2009 Domaine du Cros, Lo Sang del Païs, Marcillac
This could be one of my desert-island wines – the sort of uncomplicated but delicious red that you could drink everyday, with or without food. It goes very well with lamb – and the local aligot. It’s medium-bodied, soft and fresh, with enticing fresh blackcurrant fruit and a distinctive flavour that manages to be both savoury and sweet, combining earthy spice, minerals, graphite and smoky coffee. If you haven’t come across Marcillac before, it’s a tiny appellation in the Aveyron department in southwest France with the darkest red soil I’ve ever seen. The vineyards go up to 600m on steep, often terraced, hillsides. Lo Sang del Païs (the blood of the countryside) is made from vines about 25 years old, the domaine’s younger vines – the rest are closer to 100 years. The grape variety is mansois (sometimes minus the final ‘s’), which is better known as fer or fer servadou and is also known as braucol (in Gaillac) and pinenc (in Saint-Mont). Philippe Teulier and his son Julien cultivate about 30ha, making them them Marcillac’s largest growers. 12.5% abv
£7.75, The Wine Society; Les Caves de Pyrène.
2009 Quinta do Vallado Moscatel Galego Branco, Douro
This extraordinary, young, dry white is made from muscat à petits grains (or moscatel gallego branco), the classiest muscat, in the port-producing Douro region. It’s aromatic, full-bodied and bone-dry with bracing, youthful acidity. The aromas go from fresh grapes to ginger and lime to a powerful, minty, herbal note and it has a lingering, salty-mineral finish. Uncompromising, but very exciting. I love it. Drink with fish, seafood and salads. 14% abv.
2008 Land’s End Sauvignon Blanc, Elim
Medium-bodied, brisk and zesty, with ripe, spicy, green-fruit flavours, a savoury, briny flavour and a nicely textured mid-palate – the latter thanks to a tiny proportion of the wine being barrique-fermented and to 11% semillon filling out the sauvignon. These Elim vineyards, which belong to Hidden Valley in Stellenbosch, are just 17km from the ocean. 13.2% abv
£9.99, or £7.99 by the case, Oddbins.