This year’s French Connections tasting featured 37 French wine and spirits producers from all the main wine regions, showcasing more than 100 wines.
All of them are keen to do business with UK independents. Organised by Business France in partnership with The Wine Merchant, the London event attracted a group of wine professionals including independent wine specialists. Meet all of the producers below, with details of the wines that stood out for the indies who went along.
Find full details of all the producers and their wines here. Below we round up some of the wines that most impressed the merchants who tasted them on the day.
DOMAINE DE FONTENAY
Le Sauvignon 2020, AOP Touraine: Lovely white flowers and herbal notes, and a chalky texture in this restrained and easygoing take on a popular variety.
CHÂTEAU HENRI BONNAUD
Cuvée Quintessence 2019: Ugni Blanc, Clairette Blanche and Clairette Rose combine in an interesting blend that works well. There’s a lot going on with the aroma and flavour combinations. A well balanced and long finish.
Cuvée Blanc Roc 2019: A blend of Roussanne, Grenache, Clairette, Viognier and Ugni Blanc, with 20% aged in barrel on fine lees. Ripe orchard fruit flavours and a serious, savoury note too.
POULET & FILS
Clairette de Die Tradition NV: Lovely Muscat nose and palate. Fruity and sweet but with balancing acidity. Easy to imagine with Christmas pudding or even blue cheese. This wine really stood out at its price point.
DOMAINE LES BASTIDES
Blanc 2020: A fabulously pungent blend of Rolle, Clairette, Ugni Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc, with a suggestion of warm haystacks. Delicious with strong, ripe cheeses.
LES VINS MARGNAT
1895 Cuvée: For Guy Dickerson at The Secret Cellar in Forest Row, Sussex, this was the tasting’s “top red by a long stretch”. An AOP Minervois blend of Grenache and Syrah with dark fruit, spice and vanilla depths.
ENCLOS DES ANGES
Cuvée SesTo Rouge 2018: Made with Niellucciu (a synonym for Sangiovese), Syrah and Sciacarellu (a synonym for Mammolo), this is a big, full-bodied wine, its full flavours balanced by plenty of acidity and tannin and a long finish. Ideal for wild boar casserole.
CHÂTEAU DE PERRON
AOC Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh: A wine described by one taster as “a joy”, full of tropical fruit richness and floral exuberance.
CHÂTEAU DES PEYRAUX
Cuvée Petite Négrette 2019: Dark and inky. Crunchy red and black fruit on the palate. Something interesting and different and very good price.
DOMAINES LATRILLE – CHÂTEAU JOLYS
Château Jolys Cuvée Célebration 2018: With its slightly wild character, marmalade tartness and bready warmth, this is a lovely example of Petit Manseng’s charms.
CHÂTEAU DE CHELIVETTE
Le Clairet de Chelivette 2020: A textbook example of why clairette can be so much more interesting than bland rosés. An explosion of flavour with red fruit, iron, blood and roses.
Graves Rouge 2019: A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Lively, fresh and herbaceous, with some deeper tar-like notes.
SCEA DU VIEUX PUIT
Le Louveteau 2014, AOC Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux Rouge: A mellow, wistful, medium-bodied Merlot/Cabernet blend which seems tailormade for Sunday roast.
VIGNES SECRETES / DUMONT, DORLAND & CLAUZEL
Château La Tuilière Tradition 2018, AOC Côtes de Bourg: Juicy, warming blend of Merlot, Cabernet and Malbec, full of dark fruits and savoury edges.
VIGNOBLES CHAIGNE ET FILS
Blanc 2020, AOC Entre-deux-Mers: Tasters loved the exotic flavours of Muscadelle, the floral notes of the Sémillon and the freshness of the Sauvignon Blanc in this blend.
Abysse Yellow: Original takes on gin are rarer than ever, but there’s something very special about the grapefruit and saline characters found in this cloudy spirit.
Published in assocation with Business France