Bouchard Finlayson Blanc de Mer, Bouchard Finlayson
Baron Philippe de Rothschild, France
Great value Viognier from Mouton Rothschild which they have been making since 1995, sourced from the Languedoc then matured in their Saint-Laurent-Medoc Winery. Intense and full of peachy, floral, tropical flavours this wine shows Viognier off in fine style.
Baron Philippe de Rothschild's expertise has been exported beyond Bordeaux to the rest of France with a fabulous range of varietal entry level wines that they have been producing since 1995. All of the grapes are sourced from the Vins de pay D'Oc and are matured and crafted in their Saint-Laurent-Medoc Winery.
Appellation d'Origine Controlee (AOC) wines take up a significant amount of the limelight in France, but there are many thousands hectares of vineyards that fall outside of this classification. Of these, wines granted the status of Indication Geographique Protegee (IGP) are the most important and include the regions of Ardeche, Languedoc-Roussillon and Cotes de Provence, France's best-known region for rose wines. Producers must meet strict conditions to hit the required quality standards, particularly around yields and minimum alcohol content.
There are many excellent wines offering great value for money made under the IGP label and relaxed labelling laws allow winemakers to indicate the wine's grape variety on the bottle. Alongside the classic Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, varieties like Viognier, Grenache and Syrah are prominent. Despite a perception of inferior quality to AOC wines, this is not the case, as winemakers looking to work innovatively outside of their own strict AOC rules will label their wines as IGP.
The vast wine region of Languedoc-Roussillon in south-east France is home to a diverse and constantly improving range of wines, with vineyards stretching north from the Spanish border past the cities of Marseille and Montpellier. Once home to cheaply produced, rustic table wines, the last 30 years have seen a drastic turnaround, as competition from keenly priced New World wines forced producers to move away from their traditional approach and focus on innovation and quality.
The introduction of the Vin de Pays classification in 1979 allowed producers to label by variety, and consumers were able to see whether their wine was made from Chardonnay, Merlot, Grenache or Cabernet. Investment from the established wine cognoscenti of other regions has also helped and improved the viticultural development of Languedoc-Roussillon, and today excellent value can be derived from the region's wines, no matter which variety you like to drink.
Viognier is a white grape variety originating in the Northern Rhone region of France, and plantings are also found in North America, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Viognier needs a long, warm growing season to reach its potential and produces wines well known for their distinctive honeysuckle arom. Good wines will age well, and lose some of the youthful floral character, but develop richness and power. Viognier is commonly blended with Syrah which softens the wine and gives a fuller mouth feel.
Marsanne is a white wine grape that originated in France. It is most commonly found in the Northern Rhone where it is widely planted but vines can also be found in Australia, Spain and Switzerland. Marsanne produces rich wines that are deeply coloured, with honeyed-spice, nuts and pear. Australian Marsanne has aromas of melon and honeysuckle. The wines are often high in alcohol and can be oak-aged which allows the wine to develop more body and complexity.
Syrah, most famously found growing in the northern Rhone Valley, is a dark-skinned grape capable of producing diverse wines of various flavours and styles. Typically known for its dark-berry fruit flavour and distinct black pepper aroma, Syrah wines age well, and develop complex flavours of leather, licorice and woody herbs. Outside of the Rhone, good examples of Syrah can be found in New Zealand, the United States and South America. Australia has a style of its own, famously known the world over as Shiraz.
A crystalline pale yellow. The highly intense nose reveals delicate aromas of white blossom such as acacia and hawthorn, perfectly mingled with the refinement of citrus zest. The full, rich almost creamy attack reveals the succulence of apricot and pear, accompanied by notes of honey and toast on the mid-palate and building to a long, fruit-driven finish.
A great match for a traditional chicken casserole - Chicken Chasseur or a Moroccan Chicken tagine with dried fruits and cous cous.