While not a million miles apart, the Rhône Valley and Languedoc wine regions do have considerable differences.
With its long history of quality wine production (particularly with grenache, mourvedre and, especially, syrah) the Rhône Valley has some world-famous offerings.
However, the larger region of Languedoc has a more varied landscape and, possibly as a result, grows a more eclectic mix of grape varieties.
More importantly, though, Languedoc has relatively recently switched away from its earlier role as a bulk producer.
Instead, it is now viewed as an up-and-coming area combining impressive quality with – crucially – value for money.
This post unites them though – and reflects characteristics they seem to have acquired from one another.
Here, the Rhône exhibits brilliant value at a modest price while Languedoc has successfully adapted a wine blend traditionally associated with its opposite number.
Adopting my traditional format, images and, where possible, hyperlinks accompany the assessments of the wines.
First, then the red.
2022 Best Cȏtes du Rhȏne Villages (£7.00 – instead of £8.50 until 26 September – at Morrisons and 14.5% abv):
“Villages” indicates this is a cut above the region’s basic reds.
Around 170 communes are entitled to use the “Côtes du Rhône” name but only 95 can add the “Villages” suffix.
Dark and youthful, the wine’s smooth cherry, plum and loganberry flavours quickly confirm that it is indeed a level above the ordinary.
Accentuating the great value it represents at £7, those flavours are joined by suggestions of paprika, clove, walnuts and vanilla with lively supporting acidity – but firm tannin.
Then that “adapted” white blend
2022 Paul Mas Réserve Languedoc Blanc (£6.99 – instead of £9.99 until 26 September – at Waitrose and 13%):
Along with its iconic reds, France’s Rhône Valley also produces delightfully different and attractively savoury white wines.
Here, though, Languedoc producer Jean-Claude Mas has taken white grapes often used in the Rhône (marsanne and grenache blanc) and provided a local twist by adding vermentino.
Floral with a very clean mouth-feel, the outcome delivers textured pear, peach and greengage flavours.
These are accompanied by tangerine acidity, gentle nuttiness and a saline background but there are also contrasting touches of sweetness.
More News from Eddie.
Running until Monday September 25th Tesco have a 25% off buy 6 bottles deal.
It coincides with a longer running offer using Tesco Clubcard reductions on shelf prices, on some bottles.
But you will need that Clubcard to get the double dip!
What to buy though
Top of my wife's list in this respect is something she always wants in the rack at home these days – the Mucho Mas Tinto from Spain.
That goes for £8.50/£7/£5.25.
It provides a rich, smooth red, for those hearty winter meaty stews, spicy lamb tagines, cheeseboard or just drink as it is; it's a versatile bottle.
Another exceptional Spanish offering, Torres Sangre de Toro, is a terrific quaff but no longer cheap at its usual price.
Here at Tesco, though, it can be as little as £5.25.
That's amazing when it's currently €5.69 on home turf in Carrefour in Tarragona, Catalunya!!! – it’s a Garnacha and Carignan cuvée.
Here, too, is the ever-popular white version from Family Torres at the same money, £5.25.
Note, though, that Tesco have increased the minimum cost of a bottle that can feature in the buy 6 category in England, to £5.50, so be aware of that.
Reverting to the usual “twice a week” posts, the next post is on Monday when value at budget price points continues as the theme for my Top Tips selections.
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