Having missed a few weeks while getting Gourmet off the ground and preparing for The Wine Gang wine fairs, I'm now throwing a few mid-week wines in. Dudley & de Fleury is well worth a look if you're after some well-chosen wines from small, family-run French operations. The focus is on the south of France, but they venture into other areas and countries too. Below are some highlights from last week’s tasting (sadly, Fanny Sabre-less – don’t ask). I didn’t like everything, especially not the bretty, volatile Garsinde from La Grange de Quatre Sous, and prices are highish, but mostly the wines are all about quality and individuality. Many people will know of Domaine Jones (below) but, for those who don't, it's the tiny (3.3ha) estate established in 2009 by Katie Jones, ex sales and marketing director of the Mont Tauch wine co-op. The vineyards are in Maury and Tuchan and the wines from her debut vintages are incredibly impressive (aka delicious).
Froment-Griffon Brut Tradition NV Champagne, France
Champagne made from a high 85% pinot meunier at a tiny, family run co-operative in the premier cru village of Sermiers in the Vallée de la Marne. Lightly honeyed, peachy fruit, soft textured and well-rounded with a zippy, fresh finish. A crowd-pleaser, but well made and by no means run-of-the-mill.
2008 Virgile Joly Rouge! Coteaux du Languedoc, France
Organic, unoaked blend of syrah (50%), grenache (40%), cinsault and carignan. Juicy, raspberryish fruit with peppery, smoky flavours, soft tannins and a clean, dry, fresh finish. Don’t serve too warm.
2010 Domaine Jones Dry Muscat, Vin de France
Fragrant, grapy and gingery with perfumy white-peach fruit. Refreshing and dry and more substantial in the mouth than you might expect.
2010 Domaine Jones Blanc, Vin de France
Grenache gris with a smidgen of muscat. Rich but effortlessy fresh dry white with mineral, peach and citrus flavours. Delicious.
2009 Domaine Jones Rouge, Vin de France
Old-vine grenache with a touch of carignan. Sweet, but fresh, pure fruit with nutty, mineral and pepper notes and fine tannins.
2009 Lucien Lardy Fleurie Les Roches
Beautifully scented, pure red fruit and rose petals. Rounded and silky but with mineral length and fine tannin. Quite pinot noir-like. Could become burgundian with age.
2010 Gonard et Fils Viré-Clessé
Quite creamy and ripe, but with good acidity and lots of mineral, citrus and apple alongside the riper apricot. Structured and textured.£16.95