From €6.93, £9.99, $14.99, $HK120
Find the pink
Find the red
The Languedoc is still one of the finest sources of keenly-priced, hand-made wines in the world and La Clape is one of its most interesting terroirs, a rocky mound of windy scrub sticking out into the Mediterranean south of Narbonne. It is perhaps best known as the natural home of the pale-skinned Bourboulenc variety, which can make lovely marine-scented dry whites here, but as it happens my suggestions this week are pink and red.
Château d'Anglès is just one of several particularly interesting and ambitious properties here (Négly and Mas du Soleilla spring to mind too) but it has the distinction of being run by Eric Fabre, who had eight years as technical director at Château Lafite before moving south to establish his own family domaine. But the Anglès wines seem to be particularly well distributed, as you can see by all the currencies mentioned above (prices for the red 2008; pink 2010 is generally even cheaper).
It takes a lot to make me enthusiastic about a rosé, particularly in the middle of the northern hemisphere winter, but I was really taken by Ch d'Anglès, Classique Rosé 2010 La Clape, a singular, pale orangey pink blend of 80% Mourvèdre, 10% Syrah and 10% Grenache that had a rather umami quality to it, lovely freshness and a proper dry finish. 'Real wine', I wrote, and thought it would make both a good aperitif and is quite substantial enough to go with food. It's more assertive than a typical Provençal rosé and much drier than most New World pinks.
I also liked the Ch d'Anglès Classique Rouge 2008 La Clape, a typical Languedoc blend of 40% Syrah, 40% Grenache, 20% Mourvèdre that is already both complete and extremely seductive. I was very taken by the fineness of the tannins (a Lafite trick?) as well as by the density of flavour. Both of these two wines, which I think should drink well for at least another two and possibly three years, are currently available at the recently revived Wine Rack stores in the UK, reduced from £11.99 to £9.99, but it seems a bit nonsensical to be selling the red with an extra two years' ageing at the same price as the year-old rosé. Such are the quirks of pricing a range, I have found. So you could argue that it is the red that is the real bargain. You can find it for as little as €6.93 and €7.50 in Benelux and Germany respectively, where the Ch d'Anglès wines seem to be particularly well distributed. The red is also available at several other UK and US merchants.
You can read more about the history and geography of this distinctive corner of southern France here. Note that the sea breezes help to keep the grapes free from disease and help to extend the growing season.
Find the pink
Find the red