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There are plenty of rewarding tastes to try as the nights draw in. Expert taster Simon Woods offers his seasonal picks
The Languedoc may have made great strides with its wines in recent years,
but for those looking for a draught of the warm south in France, the Rhône Valley is still hard to beat. The southern parts of the region, in which Grenache is the dominant
grape, provide the classic cockle-warming reds. And while the more renowned districts such as Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas provide the highlights, there are plenty of high-class wines appearing
under the more humble Côtes du Rhône and Côtes du Rhône Villages appellations.
Pavillon du Chateau Beauchene 2007 (£8.25, Private Cellar) is the Rhône at its most succulent and refreshing – not light, but gentle and fragrant with lively strawberry and pomegranate (honest!) flavours, a touch of spice and orange peel. An ideal weekend wine to pair with cold cuts at lunchtime.
Laurence Feraud Pegovino 2007 (£8.99, Majestic) is a richer, spicier Côtes du Rhône Villages from the winemaker at Domaine du Pegau, one of the top estates of Châteauneuf. It’s awash with relaxed, plummy fruit, but there’s also a refined, minerally core and a rich, herby finish with soft, ripe tannins. Although it’s tasty now, it can be kept for three or four more years.