£14–14.50, Booths, The Wine Society and independents
It’s likely that grapes from my adopted vine at Domaine Jones are in both these vintages. Coquelicot is growing in the 118-year-old St Roch vineyard, grapes from which go into Katie Jones’ Fitou Vieilles Vignes, along with grapes from up to 14 of her other tiny old-vine vineyards around the villages of Tuchan and Paziols.
I love the thought of the personal connection, but that’s not why it’s Wine of the Week. I chose it because it’s such a mesmerising red wine: powerful, generously fruity, seamlessly smooth and magically fresh. Both vintages.
Actually, it’s not magic, it’s the venerable old vines (Carignan, Grenache and Syrah), most of them more than a century old, that bring the freshness and contribute to the seamless texture. Light oak ageing – 10 months in French oak barrels for 40% of the wine – does the rest for the texture.
Then there’s the fruit – black cherries in the 2020, fresher raspberry and black berries in the cooler 2021 vintage – plus the garrigue herb notes and the spices.
Incidentally, if you’ve heard that the 2021 growing season was brutal, it was, but that doesn’t mean all the wines are inferior. This 2021 is a triumph. Once again, it was careful husbandry and the resilience of old vines to the rescue.
Food? Yes, for sure. This deserves the likes of a good steak, juicy lamb chops (especially flavoursome upland or salt marsh), slow-roast pork belly, cassoulet, including vegetarian versions, duck, or hard cheeses, especially sheep and aged Parmesan. 14.5%. Traditional cork for the 2020; Diam for the 2021. Empty bottle weights: 630g (2020) and 638g (2021).
If you want to adopt your own vine at Domaine Jones, click here.
Domaine Jones Fitou Vieilles Vignes 2020 and 2021, Fitou, Languedoc, France