2017 Domaine Benjamin Taillandier Laguzelle Minervois

A quick twiddle with google suggests this is a blend of Carignan, Cinsault and Syrah. Notwithstanding a yeasty, beery edge of the low sulphur, natural wine persuasion, it’s the Carignan that shows the way with savoury, sweet meatiness. The roast goat’s well flavoured with some clean peppery raspberries. Light on its feet for Languedoc as some crisp acid and emery tannin freshen things up. Good balance on the tightrope of low intervention. Lovely unblemished fruit.

13% alcohol. Diam. $30.

93 points.

2016 Domaine de Blayac Minervois

Seriously, this is probably the best under a lobster* Woolies’ import ever. There, bold statement. Probably a love of old vine Carignan from Languedoc Roussillon sways the claim. The blend is Carignan, Grenache and Shiraz but it’s that sweet, caramelised roasting pan juice character that drives this spotlessly clean, softly delicious mouthful. Somehow there’s a ripeness level where the bright red fruit and clunky acidity of Carignan turns dark, mysterious and soft. There’s also dark, dark berries and velvet tannin. If quality is judged by how quickly the bottle empties, two of us were looking for the last drops as we mopped up our pasta sauce, all gone…

*in the unlikely event of a reader from outside Australia, a lobster is slang for a twenty dollar note and Woolies is one of our big, dominant supermarkets. Currency colours as brash as us.

13% alcohol. Cork. $14.30 in a six pack.

93 points but more pointedly, delicious.

2017 Moulin de Gassac Guilhem Syrah Grenache Mourvèdre Pays d’Herault IGP

From the family responsible for the hallowed Mas de Daumas Gassac’s grand vin comes this grand value. A Murphy’s direct import. Lip smackingly fresh, clean and delicious. Clear red fruit, some Languedoc herbiness and good acidity in harmony. Little bit dilute towards the end but it’s candid in its honest good fruit and not artificed by over extraction. The quality of good skin tannin and ripe acidity pull it through. Just as good the second day. Lovely label too that would look good on hobbit’s dinner table, my precious.

12.50% alcohol. Screwcap. $10.

89 points for a tenner!

2017 Domaine des Montèzes Carignan IGP

From Larzac in Languedoc. Perfumed and primary, really fresh and bright, mid weight, clean and red fruited, nicely ripe but still hanging onto the crunchy, firm handshake of Carignan’s acidity. The tannin lurks behind. Great favourite country cousin sort of grape. Another unwavering selection from Juhlès leading to some frantic posting.

13% alcohol. Cork. 11 euros.

91 points.

2013 Le Temps Retrouvé Mourvèdre

From vines in the hills above Perpignan in Roussillon via the seminal natural wine caviste La Cave des Papilles in Paris’ 14th. Developed but still some freshness to the dark cherry fruit and relatively high acidity. Improved with being open for a day as the parts came together to make a delicious wine. As well as cherries there was a lasting sweet roasting pan juice flavour tinged with rosemary. Clean and fine for its warm climate origins. The last glass was wistfully the best.

12.50% alcohol. Cork. 25 euros.

94 points

2015 Les Vignes Oubliées Terrasses du Larzac

A favourite caviste in Paris, Les Caves du Marais, run by the irrepressible Jean Jacques Bailly, is described by Paris by Mouth as the sort of place you always thought should exist but rarely does. Yet to be disappointed when asking for a coup de coeur. This Languedoc blend of Grenache, Syrah and Carignan is spectacularly rich, firm and at its powerful core deeply fruited. Dark squishy cherries and blackberries abound with earthy road tar, woody herbs, dried figs and scents of an old carbon black fireplace. The exuberance is nailed securely in place by dense wall of ripe tannin and acid that really brings the fruit to life with food. Sort of daunting without in that almost Italian way maybe. Wild but beautifully clean. The winery website shows just how carefully its beautiful old vineyards are tended. Forgotten no more.

14% alcohol. Cork. 24 euros.

95 points.

2016 Pont de Gassac

From a Languedoc original, Mas de Daumas Gassac, now run by the second generation Guibert family who have expanded the range to include lower prices and the immediately approachable. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and a little bit of Syrah and it’s the Cabernet that shows. Chewy, generous and blackcurrant flavoured with a note of almost Bordelaise gravel. Not complex but holds out all the way through with a ripe chunk of tannin and acid. A level of fruit quality above some large production Southern French stuff with a some phrygana notes. Valid synonym for garrigue or scrubby shrubbery it seems.

13.50% alcohol. Screwcap. $22, shame was about $18.

90 points.