£13.95–£17.70, Fintry Wines, Great Wines Direct, Vino Gusto, Beckford Bottle Shop, Noble Green Wines, The Wee Vinoteca, Turton Wines
This expressive, fruity southern French red comes from a two-hectare vineyard of hand-harvested 32-year-old vines in an appellation in central Languedoc renowned for its distinctive red wines from schistous soils.
But this wine has to be content with the lesser IGP Pays d'Oc designation because it's 100% Mourvèdre and the appellation requires the wines to be made from a blend of permitted grape varieties. Hence the name Illégal and the witty, unconventional label. Ninth generation winemaker Olivier Coste is good at this kind of thing.
The label suits the contemporary style of the wine: succulent raspberry and blackberry fruit and sweet, peppery spice brushing up against touches of mint, beeswax and balsam polish; a smooth mouthful finishing with refreshing brightness without any oak getting in the way.
Weather permitting, it's a great wine for a barbecue. It'll take to the smoky charred edges of meat, tuna or vegetables, such as peppers, salad onions and tomatoes, and it can handle spice blends such as za'atar and quite punchy sauces and relishes. It would also work well with pork belly, chorizo, duck with fruit sauces or accompaniments and with proper wood-fired pizzas. 13%.
Olivier Coste Mourvèdre Illégal 2020, IGP Pays d'Oc, France