Take two wines
Château de Pennautier Terroir d’Altitudes Cabardès 2007
The basic version of this is a firm favourite; this one benefits from even higher vineyards and 14 months’ gentle oak ageing, delivering a smooth, savoury wine with touches of chocolate, mint and smoke, all wrapped around plenty of fruit.
The blend is Syrah (30pc), Cabernet Sauvignon (25pc), Merlot (20pc), Grenache, Cabernet Franc and Cot. Goes really well with duck, roast meats and stews. 13pc alc. ¤11.34 Available from selected Dunne Stores.
Chateau Rougepeyre Cabardès 2007
Lithe, but plenty of backbone in this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cot, Syrah and Grenache; dark meaty notes, overlaying juicy black fruit, with hints of chocolate, coffee beans, mint, truffles and gentle oak spiciness, ending on a cool and lingering finish.
Just the thing for the dinner party 13pc alc. ¤13.50 Available from Donnybrook Fair, Donnybrook; The Hole in the Wall, Dublin 7; Kelly’s Wine Vault, Clontarf; La Touche, Greystones; Lilac Wines, Fairview; Whelan’s, Wexford Street.
Bastide de Garille Vin de Pays d’Oc Cuvee Fruitée Chardonnay 2009
From Château Pennautier of Cabardès, but from grapes drawn from a wider region; brimming with fresh and sappy fruit. No oak here, but it has a big spicy palate and a rich roundness. 13pc alc.
Enjoy its freshness on its own, or with chicken or light salads. ¤9.95 Available from Mitchells, IFSC and Sandycove or online at www.mitchellandson.com.