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WINE OF THE WEEK: Olivier Coste Rare Carignan Blanc 2021, Vin de France

£13, Vino Gusto, Wine and the Vine, Strictly Wine, Great Wines Direct, Corking Wines and other independents*

I’ve been waiting to feature this wine and even now I’m going ahead before all the, necessarily small, number of stockists has moved on to the 2021 vintage. Necessarily small because Carignan Blanc is so rare.

Olivier Coste, 9th generation of his family at Domaine Montrose in Languedoc, believes there are only 250 hectares of Carignan Blanc left in the world, but I’m recommending Rare not for its novelty value but because it’s a genuinely interesting, appetising, dry white from a 70-year-old plot on limestone next to the sea.

The colour is pale and bright with a very faint greenish tinge and it has quite a delicate nose – lightly floral with pears and a whisp of herbs and citrus. The palate is rounded and supple, almost a little oily in texture like Vermentino or Sémillon, but with a backbone of citrus acidity and minerality to carry the juicy pear fruit and streak of green apple and white pepper.

It opens up in the glass, so give it swirl and allow it time to relax, then enjoy it as an aperitif or with sushi, fish, including fritto misto, or squid, light pasta dishes or salads and vegetables sprinkled with dukkah or served with walnut tarator sauce. 12.5%

Olivier Coste Rare Carignan Blanc 2021, Vin de France

*£13, Vino Gusto; £12.45, Wine and the Vine (2020/21); £70.86 for 6, Strictly Wine; £74.77 for 6, Great Wines Direct; £74.45 for 6, Corking Wines.

2020: £12.30/£14.50, D Vine Cellars; £13/£14, Noble Green Wines; £15.80 Turton Wines.



I bought the Olivier Coste Rare Carignan Blanc today. My retailer's website shows 2020, as did the shelf ticket. But the bottle does not state the year - triple checked by the retailer and me. Is this legal? Why would they do this?

Joanna Simon
Joanna Simon

Hello Alex, this is Olivier Coste's reply: "Sometimes at the end of a vintage, if we’re running short on 2020 labels for example, we used labels without vintage for part of the final bottling of the ’20 vintage to do the transition from ’20 to ’21. Other wineries do it too, so if you see a label without a vintage, that’s probably why. It’s totally legal of course (vintage isn’t required), and the lot number on the bottle is a way to know the vintage too.” Thanks again for asking. Olivier's explanation was interesting for me, too.

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