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Sunday, 22 December 2013

2013 - A Year In Review: Regions‏

A review of 2013 - regions that have impressed

I am somewhat wary of giving blanket recommendations to entire regions, but certain areas have either newly impressed or continued to impress me this year.


A vibrant and diverse region, I have previously characterised Languedoc as minor royalty - yes, it has breeding and class, but it is also approachable and characterful, with a sense of fun.

Languedoc is France's New World - and many of its best winemakers are newcomers to the region, outsiders who have seen its potential and relative value.

My top wines from Languedoc include Chateau d'Angles, which I first tried at a Languedoc dinner in London and later when we spent a week there during the summer.


The Rhône is more of an established, classic region than Languedoc, but offers a similarly approachable southern warmth matched with characterful spiciness and elegance.

At their best, the wines are like the Rhône tasting and Iggy Pop gig organised by Inter-Rhône - substantial, muscular and energetic yet nuanced and deft.

There were some excellent northern Rhône 2012s at an H2Vin tasting and I also got to find out more about the newly-renamed Grignan-les-Adhémar region in the southern Rhône.


On a lighter note, this has been the year I discovered Beaujolais properly - pure, precise wines with a classic elegance, they are almost France's answer to Italian reds, needing to accompany food to make sense.

I've had some lovely Beaujolais from The Wine Society and others, Beaujolais and Beyond and a funky, modern nouveau from M&S.


Sherry of all hues continue to be a favourite - I started the year talking about sherry and recommending some specific bottles on Cambridge105's Flavour programme.

In a decidedly chilly spring, I got to taste the 2013 release of Tio Pepe En Rama and as the year drew to and end, I matched the complex mellow elegance of Matusalem to both sweet and savoury desserts.

South Africa

Once a source of cheap, three-for-a-tenner plonk, South Africa is starting to register as a great wine region - as tastings of Oldenburg, PIWOSA, and braaiday confirmed.

Other related articles
2013 - A Year In Review: Personal Favourites‏

Image credit: http://www.geocurrents.info/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/World-wine-map.gif

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