|Domaine de Contenson (France) Merlot 1999|
I seem to have recommended an awful lot of Southern French red wines this year, but the area covered by the Vin de Pays d'Oc really is producing some terrific wines at very reasonable prices. Many are Syrah-based blends, but here is a 100% Merlot bottling that illustrates the bold, fruit-driven style of the region perfectly. the colour is a vibrant ruby and the nose is crammed with summer berry fruit, spice and a little hint of vanilla. On the palate this has plenty of attack and grip, with concentrated red fruit flavours that are ripe and juicy, but given lots of backbone through solid tannins and plenty of acidity. A fresh and deliciously bold style of wine that would be best alongside a cassoulet, braised lamb shanks, or other full-flavoured, meaty dishes.
UK stockist: Safeway £4.49