Back to Tesco’s, then. I’d like to point out that I don’t do all my shopping there, but I think they do have some genuinely good offers on at the minute. A couple of weeks ago Waitrose did, but it’s not then any more now is it.
Anyway, here’s a very small picture of a very enjoyable wine, down to £4.99 for another couple of days. I’d like to think that I discovered viognier before it became the trendy grape variety. I remember a few years ago I was in South Africa with my wife and we visited a vineyard. When we did the obligatory tasting, the woman running it asked what white wines we liked. I said viognier was my current favourite and she almost fell over backwards. It turned out that she was also a big fan of the grape and she’d never met anyone else who was. So I’m officially a trendsetter.
This is Australian and rather good. I’m not the first person to notice it – at the recent Decanter wine awards it won the Australian white single varietals trophy, which proves that a) there’s a prize for everything, and b) it’s not terrible. In fact, it’s really rather delicious. Absolutely bone dry, to the point of tasting salty, but with honeyed, herbacious aromas and a long, delicate, delightful aftertaste. A solid gold bargain at this price. I could drink a lot of this (over a period of time, of course, I’m not one for binge drinking).
One complaint though – Decanter’s website says it has “pure apricot kernel aromas”. What does an apricot kernel smell like? I mean, really…
So I picked this up in Tesco’s the other day, reduced from £5.99 to £3.99 in their wine festival promotion. I was a bit narked because I was after the Tesco’s Finest Fiano, but that one’s been recommended in too many newspapers and seems to have sold out – you can’t even buy it online. Anyway, I’d seen this one reviewed by Jamie Goode a couple of months back – not that I memorise everything he writes, but it has the kind of label you remember – so I thought I’d give it a go.
They say: Mont Tauch Fitou maintains all the character of Fitou with a fruit driven modern approach and a complexity derived from the mix of terroir and grape maturity. It’s made of carignan, grenache and a little syrah from the villages of Tuchan, Paziols and Villeneuve. They also suggest that it’s best served with a carpaccio of muntjac.
Sadly there were no diminutive deer passing, and it was 10pm when I unscrewed the bottle, so I had it on its own. Something of a mistake, I fear – this is a good, honest, simple wine that is crying out for some good, honest, simple food. If you’re planning to stew some beef or, yes, venison or eat anything with lots of rosemary I’d reckon this would be a bargain accompaniment. But it wasn’t quite assured enough to press my end-of-evening buttons on its own. A peasant wine for peasant food (which is by no means a criticism).
The Mont Tauch cooperative have got to be pretty busy – they say they supply Asda, Booths, the Co-op, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s, Somerfield, Tesco, Waitrose, Majestic, Thresher and Shepherd Neame and Youngs pubs. They’re very popular with the wine critics; it would be interesting to try one of their more expensive Fitous by way of comparison – Majestic stock one at nearly three times the price, Fitou L’Exception 2005 (£10.99), and Waitrose have Fitou Les Quatre at £8.99. Two more for the shopping list…