I’ve got a soft spot for Saint-Chinian, Minervois’ less well-known northeast neighbour, and always look for it on restaurant wine lists (usually in vain, it has to be said) and if I need to grab an impromptu bottle of red in a wine shop or supermarket. It’s usually good value, whether cheap like this or a more expensive single-estate wine, but more important is its characteristic flavour: sometimes intensely stony and savoury, sometimes more obviously fruity and supple (mountainous schist vineyards in the north of the region tend to give the former, lower clay-and-limestone sites generally produce the latter), but almost always with a garrigue-herb perfumed note.
In this one, a blend of Syrah, Grenache, a little Mourvèdre and a smidgen of Carignan from the large Maison Fortant, the evocative garrigue comes with fruity flavours of ripe black berries, smoky liquorice and black olive and a deft touch of toasty oak. It’s very good value and ideal with rosemary-spiked lamb, confit de canard or anything – meat or veg – that you might throw on the barbecue and, as I’ve pointed out before, you can peel off the silver Tesco Finest label if you don’t want it glaring out at you. 13.5%.
Tesco Finest Saint-Chinian 2017, Saint-Chinian, Languedoc, France