Wine Alliance has come up with an impressive French double, both by Boutinot . The 2009 red Mas de Vigneron is a Pays de Vaucluse while the white is Pays Cote de Gascogne.

Vaucluse as you probably know is a part of Provence and Mas means farmhouse in the local lingo, usually one with no windows on the north so the dreaded Mistral can't bite through. By the way, I’m looking to rent one (well part of one anyhow!)  there next if you have any contacts let me know!

One such farm building, Mas de la Dame , has been producing wine and olive oil for four generations and has other claims to fame: Vincent van Gogh painted it (1889, later stolen but still used on wine label as at right), it was mentioned in the Nostradamus predictions and also referred to by Simone de Beauvoir.

This Pays de Vaucluse may not be AOC. You wouldn't be expecting much?  Mistake. Especially where an area has no appellation controlee vineyards.

This summer, I spotted the local Pays de Domme where I was staying in Sarlat and put it in my trolley only realising back at the Gîte that at about €8.50 it was the dearest wine I bought that day but this local beauty was also the best wine I bought that day.

Thanks to our host, I has also drank a few bottles of another local wine, Pays de Perigord, and that too was excellent and the same can be said of this exclusive import from Vaucluse which consists of Grenache Noir (70%) and Syrah (30%).

Colour is a burnt red with berries on the nose. It is soft and fruity and spicy as you’d expect with good length on the finish. Medium bodied and well balanced it is a great taste and great value at €8.99. ABV is 13% and this very drinkable red is recommended to go with grilled meats, casseroles, pizzas and mature hard cheeses. I drank it on its own and it was just delicious.

The white, Pays
de Cote de Gascogne (2009), is almost invisible in the bottle, particularly in artificial light, but otherwise it has quite a presence. It announces itself with a fruity nose and on the palate it is tarty (grapefruit mainly) and tingly (“lively acidity”, it says on the label), well balanced aromatic, crisp and refreshing.

If you like your whites dry, then you will enjoy this easy drinking bottle. ABV is 11.5% and the price is a very reasonable €8.99. Recommended as an aperitif or with fish dishes, vegetable and salad dishes.

Both available at: 1601 Off Licence (Kinsale), Cases Wine Warehouse (Galway), Hollands of Bray, and other fine wine stockists nationwide.