I popped into my local wine shop, Roberson’s, last week to meet their wine buyer, Mark Andrew. He is as keen and enthusiastic about the Languedoc as I am, with a lovely selection of wines, including some of the great names of the region – Gauby, l’Hortus, Négly, Peyre Rose, Mas de Dumas Gassac, Mas Champart and other tempting goodies, so we had a lovely time exchanging opinions about old favourites and new discoveries.

However, Mark was particularly keen to show me his new house wines. He has been working with Hugh Ryman of Château de Jaubertie fame. Hugh is also said to be the inspiration behind the firm A Good Year with Russell Crowe – I haven’t seen the film, so I couldn’t possibly comment. Between them, they have produced a couple of intriguing blends from the Midi, under the label Orbiel & Frères. The wines come from the Minervois, where they have worked with local coops, and the Orbiel is the main river which flows through the appellation. There are two single varieties, a Sauvignon and a Merlot, which were pretty much as you would expect, offering pleasant drinking, but nothing more. Much more satisfying were the two blends, a Marsanne Sauvignon and Grenache Syrah, both Coteaux de Peyriac, which is the principal IGT (or vin de pays) of the Minervois.

2009 Marsanne Sauvignon, Coteaux de Peyriac, - £5.95
Light colour, quite a rounded nose and palate, with some fresh acidity. The wine has the weight of Marsanne, with some creamy fruit, and hints of white blossom, with a fresh touch of acidity, provided by just 10 per cent Sauvignon. Marsanne can lack a bit of acidity, and the Sauvignon just adds that necessary hint of freshness, giving a lift on the finish.

2009 Grenache Syrah, Coteaux de Peyriac - £5.95
Medium colour. Quite a warm rounded, spicy nose. A lovely, ripe easy palate, with soft tannins. There is a hint of oak, which provides some structure, and the wine has some appealing fruity, savoury notes, which makes for easy drinking. What more do you want from a house wine?

And Roberson’s, which is a supremely tempting shop for browsing, has just won Decanter’s 2010 award for London Small Wine Merchant of the Year. Congratulations Roberson’s. I am delighted to have you as my local, especially when you enjoy the Languedoc as much as I do.

Roberson Wine,
348 Kensington High Street,
London W14 8NS
0207 737 2121


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