£13.75, Grape & Grind; £13.99, New Forest Wines £14.79, Martinez Wines
A southern French red that exudes contemporary polish but not at the expense of any of its distinctive regional character – terroir, as they call it in France. Terrasses du Larzac is an appellation high up in the eastern Languedoc, within the large Coteaux du Languedoc appellation, and the wines always seem to have an exciting suggestion of wildness on the nose – wild but not rustic. The 2014 Calmel & Joseph is perfumed with red berries and brambles, shot through with wild herbs, spice and a gamey note from the Mourvèdre grape (it's half Mourvèdre with Syrah and Grenache making up the rest). It's round and fullish on the palate, with a spicy, chestnutty undertow, but it's not not at all a big or heavy wine, so it's a perfect candidate for the darkening, cooling evenings of early autumn when you don't really want to admit summer is over but know you must. Its a match for red meat and game, but is elegant enough to complement rather than clobber lighter dishes too. A word about the producers, winemakers Laurent Calmel and Jérome Joseph: they describe themselves as micro-négociants and scour the vast Languedoc region seeking out growers and vineyards in places with the potential to produce wines not only of quality but wines that really express a sense of place. They then get involved with everything from pruning to picking, to fermenting, ageing and bottling the wines under their own stylish labels. They have more than one range, so do look out for other wines, including those under their Villa Blanche label. Waitrose has some of them.
Calmel & Joseph Terrasses du Larzac Les Crus 2014, Languedoc, France
£13.75–£15.25, Grape & Grind (Bristol), New Forest Wines (Ringwood), Martinez Wines (Ilkley), Fyne Wines (Lochgilphead), Ellie's Cellar (Scotland), The Little Wine Shop (Taunton), Vinology (Stratford-Upon-Avon), Rollings Wine (Harpenden), The Goods Shed (Canterbury), perfectfridaywine.com