From €4, £7.50 and $11.99
Am I just too, too boring or is Yves Falmet a genius? On second thoughts, don't answer that. The fact is that I found myself wanting to choose a great-value Languedoc red for this week and once I'd chosen what looked the most likely one from the 200 or so Southern French gems we reported on recently, I found, rather to my surprise, that the previous vintage had been a wine of the week back in Sep 2008.
But the great thing is that in the interim, Dom des Terres Falmet Cinsault, Vin de Pays d'Oc has become very much easier to find around the world. At the time of writing, wine-searcher.com can find retailers of the 2008 vintage in France, Germany, the UK and eight in the US. Moreover, even though the pound has plunged against the euro since Sep 2008, the UK bottle price has risen only from £6.75 to £7.50 - although the UK stockist has changed from Berry Bros to the less overhead-laden Stone Vine & Sun. And anyone in the vicinity of the wine shop in St-Chinian can pick up a real bargain: this wine at a mere four euros a bottle.
I'm a big fan of the Cinsault grape, provided it is not overproduced and is vinified with a light touch. Wines like this, grown on the schists of St-Chinian, prove that this often overlooked grape can made really delightful reds as well as rosés.
Yves Falmet is typical of the exciting new generation of artisan wine producers in the Languedoc about whom I wrote recently in France's best-kept secret. He is entirely self-taught and established the domaine himself, on the back of a biochemistry degree. He gained practical experience in other wine regions, including, enterprisingly, New Zealand, and managed to get backing to acquire 20 ha of some of St-Chinian's characterful slopes. His pricing is far from rapacious.
I found this wine actually richer and more flattering than most Cinsaults (for this can be a shy varietal - yes, varietal, I refer to the wine not the vine). I really loved the crunchy texture and could think of no better introduction to this delicate, perfumed southern French grape. I'd happily drink it, sometimes lightly chilled, at any time over the next two years, with or without food. It has 13.5% alcohol according to the label and certainly doesn't taste too taxing.
Yves Falmet makes a headier wine in Dom des Terres Falmet, L'Ivresse des Cimes, which I found just a tad too ripe on the nose but might well appeal to other palates more. In the UK it is stocked by both Stone Vine & Sun and Vine Trail.