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What with the recent wintry weather there’s been a number of evenings sitting in front of the fire with a some hearty food cooking slowly in the oven and a rich warming glass of red. If there was a wine made for this situation then this marvellous Minervois would be it. Minervois isn’t one of France’s best known regions but, along with its neighbour Corbieres, certainly one of the best value. It’s just a few miles south of Carcassonne and here vines really flourish with the limestone soils and warm climate. Here the red grapes Syrah, Carignan and Grenache rule the roost, with the latter two usually coming from vines of 40 years plus. This delicious example is 65% Syrah, 20% Carignan and 15% old vine Grenache and it totally charms you with its ripe mellowness and super soft tannins. Light that fire!

2013 Château Pinenc, Vignobles Foncalieu, Minervois @ £53.70 per case (6 bottles)

“ A ripe nose of baked blackberry, prune, tarragon and a touch of fig. Great texture on the palate with superb ripeness and plenty more dried fruit character as it rolls around the palate. The tannins are so soft you could drink this on its own but best with lamb, cassoulet or cheese. To find a wine of this quality, maturity and price is a rare thing indeed.” JW

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