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Vigné-Lourac Braucol 2018, Côtes du Tarn, France

£10.75, The Daily Drinker

This beguiling Braucol wine arrived just at the right time to assuage some of my south-west France withdrawal symptoms. I’m normally based in the region six or seven times a year, but it’s now more than six months since I was last there.

Thank you for your concern, but no need for the violins. I had this characterful, red instead – generous, supple and medium-bodied with a floral perfume (reminiscent of irises), blackberry, raspberry and damson fruit, a swish of fresh green currant leaf and a softly tarry, smoky undertow.

Braucol is the grape variety. If that doesn’t ring any bells, perhaps Fer does. Or Fer Servadou. What about Mansois then? Pinenc? All of the above? None of them? Fer, to give it its proper name, is an old variety and a stay-at-home one that goes under an array of synonyms including Braucol in Gaillac, Mansois in Marcillac, and Pinenc in Madiran.

It's a variety I particularly like, but rarely see unblended except in Marcillac. As the name Braucol suggests, Vigné-Lourac is from Gaillac, but it goes under the wider Côtes du Tarn IGP because the rules for Gaillac rouge stipulate a blend. The producer, a key player with 240 hectares, is Les Vignobles Alain Gayrel.

Braucol is a versatile variety. I enjoyed it with roast duck legs (flavoured with caraway, fennel and cumin seeds and amchoor), a purée of roast squash and cauliflower and with spinach, but it would go with most meat, including casseroles and rabbit, and also with vegetables and an element of spice. It's supple enough to drink on its own, too. 13%

Alain Gayrel Vigné-Lourac Braucol, IGP Côtes du Tarn, France


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