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Thursday, 3 December 2020

Château Capendu La Comelle Corbières, 2018 - Waitrose

A good value southern French red from Domaines Paul Mas at Waitrose

France's southern Languedoc region is a source of well-made, well-priced wines; the region lacks the classic heritage (and price tags) of more lofty areas and has therefore attracted outsiders to come in and show what they can do on good, but less expensive, plots of land.

With plenty of warmth and sunshine, it is something of a winemaker's paradise, needing fewer pesticides and allowing vines to live longer than cooler, damper areas further north.

Corbières is Languedoc-Rousillon's largest Appellation d'origine contrôlée area for wine, making up nearly 50% of production. Almost all of it is red, often from Carignan, a grape of Spanish origin whose fortunes have improved in recent years as winemakers have worked on reducing yields to concentrate on quality over quantity.

Carignan is ancient late-ripening grape that needs heat to ripen and can, if not controlled, produce large quantities of dilute plonk. Here it is blended with Grenache, another widely planted, hot-climate grape that is low in acid and tannin.

Together, these two varieties produces a full and supple wine with a streak of freshness that drinks nicely on first opening. It has a little age and will continue to improve for another year or two.

Château Capendu La Comelle Corbières (£6.99, Waitrose) blend of Carignan and Grenache; juicy, slightly baked red and black berry fruits, vanilla spice, earthiness and some southern garrigue; fresh and harmonious with very fine, supple tannins.

Will continue to improve with some age.

Good and Very Good Value.

Match with roast red meats, Bolognese, salamis or burgers.

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