Here's a couple of wines currently being enjoyed by members of our Sampling Club this month...
They are made at an estate in the village of Châteauneuf du Pape, owned by the same family for several generations. Now, before you get all excited at the thought of Chateauneuf at the prices shown below, these are not. However, they are made by Alex Favier who makes the Grand Vin of the property - Château Chante Cigale - and who sources the grapes for the red wine from land the family owns in the Vaucluse, just to the west of Gigondas. Two of the three-grape blend of white also come from these holdings with the Viognier portion coming from the Northern Rhône as it is the best source of this grape.
2022 Cicada Blanc, Chante Cigale, Vin de France £10.95
The white blend is quite unusual and offers a less conventional flavour profile; combining roughly one third each of Viognier, Piquepoul Blanc and Grenache Blanc for aromatics, freshness and a little weight respectively. It is vinified in stainless steel and sees no oak at all in the process. On paper, you might suppose that a white from this part of the world would be rather fat, perhaps a bit soft and boozy, but this has a welcome mineral note and delicious balance. Try it with Thai or Vietnamese food with a coconut influence, or perhaps a grilled mackerel.
2022 Cicada Rouge, Chante Cigale, Vin de France £10.75
The red is made from 80% Grenache Noir and 20% Carignan grown in two sites to the west of Gigondas. One is clay based and supplies the Grenache and the other is limestone and supports the Carignan. The Grenache is vinified in concrete vats, while the Carignan is aged in 5 year old Burgundy barrels to round out the tannins. Grenache likes heat and produces generously fruity reds. Carignan can be rather variable and was once the southern grape of mass production, but growers in the last forty years or so have found that if you maintain your old vines and prune the heck out of them forcing them into low yields, the quality of the fruit improves no end and produces fully-flavoured, sometimes agreeably rustic wine. Put the two together in the right proportions and you have this: characterful, exuberant, full red to enjoy with grills, roasts and barbecues. Try it with grilled lamb chops and ratatouille.
We've just added the final few bottles of the delicious Chiroubles Domaine de la Chapelle Bizot to our online deals if you're looking for a lighter red to serve cool.