Quite a large selection from Waitrose; some good, some less exciting.
2013 Villa Blanche Pinot Noir Pays d’Oc, Calmel & Joseph - £8.99
Pinot Noir sourced in Limoux. Medium colour. Quite a ripe fresh nose and on the palate some rounded ripe fruit. Good varietal character, fresh strawberry fruit with a streak of tannin. A refreshing summer red.
2013 Montgravet Cabernet Merlot, Vin de France - £5.99
A rounded nose with some spicy cassis. Goes a bit jammy on the palate, with a streak of tannin. The Midi is not the best place for Bordeaux grape varieties, with exceptions of course.
2013 Waitrose Southern French Grenache, Pays d’Oc - £7.99
Pure Grenache from a block of old vines in the Gard. Ripe perfumed fruit on nose and palate, but finishes a little jammy.
2012 Bijou Cuvée Sophie Valrose, Cabrières - £7.99
From the Cabrières coop which does a pretty good job for its appellation. Quite a firm nose, and on the palate some slightly dusty warm fruit, with a touch of garrigues, and a sturdy finish.
2012 Domaine Marie, Faugères - £8.49
Do not confuse this with Clos Marie from Pic St. Loup. This comes from a négociant in Perpignan. And has some soft easy spice, making for easy drinking, but with no great depth. I would have expected better Faugères from Waitrose.
2012 Château de Caraguilhes, Corbières - £9.99
Quite a deep colour, with solid rounded gusty nose, and on the palate ripe tapenade and black cherry fruit. Ripe and supple with good spice and some balancing tannin. Lovely warming Corbières.
2012 Gourmandises Cabernet Sauvignon, Pays d’Oc - £8.99
Pure Cabernet Sauvignon with some rounded blackcurrant fruit on the nose, and sweet ripe palate with a streak of tannin. The sort of wine I could happily live without. Not at all gourmand.
2013 Costières de Nimes, Esprit des Trois Terres - £7.79
A blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. This was delicious. Lovely ripe rounded spicy fruit, with supple tannins. Easy drinking.
And one of the best Syrahs of the tasting came not from the Midi but from South Africa:.
2012 Mullineux Syrah, Swartland. - £18.99
It is of course rather more expensive than any of the Midi offerings. Medium colour. Solid spicy fruit on nose and palate. Some leathery notes. Rich, ripe and characterful. And a stunning example of the growing success of southern varieties in the Cape.
2013 Montgravet Rosé, Vin de France - £5.99
A pure Cinsaut. Light colour, light fresh nose and palate. Soft easy fruity drinking and good value.
2013 Domaine Sainte Rose, Pays d’Oc, Coquille d’Oc - £7.49
40% each of Grenache and Syrah, with 20% Mourvèdre. Pale orange pink. Light nose. Quite crisp and fresh on the palate with good acidity, and refreshing dry raspberry fruit. A lovely glass of rosé.
2013 Cabrières rosé, Cuvée Sophie Valrose. - £8.49
50% Cinsaut with 40% Grenache and 10% Syrah. The original reputation of Cabrières is based on rosé. Light colour. Lightly rounded nose and palate, with rounded raspberry fruit on the palate, and a rounded vinous finish. Nicely satisfying.
2013 Waitrose Southern French Sauvignon Blanc. Pays d’Oc - £7.99
Sauvignon with a touch of Vermentino grown in the Bassin de Thau. Firm pithy fruit on nose and palate. Definitely more Sauvignon than Vermentino, with good varietal character and good value. An exception to my rule that Sauvignon does not do well in the Midi.
2013 Côte Mas, Vermentino, Pays d’Oc - £8.49
Yet another offering from Jean-Claude Mas, though the only one in this tasting. Quite solid and sappy on the nose; rounded, ripe and supple on the palate.
2013 Picpoul de Pinet, Domaines Félines –Jourdan - £8.99
A lovely example of Picpoul de Pinet. Fresh and pithy with lovely sappy, salty fruit.
2013 Viognier, Laurent Miquel, Vendanges Nocturnes, Pays d’Oc - £8.99
Grapes picked in the cool of the night. Quite a ripe peachy fruit with good balancing acidity and a touch of ginger. Medium weight, so less opulent than some Viognier.
Majestic coming up next.