Three french wines, and a partridge in a pear tree!

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

[In song] On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…. three french wines, and a partridge in a pear tree!
There’s one thing we can all say about Christmas and that is it’s predictable. We have turkey, family, friends, too much food, too much booze, a credit card in the red and a stack of New Years resolutions about to be broken. When it comes to wine the same could be said for the choice available on our high street, little is new and most is predictable. So, discovering wineries that are actively doing something different is a real joy. Calmel & Jospeh are one such French winery based in the Languedoc region that caught my eye having declared a penchant for creating wines that will it’s tasters into uncharted taste territory. Not many wineries could make such a claim and actually deliver.
They’re are a negociant, probably the least sexy of wine producing companies to be, and yet these guys have managed to make interesting wines, that are packaged beautifully and create a brand that is so far removed for the staid reputation of a regular negociant you won’t just want to drink their wines, if they made clothes, you’d want to wear them. Luckily for us their wines are imported into the UK by Daniel Lambert Wines and are affordable to. Here are three that should be on your Christmas list. The Partridge and pear tree are optional.
Calmel & Joseph Villa Blanche Picpoul de Pinet 2012
A fantastic alternative for Sauvignon Blanc lovers, it is jam packed with lime zest, cut grass, grapefruit and hints of violet sweets. The palate is fresh and mouthwatering in a way that Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley tends to be but is intensely grapefruity too. Irresistibly affordable at £8.99. Distributed to Underwoods Wines, Perfect Friday Wines, Vaider Vintners, Grape & Grind.
Calmel & Joseph Faugeres 2011, Les Terroirs, no. 4471
You know a winemaker cares about their wine if they number the bottles individually. I got to try number 4,471 and it was jolly good. A blend of  Syrah, Grenache and Carignan it’s a stop and make you think wine; pencil shavings, herbs & mint, fresh red and blue fruits, a warming finish, spicy and velvety tannins all combine on a long and fruity finish. Unusually for wines of this style it has not seen a single plank of wood, no oak at all, which makes its sturdy build and complexity even more appealing. Distributed to Grapeland, Ellies Cellar, Celtic Vintners, RRP £10.99
Calmel & Joseph Terrasses du Larzac, Les Crus 2011, no. 2150
Now for the unchartered taste territory. Are you ready? This is a red wine. It’s a blend of Mourvèdre, Syrah and Grenache but it has all the aromas of a white wine. I’m talking papaya, peaches & apricot. The aromas continue onto the palate and the smooth tannins make me question whether in a truly blind tasting whether you could tell what colour you were tasting. If the the Calmel & Joseph Faugeres makes you stop and think their Terrasses du Larzac will stop you in your tracks and question what is expected of a red wine. At £14.99 though how can you resist but to try it, it’s the most interesting wine I’ve enjoyed all year, and it would probably go pretty well with Partridge. Distributed to Vin-est, Grape and Grain, Talking Wines, Hennings.
The Camel & Joseph range is imported by, if you’re unable to locate a bottle of any of these inspiring wines at your local retailer above drop Daniel a line.

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