A bargain from Madiran in the foothills of the Pyrenees in south west France, one of my favourite parts of the world and one for which the description La France Profonde could have been coined. The wines hereabouts are rarely less than distinctive, whether red, white, dry or sweet. Madiran is red and is made from the muscular local Tannat grape which has given the wines a reputation for being big, robust, sometimes even a bit brutal. Réserve des Tuguets shows a gentler side, with softer, easier-going tannins, but it's still a dark, full-bodied red with brooding blackberry and blueberry fruit and a liquorice spiciness. If you happen to have a cassoulet to hand, bring it on. Otherwise, plan some roast or grilled red meat, a warming casserole, or some hard cheese such as Comté or Manchego. The whites of the Madiran region are called Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh and can be dry or sweet: either way, they're worth tracking down.
Réserve des Tuguets Madiran 2014, Producteurs Vignoble Gascon, France