In a world of homogeneity it is wonderful to discover wines that have something original to say. So when we came across the Domaine Modat wines in the 400 strong line-up at the Vinisud  Fair in Montpellier last January it was their names that firstly grabbed our attention.  Not grape varieties or appellations or names invented by a slick marketing team but little French phrases which express a lot about the inspiration behind these original wines.

Domaine Modat is situated close to Perpignan in the south west corner of France. With the Mediterranean to the east and the Pyrenees to the south, it is a stunning location with ideal terroir for fine, elegant wines. The soil is granitic sand (gneiss) similar to that of Condrieu in the Rhone Valley so it is no co-incidence that their Viognier  is very much at home. The vineyard is farmed organically with hand harvesting and strict selection. It is owned and run by Henri Modat and his son Philippe. Their 19 hectares of old vines comprise 7 varieties: Syrah, Carignan, Grenache Noir, Cinsault, Macabeu, Carignan Blanc and Muscat Petits Grains.  Four additional hectares were planted in 2009 with white varieties (Grenache Blanc, Viognier and Roussanne).

The Reds:

- Sans Plus Attendre (without waiting any longer) 2009  £16.95 – Winner of the Bacchus Trophy in 2011, this wine is 70% Syrah with the rest Grenache and Carignan. The nose shows blackberry, vanilla and melon.  The palate combines black fruit flavours with a touch of tapenade and an unusual bitter orange note on the finish. Try it with red meats, goat’s cheese, even with spicy dishes.

- Comme Avant (as in days gone by) 2010 £13.99 – Grenache, Syrah and Carignan from the very best Parcelles of the domaine are brought together in this wine. Low temperature fermentation is followed by 16 months in French oak.

The White:

- De-ci, de-là  (from here and there) 2011 £13.99  - a blend of Grenache blanc and gris, Carignan blanc and Macabeu which has spent 5 months in French oak. Vibrant aroma of aniseed , fennel and wild flowers. Very rich and yet very fresh on the finish. It would make a stunning aperitif but would alternatively be great with tapas or with grilled fish.

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