Here’s a soft, easy-to-drink wine from the south of France with a hint of spice and liquorice.
It’s not one that you’d pull out on special occasions to impress guests or if you’re in the mood for oral explosions of taste. It doesn’t dominate proceedings, and you might not pay a huge amount of attention to it when drinking it.
This is not necessarily a bad thing. Conversation, food, sights – all these things can be a very pleasant place for consciousness to settle upon rather than being caught up in a showy wine.
An absence of attention grabbing also means a welcome absence of negatives: no nasty notes to distract the attention; no odd imbalances or harsh finishes to cause a brief frown and a momentary self-chastisement at picking a poor wine for this otherwise excellent occasion.
“I’m sorry, what were you saying again?” you say, trying in vain to pull yourself away from an awareness of the overly acidic tang your guest must also be experiencing and back to what they are actually saying. Something about house prices?
That said, it does have its perks to draw the interest: a purple tinge round the edge of the ruby red liquid in the glass; an arresting, aromatic nose with hints of mulberry and cherry; and the aforementioned hint of spice and liquorice in the warm but pretty short finish.
It’s a young wine, and the acidity makes things slightly sharp, but this is rounded off by a subtle sweetness. The tannins are chilled out, and not too noticeable.
What is noticeable is the crazy label. Not so much what’s on it – that it’s Vin de Pays d’Oc, a step up from table wine but below the AOC classification – but the material it’s made of. Some kind of pearlescent textured paper embossed with a diamond pattern, giving it a quilted effect.
It’s an eye-catching introduction to a not so mouth-catching wine, which nonetheless has its place in the scheme of things.
I picked up my bottle in Waitrose, where it was on offer for about £6. A good deal, I think.