£13.20, Tanners Wines
Wines rarely feature in this slot twice, but the 2018 vintage of La Cendrillon Nuance was my Wine of the Week in August 2019. I’m making an exception because when I tasted this 2020 last month I was as bowled over by its originality and deliciousness as I was by the earlier vintage.
It’s richly textural and has some weight, but it's streaked with zesty, chiselled acidity – the energy and richness playing against each other perfectly. Flavours range from floral to delicately nutty, from ripe quince to lemon curd and from wet rocks to citrus peel. The result is a layered, complex dry white that's full of interest and unusual in so many ways.
It's from Domaine de la Cendrillo, an organic estate in Corbières, not far from Narbonne, that has had vineyards and been in Robert Joyeux’s family since the 18th century, but Nuance is a Vin de France, because it’s a blend of eight varieties, several of which are not permitted in Corbières, including the main component, 45% Petit Manseng (one of my favourite white grapes and best known for Jurançon).
The other varieties are Grenache Blanc (20%), Marsanne, Roussanne and Albariño (each 7%), Verdejo, Grenache Gris and Maccabeu. All the grapes are hand-harvested and co-fermented and a little of the blend is aged in oak with some bâtonnage (stirring of the lees), which contributes to the generous texture.
It’s a wine that can handle creamy sauces, whether with fish, seafood, chicken, pasta or mushrooms, but the cut of acidity means that it won’t overwhelm them cooked more simply, with, for example, lemon, herbs and garlic. It’s good with hard cheeses too.
Finally, it’s great value – only 40p more than it was over three years ago. 13.5%.
Domaine de la Cendrillon Nuance 2020, Vin de France