 Tempier Cabassaou 2001
Maybe over-ripe nose? A touch raisiny. Lots of fruit, but it is really very ripe., Very clean. It really sticks to one's teeth. Very tannic, but so ripe it is perhaos a bit soupy. Very good, but perhaps too ripe. (David Strange, UK)

11/03 Tempier Tourtine 2002
Quite oaky, quite spicey. Nice round palate with good spice anbd complexity. Ripe and clean. Almost pretty. Very good. (David Strange, UK)

11/03 Chateau de Pibarnon Rose 2002
Pure strwaberry fruit nose. Some astrigency, good acitity. Some flesh, some minerality. Quite pretty. Good for rose, but what is it for? (David Strange, UK)

11/03 Chateau de Pibarnon Les Restanques de Pibarnon VdP 2000
A bit of new oak. Quite arsey. Some sweet fruit on the palate. Kirsch. Bit of oak. Nice enough. (David Strange, UK)

11/03 Chateau de Pibarnon Pibarnon 2000
Nose is a bit dirty. Has good dark fruit. Quite spicey. Platae has some legegance and refinement., Very liquorice. Good long finish. Good complexity. Quite open. (David Strange, UK)

11/03 Chateau de Pibarnon Pibarnon 2001
Extremely ripe nose, very fruity, very concentrated, pretty alcoholic. Quite round,m quite pure. Not as heroic as the Tempier wines. Quite sexy, in fact really very good indeed. (David Strange, UK)

11/03 Chateau de Pibarnon Pibarnon 1997
Quite arsey, which developed into a nice rich fruit character. Black olive hints. Very silky, very smooth, very elegant. This is special. (David Strange, UK)

11/03 Chateau de Pibarnon Pibarnon 1993
Rich, medicinal nose, very spicey abd warm. Some finesse. Meaty, herbal palate. Silky and complex. Very concentrated. Has aged very well. Top bunny! (David Strange, UK)

11/03 Chateau de Pibarnon Pibarnon 1990
Very truffley, very ripe. Real complexity abd style. Really earthy, rich palate. Some power, but real finesse. Good tannic structure. This is fine wine. (David Strange, UK)

11/03 Bandol Cuvee Cabassaou 1997, Domaine Tempier
Unfortunately, I'd heard much and high praise of this wine before I tasted it, which is always a recipe for disaster. Deep red colour. Nose is a curious mixture between the raucous and the elegant. The first thing I got was a blast of unintegrated alcohol (14.5%), but getting behind this, I got a quite restrained, elegant wine, with a vaguely claretish feel - the sandalwood flavours in particular. Certainly plenty of dense fruit, but strangely muted. On the palette, big, round, full and slightly sweet, but again, somewhat lacking in expression. I must admit that I wasn't concentrating particularly hard, but this just didn't scream "cult wine" at me, and given the asking price for the latest vintages, I was expecting to be very impressed. Perhaps caught at an awkward stage… 3/5 (Lucian Holland, UK)

10/03 Mas des Bressades Costières de Nîmes 2001
It's labelled "Cuvée Excellence", but I think that's just marketing. It looks lovely; a very dark but clear velvety red, rather than the purple-black I was expecting from young, high-alcohol Syrah. Stunning nose - what is that fruit? It's really distinctive but I can't put a name to it. And why am I thinking of jam when it's not the least bit jammy? Got it - blueberries! (Just about the only blueberries I've ever tasted have been in a jam jar.) This positively reeks of blueberries; the first time I've ever detected that in a wine, despite seeing the description in other people's tasting notes. On the palate it's smooth, fruity (those blueberries again) and quite complex. It's not very tannic; instead good acidity provides structure. Unexpectedly, given the sweetness on the nose and the high alcohol, it's fully dry. It will probably age, but it's so nice now that it's unlikely to get the chance! Lovely stuff, and at this price (£7.49 at Majestic) probably my new house red. (Steve Evans, UK)

10/03 Le Soula VdP Blanc Coteaux des Fenouilledes 200113%abv.
Very pale straw almost watery clear. The nose was extremely young and intriguing. An elegant baby of a wine but positively assertive with its lemon & perhaps lime, blossom floral, flinty/stony clean purity & even without decanting much cleanness with slightly medicinal (positive) undertones which in this instance I found extremely positive with herbs & almost a peachy elixir. I was bowled over on the first sniff! The palate was exceptional with its supreme purity, jaw-aching acidity & huge mineralaty, subtle Maldon sea salt, concentration & not a touch of RS to be found! Amazing subtle dry richness, beautifully balanced, and getting on to being (even for such a young wine) extraordinarily complex. Tea tannin & marmalade astringency with young dropped quince, green apple & lemon fruit. How long will last(?) but perhaps 10-15years & perhaps more… who knows but a top drop either way. Elegance & bread is found here. An outstanding, extremely young & sensitive wine is in the balance here. Finishes with exceptional intensity & fantastic inner core fruit. Outstanding length for a baby. A stunning drop & my type of wine. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

09/03 Jurançon Clos Guirouilh Moelleux 1989
Medium gold. Rather cheesy on the nose in a sweaty socks way. Not corked. Not oxidised. But there's something wrong. Very dried out and past it. A touch grapey. Very odd and not entirely pleasant. (Andrew Stevenson, UK)

08/03 Chateau Pech-Céleyran Saint Exupery La Clape 1998
AC Coteaux du Languedoc. 12% abv. Very even dark, almost chocolatey ruby. Gorgeous nose - lots of ripe brambly fruit with a minty herbaceous, hedegrow backbone. Very good attack. Lots of soft red fruit - presumably a fair proportion of grenache in this. Fills very nicely. Full, round ripe fruit with a hint of peppery spice and nice soft tannins to hold it up. Very satisfying. Excellent length with a slight bitterness after. Very good. (Andrew Stevenson, UK)

08/03 1996 Alain Brumont Le Calendrier des Pacherenes Doux, Madiran 14%
Slightly reticent nose with gently honey-infused aroma. Intense sweetness, but dancing so lightly on the palate, with lots of orange peel on the mid-palate. Fresh acidity makes it bely its alcohol and sugar, with the overall impression being of a lovely sweet wine that retains such freshness. The wine equivalent of a sorbet. Very Good Indeed. Cost £3!! (Ray Abercromby, UK)

07/03 Chante Coucou, Côtes du Marmandais, Elian da Ros 1999
Very dark, broodingly red colour. Young-claret-style nose, rich and warm, strong cassis notes and no mean alcohol fumes! Rich on the palate, with a strong streak of acidity, some might say too strong, and definitely a wine for food at this stage. Grippy and strong-flavoured, I have a feeling that this (a bargain at £3.95 from La Vigneronne R.I.P.) has a long life ahead. Very serious!Very good. (Matthew Mellor, UK)

07/03 Chateau du Cedre 1998 Le Cedre, Cahors
13% Euros 22.50 from Pte Caveau Sainte Catherine in Lille. Deep, deep purple; almost black. Woody, spicy nose. Smooth, plummy, extremely powerful; chewy, tannic. A "dark, satanic mills" of a wine. Wonderfully dry. Thoroughly recommended. Will buy more and keep for several years. Hachette *** & Parker "outstanding" well deserved. Tasted initially w/o food, then bottle finished with a braised lamb shank and vegetables. Very good indeed. Best wine tasted for quite some time. (Hugh Millar, UK)

06/03 Cahors Clos La Coutale 2000
Wow - very dark colour leading to a purple rim. Looks vibrant. And it is - lilies. Lots of inky lilies and dark red fruits. Lots of background spice from the oak (I think). Very forward and open palate. Rich and tasty with a lovely lingering finish. Really enjoyed this and excellent value at £5.50. (Philip Vaughan, UK)

06/03 Coteaux du Giennois, Dme de Villargeau, 2001
Another one from TWS. Was almost blind as there was no indication of grape variety and I'm not familiar with the Appellation. Lovely fruity nose, nothing identifiable, but good non-the-less. Hint of toastyness. Lots of "wet-stone" minerals. Palate was full and rounded, well balanced and dry. Lots more minerals and a very mineraly finish backed with the fruit. Really enjoyable and interesting for £5.75. (Philip Vaughan, UK)

06/03 Montagnieu – Altesse 2001 – A.O.C. Roussette du Bugey
I have not tried a white wine from this French AOC before, so this should be interesting. A sharper and more focused nose than the previous Chablis 1er Cru. This fresh tasting wine has a vibrant acidic backbone that holds the wine together quite well into a longish finish. 87/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

06/03 Chateau Bellevue de Garbelas Saint Chinian 2001
To the tune of "Lydia the Tattooed Lady": Saint Chinian, Saint Chinians (No I didn't say St. Trinians!) Chateau Bellevue de Garbelas Two thousand and one from Majestic And at four ninety nine its fantastic Saint Chinian, Saint Chinian that little appelatian A syrah and grenache milieu On the nose its blackcurrant stew And at thirteen percent its full bodied too From the land of the tricolour red, white and blue You can drink a lot of Saint Chinian! (Daron Fincham, UK)

06/03 Château Monbazillac, Monbazillac 1997
Colour beginning to deepen. Good, rotten, marmaladey nose. Rich on the palate, but perhaps lacking acidity, though this showed through as it developed in the glass. Sweet and quite rich, matching the lemon tart rather nicely. Bought in a 50cl bottle from the magnificent château in 2000. Good plus. (Matthew Mellor, UK)

06/03 Les Jamelles Viognier 2001, VdP d'Oc
Bought in a hurry from our local co-op. Straw coloured, with pleasant fragrance. Nicely balanced floral, apricotty fruit with good acidity. Simple, but not dull. Good plus. (Matthew Mellor, UK)

06/03 Mas Jullien Special Cuvee Blanc 90
Rich gold colour. Creamy oak-aged nose with a manageable touch of maderisation. Great intensity of rich buttery fruit. Nice silky texture. VG/E (Paul Armstrong, UK)

06/03 Dr Parce Collioure Cuvee Cosprons Levant 1997
£9.50 from the Wine Society. Clear ruby red, quite viscous. Attractive, complex bouquet. Refreshing acidity, well balanced. Good length. Opposite of fruit bomb; unusual, but enjoyable wine. 13%. Would buy again. (Hugh Millar, UK)

05/03 1999 Louis Latour, Grand Ardèche Chardonnay
Deep nose - amazingly like the Bâtard just turned down a couple of notches for intensity - waxy, spent fireworks. The palate shows good concentration and fat - if not quite as viscous as the Bâtard - hard to define the fruit though. The length is very good, but I'd prefer a little more acidity. For the price cracking value if you like the less fruit driven style. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

04/03 Chateau Montus 1995 – Maidran – Alain Brumont
80% Tannat, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. Very dark, the nose is herbaceous with plenty of cheese and farmyard smells. The one-dimensional taste finished with a dry finish. Apparently this is the best red Maidran made. Hmmmm. Revisit this wine in three years with your fingers crossed. 82/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

04/03 Domaine du Mas Blanc – 1997 Clos du Moulin
This wine has at least 80% Mouvedre according to the AOC rules. A spicy nose with smoky bacon. The slightly sweet taste is medium bodied with a good finish and I found it enjoyable, especially after the Maidran. 88/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

03/03 1998 Domaine de Trevallon
First bottle corked. This one was a deep garnet colour. Also a deep nose with a little smoke, pepper and coffee at the lower registers, higher up it's cooked fruit, jam tarts and plum pie. The palate has concentrated black fruit, a little toasty blackcurrant and an almost black olive note. There's good acidity and tons of astringent, furry tannins. The finish is long and drying from the tannins. An excellent and individual wine which was obviously drunk a little too young - I'm looking forward to trying it again at ten years old. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

02/03 Domaine Les Bastides 1998 Cuvee Valeria (Coteaux D'Aix-En-Provence) - £10 (US$15)
This wine, made from predominately Cabernet Sauvignon with a minority of Syrah in the blend, is the top cuvee from this estate. Double decanted 1 hour in advance. I had been meaning to try this wine for a while. I had been advised to drink this between 2005-2010 by the wine merchant who sold it to me. A deep burgundy cherry red with a pink rim. The nose was a mix of forest undergrowth, alcohol and dark fruits, none of these any more prominent than the other. A ripe wine masking the tannins well, this developed in the mouth with a respectable finish. Not complex, I believe that it is closed at present and could do with a couple more years at least. Good potential from this well made wine from an excellent vintage. 86/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

02/03 Domaine Tempier – Tourtine 1985
A cherry red, pink at the rim. The nose was very distinctive, with a strong smell of brett, earth and well-hung game. A medium bodied mouthfeel, very pleasant with some tannins but a dryness on the finish. We believe that poor double-decanting may have led to the sediment causing the dry tasting. Although drinkable now I may leave it a bit longer, and decant for longer to give it time for the brett to blow off. 82/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

02/03 Domaine Trevallon 1990
Another offering from Nigel. Deeper red than the previous wine, with colour all the way to the rim. The nose was very distinctive, funky, animalistic, leather, the syrah seemed dominant. Nick mentioned stewed rhubarb, which I agreed with, and we caught a tad of mint in their as well. The taste was a middle weight boxer punch to the palate of sweet black fruits and tannins. The dryness on the finish may well have come from the lax decanting style used. 85/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

02/03 2000 Grand Ardeche, Louis Latour 13% ABV
Pale, light yellow. Tropical fruit, melon and oak on the nose. Acidic light with little length. Gently creamy fruit, very redolent of a warm climate chardonnay. Much less "beefy" than years ago. A touch disappointing. Average. (Ray Abercromby, UK)

02/03 Prieure de St Jean de Bebian 1995
A supercharged 'Chateauneuf du Pape' lookalike made from old vines of different grape varieties. I had finished off my case of the 1994 last Christmas and thought I would try the 1995, having enjoyed the 1996 a few weeks ago. The very dark plum red led to a nose of some wood, some alcohol and sweet smelling. I tasted a core of dark fruits in the background but it still seemed closed and tannic. Probably in an awkward stage and needing 3-5 years. 82/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

02/03 Domaine de Baruel 1994
Dark coloured not much maturity, tarry smoky black fruits slightly solid. Good rich fruit initially with some development but still quite tannic with a rather dry finish. The final third of the bottle finished the next day showed more development of the fruit on the palate but I am not sure it is going to improve. Good (Paul Redfern, UK)

01/03 Domaine de Trevallon 1986
Meaty, gamey nose. Palate has some cassis fruit, earth and spice. Clarety. Good. (David Strange, UK)

01/02 Bandol "Le Galatin" 1999
Had this last night (not sure of the producer). Not much of a nose - but then I think its clear I don't have a very good sense of smell - its really nice and meaty on the palate. Worth a try. 13.0% alcohol by volume. £8.20 Tanners (Daron Fincham, UK)

01/03 Domaine de Lanestousse Madiran 1997
Deep bright red. Initially quiet nose, but after a few hours opened out to nice red fruits and dough. Good cleansing acidity, red fruits, still some tannic spine. Super bargain at a discounted £4.27 in Tesco. G (Paul Armstrong, UK)

01/03 Chateau La Roque Cupa Numismae Pic St Loup 95
Medium deep red with some bricking. Nose of preserved fruits-in-liqueur plus a bit of burnt toast. Palate: mellow forest fruits and forest floor with a dry/dusty finish. Was G 2 years ago but now on way downhill. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

01/03 1998 James Herrick, Milla Passum Syrah Vin de Pays d'Oc
Deep ruby colour. High tones nose with mild peppery notes. Palate has grippy tannins, good acidity and nice fruit. A nice, good value wine. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

12/02 Prieure de St Jean de Bebian 1994 - £12 US$18)
A CdP type blend of grapes from a quality conscious producer. Double decanted 1 hour in advance with plenty of sediment. Deep plum red, nose of black pepper and herbs, some tar, liquorice and leather. This wine is certainly very drinkable now and there is no need to wait. The tannins, though dry, are unobtrusive and do a decent job backing up the red frits like cooked plums and prunes. Still a touch of bitterness on the finish, which may resolve itself with further ageing. With food, it was even better. 84/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

11/02 Le Prieure de St-Jean de Bebian 2000 - £13.12 (US$20)
This estate has aimed to produce a Chateauneuf du Pape (CdP) style red wine from their holdings planted with all thirteen grapes that are permitted in CdP. A dull ruby red leads to a white pepper nose with some animalistic scent (Mouvedre to the fore?). The taste is closed, tannic, powerful, and needs at least 3 years more before it will soften. 83-85/100. My experience with this wine has been positive. I am currently drinking my 1994's which are still considered young by some. I will begin drinking my 1995's properly in the next year or two. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

11/02 2001 Cuvée de Richard red VdP de l'Aude. Majestic, £2.89
Young purple with ruby hints. Rather dull, hedgerow-y nose. Fair attack. Light and youthful. But unbalanced. Quite a streak of acid and some unformed harsh tannins. Deeply unimpressive. Very little fruit on nose or palate. Poor. (this bottle replaced on tasted earlier this year over the summer, which rated even worse ...) On the other hand, I find the Cuvée Richard white, quite palatable, if you must have a sub £2.90 wine. For the red, it's definitely worth paying the extra 10p at Majestic and going for the rather Rhone-ish Cuvée des Amandiers. (Andrew Stevenson, UK)

11/02 Collioure "Clos du Moulin" 1998, Domaine du Mas Blanc
From the (supposedly) great Dr. Parce and the (definitely) great 1998 vintage. This is the top cuvee, the other from him being the Cosprons Levants. Which, frankly is the better wine, with a great animal, sauvage nose. This is better than the Weinert, simply because it has a bit of grip and sharpness, but again, when you get right down to it this is a pretty unexciting Grenache/Mourvedre wine. I expect a lot more for £17. It has a good length of flavour, but not a lot else to hold your attention (Joel Hopwood, UK)

11/02 Domaine de Fondrèche 2000 Côtes du Ventoux Cuvée Nadal
This was really, really lovely. Quite a dark red, the nose was heady and beautifully fruity and on the palate rich and magnificently concentrated with a sweet and portlike finish. Little in the way of tannin, it seemed to me, but what there was was ripe and sweet. It was powerfully alcoholic, but well balanced for it and seemed destined for a long life. (Matthew Mellor, UK)

10/02 Chateau Richard Cuvee Osee Bergerac 2000
Sweaty nose leads to an intense fruity-cored wine. Bit of five spice, bit of heat, but very flavoursome indeed. G/VG (Paul Armstrong, UK)

10/02 Terra D'Or 1999, Coteaux D'Aix en Provence - rouge
This is just about opaque purple/black. On the nose there is leafy cassis and a rich tarry note, on the palate it is very big,smooth and seemless. The tannins are very fine, the oak makes its present felt and this is very thick and quite extracted. Rich cassis and a touch of aniseed appears on the finish. Its glossy and quite an 'internationl' style. It would be interesting to try in a few years. Trying to be objective I give it VG+ but its not my style preference, and its hard work to drink a couple of glasses.appx cost 33 euros (Stephen Pickles, UK)

10/02 Grand Rouge de Revelette, Chateau Revelette 2000, Coteaux D'Aix en Provence
Again just about opaque purple. On the nose ripe berry fruits, hint of cassis and cinammon. On the palate thick and full bodied, earthy strong tannins and the sweet fruit with an earthy mineral note add some interest. The finish is long and this has more acid than the terra d'or. I think this will be VG when it has had a few years to knit and the tannins calm. (Stephen Pickles, UK)

10/02 La Bastide Blanche - rouge , Bandol 2000
Very dark, almost opaque. Cherries and bramble fruit with a damp earthy woodland tone adding some complexity on the nose. On the palate very full rich earthy bramble fruitwith some meaty gamey notes on the good finish. Very young and tannic needs at least 3/4 years but should be very good. (Stephen Pickles, UK)

10/02 La Bastide Blanche Cuvee Fontanieu , Bandol 1999
This is a top cuvee made only in selected years from oldvines on a favoured site, to all intents it is 100% mourvedre. Very black opaque. Very full bramble nose with some forest floor notes. This seems a lot bigger but also more simple than the previous wine. On the palate the very strong but smooth tannins are hiding the big fruit and some meaty notes. It seems almost simple now but we were told this would blossom given time, I believe it and buy all the bottles I can carry to store away for 10 years and some monster bandol tasting I seem to be accumulating for appx 2012. I thought this was very good and with time could be excellent, although far from knitted now it seemed to have everything to mature and the domaine certainly has a track record for this type of wine. (Stephen Pickles, UK)

10/02 1999 Chateau de la Noblesse , Bandol, Rouge
Clear garnet, Solid bramble fruit with earthy,herby tones on the nose. The palate follows with firm tannins and depth of fruit, medium bodied but mouthfilling and when ready (3/4 years) I think this will be an excellent bottle. Very Good, but needs time. (Stephen Pickles, UK)

10/02 1998 Chateau de la Noblesse , Bandol, Rouge
Clear garnet, again beautiful sweet fruit on the nose and the 'animal' tones of the mouvedre aren't so dominant here.The tannins are still to the fore but again very finewith balancing acidity and cream fruit and savoury meaty notes in the background and long finish, this is a little more developed than the 99 but would be better with another 2 or so years. Very good (Stephen Pickles, UK)

10/02 2000 Chateau de la Noblesse , Bandol, Rouge
Clear garnet, fruit is more subdued here but seems 'broader' and there is an excellent touch of spices and herbs sitting in the background of the solid bramble fruit. The tannins are very strong in this young wine, but the fruit , gameyness and spices are sitting there underneath it all with the balance to mature. Very Good in 5/6 years. (Stephen Pickles, UK)

10/02 Chateau Des Estanilles, Faugeres, 1999
Dark crimson colour, slight sentiment in glass. The nose is lifted syrah, great mouth feel, ripe tannins,long finish. Altogether an excellent southern French syrah (100%?) Will be better in 2 years, although drinking OK now and not a long keeper. On offer at Amey Wines, Sudbury for £7.99, the 1998 is £15. Brought quite a few. (Russ Sainty, UK)

10/02 Faugères, La Maison Jaune (Alquier) 1995
Deep, solid, purple colour, Dry, restrained fruit on the nose with very dry initial taste with soft tannin, and dark fruit coming through and developing well in the glass. 15/20 (Simon Wharton, UK)

10/02 Mas de Daumas Gassac 1993
Brilliant garnet colour,slightly fading at the rim. A clean, positive fruit aroma, with very slight oakiness. Blackberries and trace of tobacco on the palate. Dry and still quite tannic; medium bodied; refreshingly acidic, good length. Well balanced wine, as enjoyable on its own as with food. Probably at its peak. £12.99 from Oddbins some 6 years ago. Very good / excellent. (Hugh Millar, UK)

09/02 Mas de Daumas Gassac 1994 VdP L'Herault - 12.7% - £12 (US$18)
Double-decanted & served in a Riedel Bordeaux stem. A blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon plus various percentages of Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. The colour was a deep purple, opaque, slightly lighter at the rim. The first thing that struck me about the nose was how 'pure and balanced' it was. By this I mean that it was not overpowering, nor did any one smell stand out. Instead a mature cabernet Sauvignon black fruits with very little oak indeed. Some pepper smell from the Syrah. A seamless taste of black fruits caress the palate, backed up by some acidity. The decently long finish ends on a moderately dry note. Some ripe tannins remain, probably indicating that this has a few years left of development. With food, the dry note disappeared. Drinking well now, I'll try another bottle in a year perhaps. 88/100 (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

09/02 Domaine de La Rectorie Cuvee Leon Parce 1999
My first taste of Banyuls - and I liked it! Perhaps someone out there with a bit more knowledge could educate me about this wine. It was cherries on the nose (like an Amarone) and nice and figgy on the palate. A lovely sweet 15.5% gem. A friend bought it at Mr. Byrne's in Clitheroe at around a tenner for 500ml. Rating? About 4.8 on the Richter Scale (it helped me sleep through it). (Daron Fincham, UK)

09/02 Chateau Tour des Gendres Bergerac Sec Cuvee des Conti 2000
Quite unctuous and leesy, but with a nice minerally/grassy lift to it. QG/G (Paul Armstrong, UK)

09/02 Chateau Richard Bergerac Sec Cuvee Allier 1999
Good Sauv/Sem mix with some yeasty depth and nice length. Subtly good, it grows on you. QG/G (Paul Armstrong, UK)

09/02 Chateau Richard Saussignac Le Grand Coup de Coeur 1997
Quite a deep amber colour. Complex but slightly 'maderised' nose. Then an incredible 'unctuous but fresh' vibrant velvetty mouthful of apricotty fruit, with super length and a haunting apricot aftertaste that lingered for half an hour after drinking the wine. On a return visit later in the holiday (when the ranch was manned by Richard Doughty rather than his retired father), we discovered our first tasting was from a bottle that had been open for nearly six weeks. Richard opened a new bottle and the nose was much fresher, but the palate, amazingly, hardly differed between the two bottles. Possibly the most enjoyable dessert wine I've ever tasted. Excellent/sublime. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

09/02 Chateau Richard Saussignac Coup de Coeur 2000
Much paler light golden colour than the 2000. Lovely fresh but complex fruit compote nose. Beautiful elegant crisp flavour, gorgeous farewell. Almost as good as the 1997, but in a very different more dainty style. (Apparently, the cepage mix was very different from the 1997, with a much larger amount of Muscadelle in the 2000 blend). Excellent. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

09/02 Chateau Richard Saussignac 1990
Medium amber/orange colour. Nose a bit quiet. Palate of orange whisky marmalade, just enough acidity, lingers well. Not in the same class as the 97/00 Coup de Coeur cuvees - this was made before the top cuvee was launched. Very good/excellent (Paul Armstrong, UK)

09/02 Chateau Courts les Muts Bergerac Sec 2001
Grassy/gooseberry intensity, a hint of some nice yeasty/leesy complexity too. Excellent refreshing glugger. QG/G (Paul Armstrong, UK)

09/02 Chateau Les Fontenelles Bergerac Sec 2001
Refreshing, crisp, hint of leesiness. QG (Paul Armstrong, UK)

09/02 Berticot Duras Sauvignon Blanc 2001
Quite rich/oily edged SB fruit, almost "hot climate", bit heavy for me. A/QG (Paul Armstrong, UK)

09/02 Berticot Duras Moelleux 1999
Round, soft, pleasant but basically rather simple. QG (Paul Armstrong, UK)

09/02 Chateau Courts les Muts Saussignac 2000
Light green/straw colour. Delicate crystallised fruits nose. Nice light crisp-but-doux style, very refreshing lunchtime tipple. G (Paul Armstrong, UK)

09/02 Chateau Moulin Caresse Montravel Sec 2001
Strong floral/aromatic nose; light, crisp fresh body. Very clean sem/sauv blend. QG/G (Paul Armstrong, UK)

09/02 Chateau Moulin Caresse Montravel Sec Eleve en Fut de Chene 2001
Blend of semillon/sauvignon and muscadelle. All the floral/crisp attributes of the basic cuvee, plus very well judged light oaking to add real complexity. Classy elegant stuff. G/VG (Paul Armstrong, UK)

09/02 Chateau Moulin Caresse Haut Montravel Moelleux Eleve en Fut de Chene 2001
Gentle, soft, very pleasaant but lacks the complexity of the Montravel Sec for me. G (Paul Armstrong, UK)

09/02 2000 Clos Culombu "Prestige" (Corsica) 13%abv
A blend of native grapes Sciacarello and Niellucio with Syrah and Grenache. Medium (-plus) ruby in colour, with solid aromas of black fruit and high-toned herbs. Dry, with zingy acidity, ripe tannins, and flavours as nose - it felt a bit lighter in the mouth than I expected, but it's a very nice Rhone-style juice. (Gary Werner, USA)

09/02 Chateau Tour des Gendres Bergerac 2001
Bright young fruit, simple but tasty. QG (Paul Armstrong, UK)

09/02 Chateau Tour des Gendres Cotes de Bergerac Cuvee La Gloire de Mon Pere 1999
Lots of newish oak on the nose, rich dense black and red fruits, impressive but not yet very integrated. Will probably soften and improve. G (Paul Armstrong, UK)

09/02 Chateau Richard Bergerac Cuvee Osee 2000
Lovely purple colour. Beautiful depth and purity of fruit, once you get past a bit of initial rustic/volatile bottle stink. Delicious gamey complexity builds in the mouth over time. G/VG (Paul Armstrong, UK)

09/02 Chateau Corbiac Pecharmant 1999
Good intensity of smoky fruit, but a bit too woody and green-edged for now at least. QG/G (Paul Armstrong, UK)

09/02 Chateau Corbiac Pecharmant 2000
Excellent smoky black/red fruits, clean, taut, dry and poised. Much better than the 1999. G/VG, maybe more with the benefit of extended aging. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

09/02 Domaine des Costes Pecharmant Cuvee Tradition 1999
Tobacco/cigar butts nose after initial opening. Moderately rich, meaty, smoky mouthful, almost Graves like. G (Paul Armstrong, UK)

09/02 Chateau Le Mayne Cotes de Bergerac Cuvee Reservee 1996
Warm, rich, spicy, quite oaky, nicely mature though, with a touch of complex volatility and Cotes du Rhonish warmth to it. Not typical perhaps but G (Paul Armstrong, UK)

09/02 Domaine de l'Ancienne Cure Bergerac 2000
Quite good fruit but some hollowness and greenness too. A/QG (Paul Armstrong, UK)

09/02 Hauts de Berticot Cotes de Duras Fut de Chene 1999
Rustic, chewy, goodish flavour, touch volatile. A/QG (Paul Armstrong, UK)

09/02 La Chapelle St Laurent Cotes du Marmandais 2000
Bright, flavoursome, gluggable stuff, very good value at 2.3 euros. A/QG (Paul Armstrong, UK)

09/02 Chateau Le Mayne Cotes de Bergerac 1999
Vigorous, warm spicy hints, no rough edges at all. QG (Paul Armstrong, UK)

09/02 Chateau Moulin Caresse Cotes de Bergerac Cuvee Prestige 1999
Decanted breakfast for dinner. Lovely blackcurrant and vanilla oak nose. Super silky depth of blackcurrant fruit, but not yet integrated with the oak. Leave 3 years. VG (Paul Armstrong, UK)

09/02 Marquis de Fraysse Bergerac 2000
A bit too green and mouth-puckering. A (Paul Armstrong, UK)

09/02 Berticot Duras Merlot 2001
Inoffensive gently herby Merlot. A (Paul Armstrong, UK)

09/02 Berticot Cotes de Duras Fut de Chene 1999
Nice smoky maturing nose, but palate doesn't match it. QG (Paul Armstrong, UK)

09/02 Clos Le Joncal Bergerac Les Hauts de Fontette 2000
Impressive intensity of fruit and oak, but worried about the balance of this for aging. Seems a bit high acid, rustic and maybe even volatile. A/QG (Paul Armstrong, UK)

09/02 St V de St Vivien Bergerac 2000
Fresh, fruity, gently grassy glugger. Very clean and fun. QG (Paul Armstrong, UK)

09/02 Domaine du Siorac Cotes de Bergerac Haute Cuvee 1996
HIgh toned, high acid but with very nice mature smoky/spicy dried fruit flavours. Very characterful, if not quite perfectly balanced. G (Paul Armstrong, UK)

09/02 Domaine Berthoumieu Madiran Cuvee Charles de Batz 1996
Very deep blackish purple. Big tears. Deep and brooding, wild and earthy, but with intense fruity core that expands in the mouth. Very nice acidity too. VG/E (Paul Armstrong, UK)

09/02 Chateau Montus Madiran 1994
From a half. Still young and tight it would appear. Smoother textured than the Berthoumieu, but drier and with less rich fruit. Perhaps still in a closed down phase? G/VG (Paul Armstrong, UK)

09/02 Chateau Le Mayne Cotes de Bergerac 1998
Highish acid, spicy/sweet fruit, more CdR than CdBergerac, tasty but somewhat rustic style. A/QG (Paul Armstrong, UK)

09/02 Chateau Moulin Caresse Bergerac Fut de Chene 2000
Quite light and elegant, frssh red fruits with gentle hint of capsicum. G (Paul Armstrong, UK)

08/02 Chateau Puygueraud Cotes de Francs 1996
Purple red with watery rim. Good tears. Nose: leafy, somewhat oaky/woody, meaty hints. Palate: chewy, cool earthy fruit. With time a mature savoury/meaty complexity emerges. Very Good. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

08/02 Domaine Montpertuis Vignoble de la Ramiere Cepage Counoise Vin de Pays du Gard 2000
Rich dark red colour. Nose: rose petals, orange peel and strawberry jam. Lovely lifted character (reminds me of Graciano grape). Palate: grenache-like squidgy jam and white pepper. Long smooth finish. Tasty mouthful. Good. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

07/02 Jean Balmont Chardonnay 2001 VdP du Jardin de la France
Very pale straw with slightly greenish tinge. Very pleasant nose - bright zingy fruit with a certain butteriness. Light & v. fresh attack. Fills nicely. Fresh and clean with fair length. Very pleasant, very drinkable. VG. Like it lots (Andrew Stevenson, UK)

07/02 Cuvee Elise Blanc de Blancs Demi Sec. NV
V. v. pale straw. Attractive floral nose with a hint of grapiness. Light and fresh, slightly floral attack. Fills with some richness and acid. More richness then a touch of sweetness. Definitely some nice acid to counterbalance the sweetness. Fairly simple, but has a bit of interest. Very attractive and very easy to drink. Very pleasant to good - VG at price. (Andrew Stevenson, UK)

07/02 Cuvee de Richard [white] 2001 VdP Comte Tolosan
V.v. pale straw with a hint of pink. Attractive, light, fresh, peachy nose. Good attack - clean and fresh. Quite crisp with a nice acidity, esp on finish. But not searingly dry. Bit rough and ready on the middle, but finishes well, with decent length. Light & attractive. VG at the price. (Andrew Stevenson, UK)

07/02 Cuvee des Amandiers 2001 VdP d'Oc
Bright, vibrant raspberry/blackberry with clear signs of youth. Lots of v. slow legs. Inoffensive nose - warm - notably Rhone-ish with some scented spice. Nice attack. Light with lots of fruit. Fills well - develops nice structure. V. clean. Finishes nicely with v. great length. Very pleasant. Good at the price. (Andrew Stevenson, UK)

07/02 Domaine des Bois du Garn Cotes du Vivarais 2000
V young looking deep purple. Warm, rich Rhoney nose. Good fruit, slightly scented. Fair attack. Quite light. Fills ok. Bit of acid. Clean & lightish, v young tannins. bit lacking in fruit & balance. OK but very uninteresting. (Andrew Stevenson, UK)

06/02 Domaine Bunain Mas de la Rouviere Bandol 1999
55% Mourvedre, 20% Grenache, 20% Cinsault, 5% Syrah. More saturated purple here. Very stinky nose of cow shit and barnyard, nocturnal and very slightly volatile, oily and painty in texture and intensity. Not showing much fruit and not very charming; a bit too warm in style though tasted from these appalling Savoy goblets any hefty red would be. Quite short finish. Not so convincing. L10.75. (Nerval, UK)

06/02 Union des Producteurs Plaimont AOVDQS Côtes de Saint Mont Les Vignes Retrouvées 2000
60% Gros Manseng, 20% Arrufiac, 20% Petit Courbu. Very yeasty nose as of sur lie ageing, not too distinctive really. Quite long but austere in mouth, lacking an element which ouwld give it extra interest. Mineral finish but lacking body. L5. (Nerval, UK)

06/02 Valette-Fontaine El Principal Pirque 1999
85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Carmenere, 7% Merlot, yields 27 hl/ha, 16 months of Demptos oak. Elegant, Bordeaux-esque nose with great juiciness and fine concentration, lots of cassis aromas and cinnamonny-nutmeggy barrique spice. In mouth the Cabernet shows in a strong green pepper note. Quite elegant, though certainly not the greatest Chilean wine ever. Slightly inky, not too long, lacking some intensity of fruit at mid-palate. Rather expensive at L23. (Nerval, UK)

06/02 Les Producteurs Réunis Foncalieu VdP d'Oc Montagne Noire Grenache 2000
Medium uniform purple. Quite typical, airy and elegant nose with hints of gravelly soil but mainly ripe cherry fruit. Not too charming in mouth, but a solid food wine, simple and inexpensive, with a touch of concentration showing perhaps at mid-palate. Very good at L4. (Nerval, UK)

06/02 Catherine et Guy Cuisset Bergerac sec La Combe de Grinou 2000
50% Sauvignon, 50% Sémillon. Nice light golden colour. Yeasty and slightly toasted nose; quite soft in mouth, not so vegetal, with a cooked / stale butter note on the finish. Round but rather short. L5.50. (Nerval, UK)

06/02 Domaine de Saissac VdP d'Oc Cabernet Sauvignon 1999
Oak-aged. Good nose with concentrated, very ripe fruit with even some notes of soupiness / inkiness, quite balsamic, not as vegetal as some Oc Cabernets. Very good in mouth, heavily fruity with fruits de bois character, some Cab tannins showing on the finish. Very good indeed, especially at L4.50. (Nerval, UK)

06/02 Domaine du Jardin VdP de l'Aude 2000
70% Sauvignon, the balance being Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris, Chardonnay and Muscat. Lots of givré fruit on the nose, not too vegetal, but showing green in mouth with notes of peas and beans. So-so. L5. (Nerval, UK)

06/02 Armit Wines French Red VdP de l'Aude 2000
Producer as above, labelled as Armit's own. 100% old-vine Carignan. Dark but faded ruby hue. Airy, slightly custardy nose, with a caraway-like Carignan spiciness. Good juiciness but again lacks a touch of sweetness to the fruit. Shows generous yields, I thought. L4. (Nerval, UK)

06/02 Domaine Richeaume Côtes-de-Provence Cuvée Tradition 1999
Organic Cabernet and Syrah blend. Dark and opaque colour. Lots of almonds on the nose, again a sligtly ungiving food wine which shows juicy in mouth, with good purity of fruit, quite long. This is in a light register, texturally rather watery but showing a good, interesting palate with a tannic finish. Rather elegant than concentrated but very drinkable and convincing. L9.35. (Nerval, UK)

05/02 Les Maitres Vignerons de Tautavel Cotes du Roussillon Village Tautavel 2000
Blimey what a mouthful - and thats just the name! Dark colour. Good to find my old mate Huge nose again. Smoky, minty, spicey - could be a very ripe Chilean. Stewed damson preserve with melon and grapefruit. "Grapefruity" tannins. Cor wot a stunna! No, seriously, this sort of wine could knock how ever many bells it is out of what Chile in particular and other New World producers think they do best - the around a fiver crowd pleaser. 13.5% abv. £5.49 Tesco. (Daron Fincham,UK)

05/02 Domaine Laporte cotes de Roussillon "Domitia" 1999
A crimson colour,with a lovely sheen. A good fruity nose of spicy mixed berries. The tannins are ripe and grainy,strong without being overbearing, the fruit a litle shy at first was berries with a tarry edge come , carigan without a doubt. Overall, a balanced wine which was a joy to drink, which has a lot of life a head of it. excellent. (Russ Sainty, UK)

04/02 Chardonnay Vin de Pays de l'Ardeche 2000
Light in colour, slightly herbal on the nose with some butter scents; good acidity, gooseberry profile, medium intensity. Quite good (Nerval, UK)

04/02 Grande Ardeche Chardonnay Vin de Pays de l'Ardeche 1999
Slightly more elegant on the nose, lighter in texture and body, a bit more perfumed and Chardonnay-varietal, if a bit aggressive in terms of acidity. (Nerval, UK)

03/02 Domaine de Grangeon Vin de Pays des Côteaux de l'Ardeche Viognier 2000
Nice marmalady and very flowery nose, not too heavy and quite elegant, with some new oak, petrol and lychee notes. In mouth marzipan flavours dominate, in fact there's a lot of bitterness and the alcohol lets itself felt, but there's also good tropical fruit, cottony texture and relative balance. OK for Viognier, but lacks some freshness to be really exciting. (Nerval, UK)

03/02 Mouton Pere & Fils VdP des Collines Rhodannienes Viognier 2000
12.5% alc. Nose of Turkish delight and dried fruit, with high amounts of dustiness. Not too much definition in mouth, with a dry, quite un-Viognier finish. Less convincing than the Grangeon. (Nerval, UK)

03/02 Domaine de la Dona Tigana Cassis blanc 1999
Nose of honeysuckle, wax and herbs. Very interesting white. (Nerval, UK)

03/02 Domaine des Chenes Côtes du Roussillon Les Magdaleniens 1999
Grenache Blanc and Roussanne. Lots of ripe fruit covered by herbal oak. Very fat in mouth. Anonymous. (Nerval, UK)

03/02 Château Grande Cassagne Costieres de Nîmes Blanc 2000
Grenache Blanc and Roussanne. Lots of minerality and gras on the nose, nicely, gently perfumed. Very intense on the palate, in fact almost ashy in its mineral drive, but truly impressive white which is very typical of Grenache. A bargain at L6. (Nerval, UK)

03/02 Château Grande Cassagne Costieres de Nîmes La Civette 2000
60% Grenache, 40% Syrah. Nice cherry ruby. A slightly barnyardy, but again quite elegant and focused blend. Long, slightly metallic finish. An authentic wine with personality. Needs a year in bottle. Very good. (Nerval, UK)

03/02 Château Grande Cassagne Costières de Nîmes Les Rameaux 2000
100% Syrah. Much darker in the glass. Sweeter, fruitier nose than the Civette, showing more bitter herbs on the nose but evidently with more stuffing to the structure. Also good elegance on the palate, if there's a garrigue-like rustic bite on the finish. Very good. (Nerval, UK)

03/02 Château Grande Cassagne Costières de Nîmes Les Rameaux 1999
Full ruby. Very meaty Syrah nose with hints of orange peel. Slightly stemmy and vague on the palate, quite long and juicy. Syrah-dominated, lacks some lushness, slightly bitter and metallic on the finish. An OK wine but nowhere as good as the 2000. (Nerval, UK)

03/02 Domaine Font-Caude Côtes du Lubéron Les Boissieres 1997
Not too dark purple. Sweet strawberry and a touch of milk on the nose; soft, focused sweet fruit on the palate with notes of fresh raspberry and some biscuit on the finish. Subsidiary flavours of strawberry, spice and raw meat. Scores high for elegance. (Nerval, UK)

03/02 Castelmaure Corbieres Cuvée n. 3 1998
Blend of Carignan, Syrah and Grenache from old vines. Medium purple. Nice nose of macerated cherries and black fruit, with some oak, but elegantly integrated oak. Slightly balsamic and opaque in mouth, with acids bit low IMO. Thick matter here which needs some time to soften, otherwise a very drinkable, well-made red. L15. (Nerval, UK)

03/02 Château Roquefort St-Martin Corbieres Grande Réserve 1998
Another wine from the Tardieu-Laurent stable. A blend of Carignan, Grenache and Mourvedre, with a hefty 14.5% alc. Very deep purple colour. Nose has some oak and woman's perfume, plus some almondy VA, with a very juicy and focused cherry follow-up on the palate. Slightly bitter and stemmy on the finish, also quite milky / creamy from the oak, but with inviting, if odd, flavours of hibiscus, flowers and leaves. Long. Should prove outstanding with time. (Nerval, UK)

03/02 Domaine de Terre Magere Côteaux du Languedoc Les Dolomies 1998
Mainly Syrah, L7. Dark purple. Gently perfumed nose of sweet cherry, freshly picked raspberry and cherry syrup, in fact rather Grenache-like. Not too thick on the palate, slightly gamey, lacking a touch of acid, but quite good for the price. (Nerval, UK)

03/02 Domaine de Baubiac VdP d'Oc Merlot 1999
Medium ruby. Nose of fruit ratafia and syrup, also quite sweet in mouth, with some spiciness as of Syrah. Good acidity and length. (Nerval, UK)

03/02 Elian da Ros VdP de l'Agenais Vignoble de Cocumont 1999
L5.95, a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Medium purple in the glass. Shy leafy nose with a pronounced note of lead pencil, quite tannic in mouth, but drinking nicely. Good length. Good value Bordeaux blend. (Nerval, UK)

03/02 Elian da Ros Côtes du Marmandais Clos Baquey 1998
A blend of Merlot and Syrah. Very warm nose. Juicy sour cherry on the palate, not exactly charming but with some intensity of fruit. The finish combines sausagey Syrah and vegetal Merlot, not a dream combination. Quite long, mildly tannic, with a touch of Cabernet I think in a positively bell-peppery crunchy note somewhere. OK stuff. (Nerval, UK)

03/02 Domaine Montvac Vacqueyras 1999
This cuvée is 100% Grenache and might be a special one, but there was no label on the bottle. Opened in the morning of the evening when I tried it. Nose of griotte, ash, cinnamon and cedar. Soft fruit on the palate, with medium body and some acidity. Very good. L15. (Nerval, UK)

03/02 Domaine de la Bégude Bandol 1998
Mourvedre, Cinsault, Grenache, L12.50. A brilliant Bandol: deep purple in colour, with deep sweet griotte fruit and some spice on the nose, while the palate is all about sweet currant and woman's perfume. Serious wine. (Nerval, UK)

02/02 Cuvee Columelle 1998, Domaine Richeaume, AOC Côtes de Provence
Caramel, blackberries and cherries on the nose. Lovely palate with flavours of ripe blackberries and redcurrants followed through by dry tannins on a well balanced, slightly spicy finish. 16/20 (Paul Anderson, UK)

02/02 Cuvee Marie 1997, Domaine de Paradis, AOC Côteaux d'Aix en Provence
Slight caramel with whiffs of mint leaf on the nose. Blackcurrants and hints of tar on the medium bodied palate with a lovely dry spicy finish and clean acidity. 16.5/20 (Paul Anderson, UK)

02/02 Domaine Cauhape Jurancon Sec Chant des Vignes 99
Intense grassy/floral/freesia/marzipan nose, maybe a touch of botrytis too. Green/gold colour, intense dry greengagey fruit, floral, gently petrolly edge. Long smooth finish. VG/E (Paul Armstrong, UK)

02/02 Alquier Reserve Les Bastides Faugeres 95
Bright orangey red colour. Nose of green olives, bitter brambly fruits. Plummy fruits, slightly astringent, slightly tart finish. G/VG (Paul Armstrong, UK)

02/02 Jurancon 1996, Domaine de Soch
Great desert wine. All the flavour and sweetness you could want. Still not totally in balance, this could have don with a few more years. One of my friends only drinks sweet wine and this was her bottle for the evening. (Cameron Clark, Holland)

01/02 Chateau Montus Madiran 1983
Deep ruby, some browning at rim, but looks younger than 17 years. Developed nose of blackcurrants, plums and spice with a certain meatiness. Smooth on the palate - tannins tamed by age. Quite complex with black fruits still holding up well, supported by spice, game and mineral flavours. Good length. Ready now and OK for another year or two. Reasonable value at £25. (Trevor March, UK)

12/01 Chateau Pigoudet 1997
Picked this up in Aix en Provence for about 50 FF. Deep garnet no fade to rim, Solid sweet black fruits on nose backed by savoury herbs and olive . Fruity cassis on palate supported by some oak but with a lovely savoury tapenade /aniseed finish. Very well balanced and drinking very well now. (Stephen Pickles, UK)

11/01 Chateau Pradeaux Bandol 1966
Deep brick red colour, fading to rim. Very strong leather and 'blue cheese' nose with fig fruit. Very interesting palate of bramble fruit ( like bramble liqueur),roasted figs,black treacle ,leather and a spicy kick to the long,long finish. (Stephen Pickles, UK)

11/01 Domaine du Gros' Noré Rose 1999
Pale pink, fruity nose and a sweet cherry palate - good (Stephen Pickles, UK) (Stephen Pickles, UK)

11/01 Domaine du Gros' Noré Rose 2000
Similar pink to the 99, more floral rose on the nose with a sweet rose and redcurrant palate and savoury herb tinged finish - Vgood (Stephen Pickles, UK)

11/01 Domaine du Gros' Noré Red 1999
Quite dark purple, very rich bramble nose and the palate follows with plummy fat bramble fruit and lots of tannin still to shed. Vgood ( but needs time) (Stephen Pickles, UK)

11/01 Domaine du Gros' Noré Red 2000 - barrel sample
This was amazing - very dark purple, big fruity nose of bramble and dark fruits. The palate was rich blueberry and bramble, still loads of tannin but this was verging on the excellent. Its bottled next april and I think Alain knew he had something special here. Get your hands on it if you can (Stephen Pickles, UK)

10/01 Domaine Tempier 1996 Cuvee Tourtine - Bandol, from a 1/2
Still deep purple( difficult to say in restaurant), Fantastic smoky,damson/bramble nose, pure fruit on palate,dense bramble and damson with good finish. Nicely balance now tannin has started to recede VG+ (Stephen Pickles, UK)

10/01 Domaine Terrebrune Rouge 1998 - Bandol
Big nose of bramble and forest fruits with some earthy tones, very tannic but with good blueberry and bramble fruit. Would be lovely given 2-3 years (Stephen Pickles, UK)

10/01 2000 Grande Cassagne Blanc (rousanne/grenache blanc)
Lovely fresh, almost floral/citrus style, enough weight and roundness on the palate to stop this wine being irreverent. (£6) (Nick Alabaster, UK)

10/01 2000 Viognier Dom du Gragngeon
Good apricotty nose, fresh flowery palate. Touch of butter on a ripe and rounded palate but not too soft. Well made, will stay 2-3 years I'm sure. (£9) (Nick Alabaster, UK)

10/01 1999 Dom. Terre Megere La Galopine Viognier
Good traditional styled viognier, a little fat and forward perhaps but this one drinks well and has a good fresh streak of acidity to take it a step above blowsy. A drink me now wine (£10) (Nick Alabaster, UK)

10/01 1999 Dom. Terre Megere Merlot
Warm, toasty/spicy, almost Chileanesque plummy merlot (the way they used to do it at this price) merlot. Good, unpretentious drinking with a bit more class than most. (£5.50) (Nick Alabaster, UK)

10/01 1999 Chante Coucou, Marmadais Rouge, Elian da Ros (syrah/cab/merlot)
Lovely, warm smoked/toasted black berry/currant nose. Good palate - balanced showing good structure but forward and drinkable now for a good few years. (£10) (Nick Alabaster, UK)

10/01 1999 Clos Baquey, Marmadais Rouge, Elian da Ros (syrah/cab/merlot)
Subtler oak, more syrah, good structure but even more integrated and flattering. (£13) (Nick Alabaster, UK)

10/01 1999 Bandol Domaine Lafran-Veyrolles
'Perfect' mouvedre black fruited nose with fruity sweetness running throughout. Palate good all-round, exciting bandol (£13) (Nick Alabaster, UK)

10/01 1999 Solen Dom. Les Aurelles, Languedoc (Carignan/grenache)
Smooth, silky, lightly jammy nose. Very attractive fruitiness and easy drinking. Pricey for this style of wine by nonetheless a real pleaser (£12) (Nick Alabaster, UK)

10/01 1999 Mas de Daumas Gassac
Jammy (syrah influence prob.) fruit meets gently cedary Bordeaux. Lighter than expected, with cedar laced blackcurrant and surprisingly forward, palate with integrated structure. A lovely early drinking Daumas with a lot of character and charm for drinking now onwards. (£15) (Nick Alabaster, UK)

10/01 1999 Roc d'Anglade, Couteaux du Languedoc (syrah/grenache)
The best wine of the tasting barring the unavailable '98 Grange des Peres. Terrific Cote Rotie like bacon fatty syrah, really spot on. Perfect ripeness, excellent concentration, lovely balance and subtle but good structure. Same bacon fat note running through the palate, finishes clean and fresh rather than long but with some attractive lingering warmth. Impressive (£25) (Nick Alabaster, UK)

10/01 1999 Les Declinaisons Occitanes, Mas de 'lEcriture (cinsault/carignan)
Good old viney concentration and sweetness - spicy red fruits. Warm but balanced palate through to gently warm finish. Great winter drinking (£12.50) (Nick Alabaster, UK)

10/01 1999 Mas de 'lEcriture Rouge (syrah/grenache)
Outrageously concentrated syrah (even with the 15% grenache), brand new oak is submerged giving added sweetness rather than intrusive. Same almost New Worldy, concentrated essence of plum/black berry syrah. Is it France ? Maybe not so obvious, but I shall hold a bottle back to see if it shakes off it's strong international imprint to reveal something even more compelling. An Armagh of the South, without a doubt. (£25)

10/01 La Cuvee Mythique, 1998
Lovely dark fruits with really strong herbal flavours as well. Beatiful smell of herbs with a slight but pleasant medicinal edge. For me one of the best sub £5 (on offer in the Co-Op) wines I've tried for a long time. My previous experience of this wine had again been lacking in fruit and without the strong herbal flavours. (Mark Pearce, UK)

09/01 Les Bastides d'Alquier, Faugeries 1995
A deep crimson colour slighty garnet,cooked blackberries and spice on the nose.Rich palate good clean fruit, not simple, cleaning but ripe tannins on a long finish.Slight rounder the next day. Overall, an "excellent" wine, 18/20. Will probably age further(5 years?)but ready now. (Russ Sainty, UK)

09/01 Mas St. Vincent 1998 Coteaux du Languedoc, Oddbins
Bright purple red, loads of fresh raspberry fruit with good balancing acidity, some peppery spice and slight barnyard on the nose. Enjoyed this on release, did not think it was one for aging but this bottle has survived and even benefitted from over two years in my cold cellar. With such good fruit, balance, only 12% alcohol, no oak, and plenty of charm for only £4.99, what more do you want? (Charles Adams, UK)

09/01 Michael Laroche (VdP) 2000 Chardonnay
Straw colour. Although the nose initially had quite marked apply/malo acidity, the overall sense of freshness combined with weight (also 13.5%), made for a good allround number to match with food or sip on it's own. Next day, as I write, the nose has more peachy fruit, the oxygen has filled out the palate further and the overall impression is pretty weighty, yet balanced and certainly nicely judged ripeness. The IWC actually called a good one with the Laroche and I'll go back for more at £6 (Somerfield). (Nick Alabaster, UK)

09/01 Bergerie de L'Hortus Classique 1999, Pic St Loup
Refreshingly, this new-wave southern French red is not some overoaked 14° alcohol monster, but instead is a classic example of why Pic St Loup is one of the most impressive communes in the Languedoc. The nose is deliciously meaty, herby, smoky and earthy, with some raspberry/damson fruit. The palate shows meaty, olive-laced fruit with quite high acidity and a lovely savoury character. Good balance. Very good/excellent (£8.50 Lea & Sandeman, Handford) (Jamie Goode, UK)

08/01 Gaillac Rouge 1996 Combe d'Avès, Domaine de la Ramaye
The wine is made from traditional Gaillac grapes (no Merlot or Syrah, even) Braucol (Fer Servadou), Duras for this red, hand-picked, vinified in oak for 30 months. This wine was made from the deuxieme tri, only 5000 bottles being produced. Colour: a soft, ruby red, reminiscent of a good beaujolais cru (there the comparison ends!). Nose: oaky, but fruity too with a degree of discernible prickly spice giving a fresh bouquet. Palate: rich and soft, more delicate than I remembered from the original dégustation, and pleasingly fruity, with ripe cherries and substantial red fruits pleasantly balanced by strong but not overbearing oak (considering the time it spent in wood). My impression was that the fruit was fading slightly, though gently and subtly, and that their prediction that this wine had 15 years in it was slightly optimistic. Length: good, if not remarkable, but a very pleasing wine indeed. (Matthew Mellor, UK)

07/01 1998 Lledoner Pelut - Dom. de la Colombette (Coteaux du Libron)
I'm told this is a hairy small-berried relative of Grenache .... Quite deep purple/red. Attractive and potent nose of very ripe plums and blackberries. Tons of sweet ripe fruit on the palate, together with a hint of minerals. Very smooth tannins. 14% alc, but nicely balanced. Good length. Ready now, but will keep a year or two. Good with a BBQ (nice alternative to New World) and also without food, so it has its place. £13-95 from La Reserve. (Trevor March, UK)

07/01 Dom de L'Hospitalet 'Cuvee Beatrice Blanc' 1999, La Clape
As usual I was expecting the big let down, but NO!! and no in a big way. Somewhat more of a bright & alluring beautifully balanced wine with rather good, slightly spicy, savoury textured exotic fruit, with life and zest and a nutty green olive and cashew backdrop, plus a whisper of smoke. Balanced alcohol (12.5%) and an excellent finish. Pretty damn good stuff. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

07/01 Domaine de la Rectoire, La Goudie 1999
Medium strawberry pink. Rich nose - strawberries, plums, red pepper & a hint of citrus. Average attack. Good depth of flavour. Fills well - very well indeed. Very smooth and rich, almost buttery. Just a tiny bit off-dry. Finishes cleanly - very cleanly for a rosé - and with good length. An unusually satisfying rosé. (Andrew Stevenson, UK)

07/01 Mas de Daumas Gassac White 1996
When I opened this I thought "Ere we go - its gonna be oxidised and taste like sherry!" Such was the deep, deep burnished gold colour. Quite extraordinary. However, the nose showed no signs of oxidative damage and was sweet smelling. No idea what of though. I tried to kid myself it was apricot, but unsuccessfully. The back label says Viognier - P. Manseng - Chardonnay pour 90%. My French is useless so I don't know whether this means its 90% chardonnay or not. (First geek to tell me gets a slap with a halibut.) The palate was so, so soft. Almost "flabby". There was very little acidity in this wine and it tatsted a bit gloopy and sweet - almost like a dessert wine. 12.9% abv. £12.79 (with 20% off) from Tesco. I wouldn't buy it again. (Daron Fincham, UK)

06/01 "Kiwi Cuvee" Vins de Pays du Jardin de la France 2000
Nose: hints of grass and gooseberry, but a bit shy compared to the New Zealand examples. Palate: Clean, dry, correct but a little dull. Quite good and good value at £3.99 at Oddbins. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

05/01 SIVIR 1929 Banyuls Grand Cru
More red/brown than brown/red - in other words surprisingly youthful in appearance. Wonderful rich raisin and caramel nose. Similar on the palate. Great length. Glorious with a rich chocolate pudding. (Trevor March, UK)

05/01 Bandol - Ch.Pradeaux 1985
Still showing good colour and at the peak of it's maturity. Lovely integrated fruits and soft tannins. Good black fruit flavours and length. (David Pearce, UK)

04/01 Muscat Sec 1998, Domaine la Colombette
Somehow manages to evoke a cross between a riesling and a sauvignon: perfumed and floral, with slight hints of tropicality, but also a rather green streak. On the palette, it starts rather sweet, and shows passable acid/alcohol balance in a purely technical sense. But it just can't make up its mind whether to be big and bolshy or delicate and genteel, and so fails to be either. The finish falls apart into an unhappy quarrel between the alcohol and the tropical fruit, and I'm bored of it after half a glass. (Lucian Holland, UK)

04/01 1993 Chateau Montus (Madiran) - Alain Brumont
Drunk in a restaurant with too much lemon in my main course to give a decent TN, however, deep red still with hints of purple(!). This wine overflows with clean & pure blackcurrant and blackberry character. Medium bodied with good acidity and reasonable tannin. Everyone said it was good, so what more can I say? (Bill Nanson, Switzerlamd)

1990 Ch. La Voulte-Gasparets, Cuvee ‘Romain Pauc’, Corbieres
Not sure of the cepage, but this offers a welcome change with dark fruits, some jam but most importantly, funk. Hints of high alcohol. Fairly high acid, but recognisably Southern French with the hot, ripe character, and drinking quite well now (Yixin Ong, UK/Singapore)

03/01 Chateau Simone, Palette 1988
Light plum core fading off to a mahogony rim. On the nose, there is some spicy, old oak influence with almost a Bordeaux (Cru Bourgueis) feel to it but with the sensation of Provence. Not that I have much Bordeaux experience. A medium bodied wine with quite a svelte or streamlined caress to it. Doesn't seem it's age. Very Good (Phil Wilkins, UK)

03/01 Chateau Simone, Palette 1993
A darker, younger looking wine. The nose suggests a little more of breaded mushrooms, olives and herbs but in a very subtle way. It seems much softer and less spicy than the 1988, but in a way, quite comparable. Very Good. (Phil Wilkins, UK)

02/01 1994 Petit Clos Centeilles, Minervois
The ‘baby’ wine of a well-regarded estate. Game, spice, some alcohol poking out, but with nice black and red fruit, fairly Syrah like in its own way, and a dark earthy edge on the palate that provides more than enough interest. Good balance, I thought, and went well with my lamb chops. (Yixin Ong, UK/Singapore)

02/01 Mas de Daumas Gassac Red blend 1995
Disappointing the first night, this came to life two days later. Brooding dark red/black, you just know this is going to be one of those "hard" wines - both to taste and understand. The nose - what there is of it - has fleeting scents of the cabernet and syrah within. This "Mas" is in the claret mould (I've had them that seemed Chateauneuf before) and is a wine for the intellectual rather than the hedonist. The palate is bone dry. The tannins seem to be from the wood use, a bit like '94 claret. You can tell a lot of wine making effort has gone into this, but it won't be for everybody, especially at £16.99 from Thresher. 12.9% alcohol by volume. (Daron Fincham, UK)

01/01 Domaine La Dona Tigana 1999 Cassis
This southern French white is a bit shy on the nose. It’s light and fresh, with a hint of a floral note on the palate and zippy acidity. Fine for washing your Bouillabaisse down with on a hot summers day in the Mediterranean, but a little bit neutral and acidic. Interestingly, this is the Domaine of Jean Tigana, the French international football player who now manages Fulham FC (Jamie Goode, UK)

12/00 Domaine Lafran Veyrolles 1998 Bandol
This is a small 10 ha domaine in Bandol with a good reputation. A blend of Mourvèdre, Grenache and Cinsault, this is lovely stuff. Delightful, full, animal-like nose with cinnamon spice and herbs. Dense, savoury, herbal palate; complex and tannic. Needs time. Very good/excellent (£11.95 La Vigneronne) (Jamie Goode, UK)

12/00 Domaine Lafran Veyrolles 1998 Bandol Cuvée Longue Garde
Tannic and youthful, this has a rich, herby nose that is just a little muted (as is quite common in southern wines destined for long ageing). Complex, deep and herby on the palate with firm tannins and lots of density. Needs lots of time. Very good + with the potential to be excellent in a decade or so. (£15.95 La Vigneronne) (Jamie Goode, UK)

12/00 Domaine Gros' Noré 1998 Bandol
From a new domaine owned by Alain Pascal, who rents 15 ha of vines (those in the know say this is the domaine to look out for). Deep red/black colour, this has an attractive but slightly muted nose of minerals and smoke. On the palate it is dense, youthful and tannic with a herbal edfe to the fruit. Shows great promise and needs some time in bottle to reach its potential. Very good+ (£14.95 La Vigneronne) (Jamie Goode, UK)

09/00 Château Grande Cassagne, Costières de Nîmes Blanc 1999
Grenache Blanc (80%) and Roussanne (20%). Lovely full, rounded nose. Attractively floral and waxy. On the palate this is crisp and full flavoured, with a touch of oak. Very impressive; I'm often unmoved by southern French whites. Very good. (Jamie Goode, UK)

09/00 Domaine la Courtade Côtes du Provence Blanc 1998
A varietal Rolle, this is an impressive aromatic white. Rich aromatic nose: really lovely and floral, with a soft, mellow, peach and apricot palate. Very good + (Jamie Goode, UK)

09/00 Jacques Puffeney, Jura, Arbois Savagnin 1995
A really unusual white wine. Powerful nose just like a fino sherry, with a complex, salty character. On the palate it's wild: viciously dry and savoury, with huge acidity. You simply have to serve this wine with food. Odd but lovely. Very good/excellent. (Jamie Goode, UK)

09/00 Domaine Terre Mégère Cabernet Sauvignon Vin de Pays 1998
Bold, pungent, herbaceous nose with a chocolatey richness on the palate. This is very approachable and is full of character; a great value for money wine. Very good + (Jamie Goode, UK)

09/00 Chateau Grande Cassagne, Costières de Nîmes Rouge, La Civette 1999
A Grenache/Syrah blend, this has an attractive, smoky nose with a nice spice and mineral palate. Medium weight, this is an appealing, spicy wine. Very good (Jamie Goode, UK)

09/00 Chateau Grande Cassagne, Costières de Nîmes Rouge, Les Rameaux 1999
This is a Syrah, and it’s a bit deeper coloured than its sibling. There's a mineral edge to the nose, and it has spicy, earthy notes. Overall, it is an attractive mid-weight juicily fruited red with good balance. Good/very good (Jamie Goode, UK)

09/00 Domaine de la Casa Blanca Collioure 1998
60% Grenache/40% Syrah. Muted, stony, caramel nose. Soft and earthy on the palate, this is a nicely balanced southern wine -- you can almost taste the summer heat. Very good. (Jamie Goode, UK)

09/00 Domaine des Chênes Côtes du Roussillon Tautavel 1997
A powerful, stunning wine of real character. Herby, medicinal, pungent nose. Concentrated, mouth-filling, meaty palate. Delicious and individual. Excellent (Jamie Goode, UK)

09/00 Domaine du Baruel Vin de Pays de Cévenees 1998
A Cabernet/Syrah blend. Muted nose. Lighter than previous vintages, this is a boldly fruited but rather simple wine, with some dry tannins. Good + (Jamie Goode, UK)

09/00 Domaine du Baruel Vin de Pays de Cévenees Cuvée Fontanilles 1998
A varietal Syrah. Dense red/black colour, with ripe fruit and plenty of structure. May be ageworthy. Very good. (Jamie Goode, UK)

09/00 Château Montus Madiran 1998
Mostly Tannat, but there's also a substantial contribution from other grapes. Dense purple/black colour. This is a dense, savoury, tannic beast with a pronounced barnyardy, cheesy, animal nose. It's all in great balance though: a lovely, individual wine, but don't open for at least five years. Very good/excellent. (Jamie Goode, UK)

09/00 Domaine Lafran Veyrolles Bandol Cuvée Longue Garde 1997
Mourvèdre is the grape here. Red/black colour, with a herby, savoury nose. Lovely palate: earthy, stony fruit combine with dense tannins to produce a dense wine with great potential. Very good/excellent (Jamie Goode, UK)

09/00 Domaine la Courtade Côtes du Provence Rouge 1998
Another varietal Mourvèdre, in an international blockbuster style. Menthol-laced, toasty/tarry nose. On the palate ripe fruit and new oak are nicely fused. A delicious, concentrated modern-styled wine. Very good + (Jamie Goode, UK)

09/00 Domiane de Ravanès Merlot, Van de Pays de Côteaux de Murviel Les Gravières de Taurou 1998
From an ambitious producer near Beziers, this is the first vintage of this supercharged Merlot, made from low yielding old vines. It's powerful and intoxicating, combining ripe, intense blackcurrant-pastille fruit and new oak pretty effectively, to make the sort of wine bound to make an impression with certain US wine critics. I'm not sure about it: while it's certainly impressive, I'm more drawn to the Southern French wines that rely on traditional varieties and express the regional character more effectively. I'll need to try this one again in another environment. Very good/excellent. (Jamie Goode, UK)

09/00 Domaine de la Casa Blanca Banyuls 1997
A fortified wine from the far south of France. Startling rancio nose. Sweet and well integrated on the palate, with warm southern flavours. Tawnyish and individual. Very good, and good value for money. (Jamie Goode, UK)

08/00 Borie du Maurel Cuvée Sylla Minervois 1998
Perfumed, exotic nose of sweet fruit. Astonishingly intense. Rich and licqouricey with dense fruit, olives and firm tannins. Despite the concentration, this is a soft, intense wine. Very good, but a bit soft, lacking balance. Perhaps the grapes were just a bit too ripe? (£12.99 Oddbins) (Jamie Goode, UK)

08/00 Grande Cassagne Hippolyte, Costières de Nimes 1998
Another dense southern French superwine. Slightly muted, bready nose with masses of sweet, ripe fruit on the palate. There are firm tannins and good acidity balancing the ripe fruit. Very good, but lacks a tiny bit of excitement. (Jamie Goode, UK)

08/00 Château Reig Coillioure 1991
Soft, dusty mature red with firm tannins. A lovely southern wine with firm acidity and mature character. Good. (Jamie Goode, UK)

06/00 Domaine des Courtilles 1998, Cobières AOC
A blend of Syrah, Grenache and Carignan. It is a vibrant red/purple colour. Intense nose of herbs and liquorice. Ripe and concentrated with flavours of pepper, cherries, vanilla, cinnamon (from the Grenache?) and wet stones (from the Carignan?). With soft tannins, this is distinctively a Corbières wine, yet it has the softness and fruit of a new world wine. Very good, but unusual. (£8.99, Waitrose) (Jamie Goode - UK)

06/00 Château de Cazeneuve Pic-St-Loup 1997 Le Roc des Mates
A £7 wine that tastes like a £15 wine. Deep red/purple colour. Rich, herby and earthy with meaty fruit -- there is also some pepper spice character. Authentic wine with good complexity (there may be some new oak here) with a deep, brooding character that appears to owe more to the vineyard than to the winery. (Fuller's £6.99) (Jamie Goode - UK)

06/00 James Herrick Chardonnay 1999, Vin de Pays d'Oc
Lovely fresh nose of bright fruit. Ripe and full flavoured with a lovely, full creamy texture. Despite the roundedness of the palate, this is not at all fat, with the bright lemony acidity holding everything in balance. With no oak exposure, the depth and complexity comes from lees stirring. Previously I've been unconvinced by Languedoc Chardonnays, but this really gives other Chards at this price a good run for their money. Avoids being technological or synthetic. (£4.99, widely available) (Jamie Goode - UK)

05/00 Chateau Haut Mouleyres (Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon) 1997
Last of the 5 free bottles from the STWC. Lovely golden yellow colour. Moderately intense nose showing goosberries and lemon with a touch of honey. Good, mouthfilling palate, nicely balanced and a lengthy finish. Lost some of its youthful vibrancy, but still a good summer slurper. Went well with chicken and pasta. (Graham Simpson - UK)

05/00 Tempier Bandol Cuvee Special '93
Complex with Funky/undergrowthy/earthy brett influenced black fruits. Also nicely mature, this was best early on, as I found it got progressively less focussed and leaner as time went by. (Nick Alabaster - UK)

02/00 Tempier (Provence) Bandol Miguoa 1997
This surprised me even on the first impression. I had this wine last year and no Miguoa I've drunk was as lean and tannic on the palate as this, or as unflattering on the nose. The '97's are certainly less weighty than the '96s IMHO, but this seemed also to have not much beyond lean bretty fruit. On coming back to this wine, I thought I detected the same cardboardy edge found in the Gevry. Just to make sure I rinsed the glass and poured again. A not so obvious stale/cardboardy taint wafted somewhat unpredictably in and out of the nose. Little character beyond a bretty edge and now getting unpleasantly aggressive on the palate. A pretty sure sign of corking. (Nick Alabaster - UK)

01/00 Tramontane Reserve Viognier, VdP d'Oc, 1997
Appearance: Pale lemon-gold, hint of green
Nose: Classic pine-kernel with mixture of fresh fruits.
Palate: Fresh citrus acidity marries with musky, oily notes. Despite this, palate not rich but light-medium and refreshing. Some length.
Overall: excellent example of the variety considering the cost. (Chris Kissack - UK)