Mas Viel Pinot Noir 2006 Vin de Pays d’Oc

Delicious Pinot at £6.85? No, this is not an April Fool, but a 'real wine'.

Pinot Noir, we are constantly being told, is extremely fashionable. It is also capricious to grow and make and the resulting wines tend to be relatively expensive. That’s why I was so surprised to find so much pure Pinot Noir fruit in this inexpensive wine from the Languedoc.
The vines are grown near Servian just north of Beziers, not the coolest spot in the Languedoc, so one might expect it to be a little too hot for the delicate Pinot Noir vine. The hills of Limoux and higher altitude vineyards in the foothills of the Cevennes such as Domaine Clovallon's are more obvious sources of fine Languedoc Pinot.

But here we have a great mouthful of rich but juicy strawberry fruit unencumbered by heavy oaking or tannins (although The Real Wine Company who are selling it in the UK claim it comes ‘with a delicate oak ageing’). The Domaine Mas Viel sells most of its fruit off to the French merchant bottlers but this wine is made in conjunction with Christophe Pippo, a winemaker with whom Mark Hughes, who set up The Real Wine Company after many years buying wine for Safeway, used to work when he was at Beringer-Blass/Fosters.
I tasted this wine late last year and was impressed by it then but Hughes, who has just imported another shipment, claims it’s getting better and better. I would recommend drinking it over the next year or so on the basis of what I tasted. Unusually for a red wine, it is soft enough to drink without food but is by no means sickly. It's 13.5% alcohol.
The Real Wine Company is worth looking at. Hughes really does seem to be working particularly hard and effectively at importing interesting, well-priced French wines such as well-selected growers’ champagnes that are not available elsewhere in the UK.  
The wine is also sold in Holland and to a certain extent in Belgium, Germany and Switzerland although not, as far as I know, outside Europe. My apologies to those of you who (like cannot locate it as I write, but it just seems too good a buy to ignore.
British wine lovers can order it at £6.85 a bottle from or on 01753 885 619