France's wild frontier

The south of France is a hotbed of winemaking talent. We’ve sourced the stand-out wines from across this wild region, including cult legends and undiscovered gems. If you’re dreaming of warmer climes this summer, dive into this range from the Languedoc, Roussillon, Corsica and Provence. The wines have distinctive characters, are incredibly food-friendly, and offer real value for money in a wine world too often focussed solely on status and brand.


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2019 La Brise Marine, Château de la Négly, La Clape, Languedoc

Dry | White | Still | 13.5%

What a delicious white wine. This salty, expressive white from this enterprising estate in Languedoc offers outstanding value for money. Aromas of fresh white flowers and the salty spray of the Mediterranean make this citrus scented white the perfect aperitif. Balanced, refreshing, unfussy and delicious.

Ready: 2020 - 2024

2018 La Côte, Château de la Négly, La Clape, Languedoc

Dry | Red | Still | 14.5%

Château La Négly is a terrific estate in the Languedoc, and a brilliant addition to our list. Their single vineyard cuvées often claim the spotlight, but you shouldn’t miss their fantastic Carignan blend, at a very friendly price. It’s packed with kirsch, liquorice, black pepper and cassis. The Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre in the blend give it nice silky tannins and a fresh bite. It is generous, open, and slips down a treat.

Ready: 2020 - 2027

2018 La Falaise, Château la Négly, La Clape, Languedoc

Dry | Red | Still | 15%

This is a big, juicy and powerful wine, not for the fainthearted. The nose packs in dark berries, spice, and wild herbs, and that rich, sunshine-drenched ripeness of the south. But press on past the heady aromas and you find a palate of admirable balance and elegance. There is nothing out of kilter here. There is surprising nuance and finesse beneath its power and brawn, with fondant tannins and a minty freshness. Its balance offers a similar appeal to that of great Châteauneuf-du-Papes, at a fraction of the price.

Young: 2021 - 2030

2018 Clos Culombu, Storia de Ecce Fructus, Corsica

Dry | Red | Still | 14.5%

This could be one of our favourite new discoveries. It’s a blend of obscure but characterful local Corsican varieties like Sciaccarellu and Aleaticu. An expressive, peppery, red fruit nose is followed by a smooth, supple and generous palate, with a surprising freshness. Accomplished winemaking avoids rusticity but retains the varieties’ naturally wild characters. It only improves as it opens up. It is bright, pure, mineral and elegant. A revelation.

Ready: 2020 - 2030

2019 Clos Sainte Magdeleine Blanc, Cassis

Dry | White | Still | 12.5%

If you’ve ever enjoyed fresh seafood with piquant aioli in the charming Provencal seaside town of Cassis, you probably washed it down with this - the classic white from the appellation’s greatest domaine. It is bursting with floral, tangy, citrus aromas. The soft palate is the perfect foil to summer seafood dishes, and will disappear faster than you can get the next bottle cool.

Ready: 2020 - 2023

2018 Schistes, Coume del Mas, Collioure

Red | Still | 14.5%

This is a deliciously juicy, plush Grenache from Roussillon talents, Coume del Mas. It has sweet, sweet berry fruit on the nose which is laced with liquorice, pepper, violets, and crushed raspberries. Its upfront juiciness is counterbalanced by a satisfying bitterness that accompanies the ripe fruit on the palate. Silky tannins and a supple, fine finish.

Young: 2021 - 2028

2019 Folio, Coume del Mas, Collioure

White | Still | 14%

This barrel fermented Grenache Gris from a brilliant estate in Roussillon delivers a level of precision and elegance one wouldn't normally associate with this wild southwest corner of the French coast. Coume del Mas’s wines exemplify the terrific quality of still dry wines emerging from a region previously associated with sweet, fortified ones. Perfumed with almonds and an exotic touch from some salty reduction, its well-judged oak gives weight and balance, and rounds out this silky, delicious white.

Young: 2021 - 2028

2012 Le Soula Rouge, Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes

Dry | Red | Still | 12.5%

Le Soula sits at 660m up in the eastern Pyrenées, which its makers refer to as ‘terroir d’altitude’. Talented winemaker Gérard Gauby sought this cooler climate up in the foothills for its freshness, and since 2001 has been producing some captivating, long-lived, and characterful wines from this unique outpost. This blend of Carignan, Syrah and Grenache is sappy, juicy and well balanced, with notes of tapenade and leather. Decant before serving to let it open up.

Ready: 2020 - 2030

2016 Le Soula Blanc, Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes

Dry | White | Still | 13%

Gérard Gauby established this domaine in the foothills of the Pyrenées, cherishing the spot for the freshness and expression it produced in these old vine whites. This is an esoteric blend, including Sauvignon Blanc and Vermentino, among many others. The 2016 is their current release, showing how much Le Soula believe in the ageing potential of their wines. Notes of greengage, fennel and orange blossom on the nose, with a taut yet intense palate. Totally delicious.

Ready: 2020 - 2030

2018 Bréchallune Picpoul de Pinet, Domaine La Croix Gratiot

Dry | White | Still

Brothers Yves and Hugues Ricome have run Domaine La Croix Gratiot for over thirty years, but only started bottling their own wines in 2005. This comes from a limestone plateau right by the sea, and is a bright, energetic, textured expression of the Picpoul grape. Notes of grapefruit pith and sea spray, and a long and savoury finish. Very good value.

Ready: 2020 - 2023

2017 Domaine Paradella, Patrimonio, Corsica

Dry | Red | Still | 14.5%

It's hard to believe this is only the second vintage of Paradella. The confidence and skill of the winemaking here speaks of superb experience, which can be attributed to Lionel Wojcik’s training at Château Tertre Roteboeuf. Made from Nielluccio (the local name for Sangiovese) and grown in the Corsican commune of Patrimonio - the finest on the island - it has such intense, decadent red berries beneath its rich, toasty oak. It will meld beautifully together with a few years in bottle.

Young: 2022 - 2029

2016 Bandol Classique, Domaine Tempier

Dry | Red | Still | 14.5%

Tempier has stood as a preeminent domaine of Provence for decades, putting Bandol on the fine wine map. 75% Mourvèdre in the blend gives an intense, dark perfume evocative of the wild garrigue scrub, luminous skies, and sweet ripe fruit from this beautiful corner of the Mediterranean coast. 2016 is a brilliant vintage for the domaine, with wonderfully balanced wines that will evolve great complexity.

Young: 2022 - 2034

2016 Bandol Cuvée Tourtine, Domaine Tempier

Dry | Red | Still | 15%

La Tourtine 2016 is a truly fine example of Tempier’s distinctive terroirs. This vineyard bathes in light from sunrise to sunset, and the sandstone and marly soils lock in enough water reserves to keep these deep-rooted old vines happy. Mourvèdre makes up 85% of the blend, and this 2016 is a superb example of its ability to deliver power and elegance.

Young: 2022 - 2037
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2017 Domaine de Montcalmès, Terrasses du Larzac

Dry | Red | Still | 14%

Though it remains under the radar in comparison to neighbours and mentors, Grange de Pères, winemaker Frédéric Pourtalié has quietly established Montcalmès as one of the most nuanced and high quality producers of the Languedoc. Syrah and Grenache from limestone and Mourvèdre grown on galets roulés soils (pudding stones, like Châteauneuf) are seamlessly blended in this superbly balanced and delicious red. Light on its feet, but with an assured density and sophisticated structure of fragrant red currant fruits, mineral, detailed tannins, and a long, balanced finish. Impeccable.

Young: 2021 - 2029

2016 Domaine de Trévallon Rouge, Vin de Pays des Bouches du Rhône

Dry | Red | Still | 13.5%

The 2016 follows the iconic blend of this maverick estate: roughly equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Organic farming, low yields, and long élevage married with the superb 2016 growing season in the south culminate in a Vin de Pays outside the mould. Owner Erloi Dürrbach’s refusal to play by appellation rules, the wine’s unquestionable quality, and that intangibly unique appeal of the one-off labels, first designed by his father - a great friend of Pablo Picasso - go some way in explaining this domaine’s category-defying draw.

Young: 2022 - 2040

2018 Domaine de l'Horizon, Mar i Muntanya Rouge, Côtes Catalanes

Dry | Red | Still | 12.5%

“Sea and Mountains” is an evocative name, and goes some way in describing this wine’s salty, poised balance. And a bonkers label featuring a cow floating above the sea and mountains, airborne by colourful balloons, goes some way in describing the unusual and off-the-beaten track nature of this domaine, and this wine. At just 12.5% abv, with a savoury texture and light but juicy, crunchy berry flavours, this is a brilliant aperitif red.

Ready: 2020 - 2024

2015 Domaine de l'Horizon Blanc, Côtes Catalanes

Dry | White | Still | 12.5%

The raw and ruggedly beautiful wind-beaten hillsides of the Pyrenées as they dip into the azure waters of the Mediterranean Sea produce tiny quantities of intensely flavoured wine from gnarled old vines. This has such a rich and complex nose, its flavours range from mango to wild tarragon to salted peanuts all in one swirl of the glass. There is astonishing, salty concentration on the palate; it’s hard to believe this is only 12.5% abv. It is in a perfect moment of maturity right now.

Ready: 2020 - 2025

2016 Domaine de l'Horizon Rouge, Côtes Catalanes

Dry | Red | Still | 12.5%

At just 12.5% abv, translucent in colour, and with a peppery, herby freshness on the nose, this might not be what springs to mind for the warm climes of the south. The palate has that sweet, silky flow of sun ripened fruit, so that it manages to be both restrained and indulgent all at once. The altitude of the Côtes Catalanes are the secret to this style. Tiny volumes mean this has remained a well-kept secret. It is well worth discovering.

Young: 2021 - 2028

2016 Domaine de la Grange des Pères Rouge, Vin de Pays de l'Hérault

Dry | Red | Still | 14%

This domaine is recognised as one of the finest in the south of France, and has emerged as one of the most sought after names in the fine wine market. Its blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Counoise, Mourvèdre, and Syrah achieves a formidable concentration and intensity in this unique corner of the Languedoc. Full bodied, with the aroma of wild herbs, dark berries and spice, this will evolve magnificent complexity with time. Rightly considered among the greatest wines of France.

Young: 2022 - 2040

2016 Clos des Fées Vieilles Vignes, Côtes du Roussillon Villages

Dry | Red | Still | 14.5%

Sommelier turned winemaker Hervé Bizeul has earned kudos for this career change. He makes this superb cuvée from an abandoned vineyard of ancient vines he bought in a forgotten corner of the Roussillon in the late 1990s. It is a field blend of Grenache and local curiosity Lladoner Pelut, along with Carignan and Syrah. It is rich and fruity, bursting with black berry flavours, with subtle savoury notes of cured meat, and a salty drive on the palate. Structured but in no way heavy; peppery, and so, so good.

Ready: 2020 - 2030

2017 Bandol Rouge, Domaine du Gros' Noré

Dry | Red | Still

Over the past few decades, Gros' Noré has emerged as a top Bandol address, rubbing shoulders with its famous neighbour, Tempier. Their powerful Mourvèdre blends are rich, spicy and impressively ageworthy, and as with all great Bandols, retain a salty, herb-infused freshness. This has a deep and chewy structure, with the scent of roasted spice and a beautiful thread of acidity running through it.

Young: 2022 - 2032

2017 Côtes du Roussillon Villages Domaine de Bila-Haut Occultum Lapidem, M. Chapoutier

Dry | Red | Still | 15%

Michel Chapoutier is a towering talent in the Northern Rhône, producing some of France’s greatest wines. Quick to recognise the potential in this southern corner, his investment and dedication here make for a Roussillon red of excellent value. With notes of garrigue and fresh berries on the nose, a hint of tapenade, and focussed grippy tannins, this is a charming wine from Chapoutier.

Ready: 2020 - 2026

2019 Mas de Daumas Gassac, Vin de Pays de l'Hérault

Dry | Red | Still | 14%

This is surely one of the quirkiest blends around. Its backbone of Cabernet Sauvignon, with a small dash of Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc, echoes a classical Bordeaux. But its peppering of Tannat, Pinot Noir and a string of rare varieties set this wine apart. Add to that the wild, garrigue-strewn landscape of the Hérault, and you have something altogether unique. The tense and sappy freshness of this 2019, with defined, textural tannins, are marks of yet another brilliant vintage here.

Young: 2022 - 2032