France - - Food & Wine - BY SALLY EAS­TON, MAS­TER OF WINE


Jean-luc Baldès, Mal­bec du Clos 2012, Ca­hors The Ca­hors ap­pel­la­tion, which at one time ri­valled bordeaux, is fa­mous for dark, dense, big-struc­tured reds made for long age­ing. These in­clude Probus, also from this pro­ducer. But this Mal­bec du Clos is an ear­lier-drink­ing style, show­ing ripe black­berry and mul­berry fruits, with warm-earthy, spicy tan­nins in a wine that is still ro­bustly, yet ap­proach­ably, full bod­ied. It is a su­per and af­ford­able in­tro­duc­tion to Ca­hors, and mal­bec from its home­land in south-west France. Drink with: Cas­soulet. Waitrose, £8.99 Tel: 0800 188 881 wait­rose­cel­


Château du Co­ing de St Fi­acre, Mus­cadet Sèvre-et-maine sur Lie 2015, Loire It may be a tough sell, but there are some crack­ing Mus­cadets around, in­clud­ing this one from a vine­yard on clas­sic schis­tose soils where the Sèvre and Maine rivers meet. The aroma is del­i­cately flo­ral, and the flavour tangy and pithy, with at­trac­tive depth of peachy and savoury-creamy tastes. It com­bines a zesty in­ten­sity on the palate with the light­ness of body and the fresh-creami­ness of lees age­ing. Drink with: Fruits de mer. No­ble Green Wines, £12 (£11 each in mixed six) Tel: 0208 979 1113 no­ble­green­


Château La Tour de By, Mé­doc 2009, Bordeaux This is an ar­che­typal left bank wine, mostly caber­net sauvi­gnon, ac­com­pa­nied by mer­lot and a dol­lop of pe­tit ver­dot, and nom­i­nally sit­ting un­der the classed growth group of prop­er­ties. It is beau­ti­fully set­tled, with hints of grip re­main­ing in the plush, sweet tan­nins of this out­stand­ing vin­tage. A mix of fresh, black for­est berries with bot­tle-aged baked berry flavours amid for­est floor and dark choco­late nu­ances cre­ates a smoothly tex­tured wine. Drink with: Lamb. Mas­ter of Malt, £23.95 Tel: 01892 888 376 mas­terof­

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