Provence Wine – What to drink in January

Our Provence wine critic Petrestrello Geller gives some timely advice for the new year

Personally I view a ‘dry’ January like a rare sexual disease, something best kept to oneself. Unfortunately this has not prevented various friends impressing their sobriety on me via twitter and facebook.

I’m not immune to the general desire to cut down after Christmas’s excesses but instead of going ‘dry’ I concentrate on quality rather than quantity. In miserable old January it’s reassuring to enjoy a touch of luxury. Expensive wines are made to be consumed slowly. They’re treats to be savoured.

So here’s a few suggestions from Provence for those wanting to follow a similar regime.

White wine.

OUT: No more pre-supper convivial bottles.  Anything Sauvignon or Viognier based is a no no.

IN: Chardonnay blends and oak. I’m particularly loving Chateau Lacoste, Grand Cru, blanc, available at a €19 a bottle if you buy 6 or more direct from the vineyard. It’s a wine that demands your attention and favours slow mellow drinking with white meats, fish and cheese. Admittedly there’s a tiny bit of Sauvignon in the blend but it’s been oaked for over a year to rid it of that thing I desire least in January – quaffability.

Cuvee Soprano, Chateau de Clapier. As the name suggests a wine full of high and low notes. Deep yellow in colour and relaxing on the palette. Price from €12 a bottle direct from the vineyard.

Red wine

OUT: Anything that you can drink chilled. If you’re going to drink red wine slowly it has to hit you in the mouth with viscosity, flavour and alcohol, not behave like a substitute rosé.

IN: Heat baked wines where syrah predominates in the blend. In particular, La Cavale, from Domaine de La Cavale. A syrah, grenache and aged carignan mix, which is deep, heavy and velvety. At 14.5% it packs an alcoholic punch which is handy if you want to cut down on quantity.

I also recommend, the 2010 Rasteau, produced by Lourmarin based negociant Laurent Tardieu. The bottle I decanted 4 hours before serving was markedly more complex than the one I pulled in a hurry from the wine rack. Again there’s excellent depth and alcoholic kick to encourage slow January drinking. Price €17 direct or shop the range of Tardieu wines at Corney and Barrow

Rosé

OUT: Every single bottle. No matter how blue the sky, January is not a month for tucking into the pink. If you really, really, must then something with gastronomic pretensions such as Domaine Ott.

Provence Guru – The Insiders’ Guide to Provence, top tips:

For a full listing of Provence wine reviews by Perestrello Geller click here. Thinking of staying in Provence then check out our reviews of boutique Provence hotels and our selection of the best luxury villa rentals in the Luberon, Les Alpilles and around Aix en Provence. Need something to accompany the wine why not browse our Provence food pages.

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