In a nutshell: A nicely light yet brambly and juicy Languedoc Cinsault from a small scale producer.
The lowdown: London restaurateur Trevor Gulliver is the man behind this small estate and his winemaker Benjamin Darlaut turns out some seriously impressive wines even though they style it merely 'Vin Artisan'. The only trouble is they're only made in small quantities. This, their Cinsault is lighter bodied than some but with plenty of red fruit character and purple florality on the nose. Underneath the juiciness there are attractive dark fruit flavours with a hint of spiciness and black pepper. The tannins give a good grip and give it a real finesse on the finish.
When to drink: If the weather's right this is a great picnic red that's a treat if slightly chilled.
Trevor Gulliver is best known as the London restaurateur behind several successful establishments such as The Fire Station in Waterloo, Smithfield, and Bread and Wine, as well as several other food and drink related enterprises. One of these is Boulevard Napoléon, his winery situated in the village of La Livinière in the hills of the Minervois in the Languedoc, which happens to be close to his southern French holiday home.
While the scale is pretty small, as with all his projects it's a high quality operation and one in which he partnered with renowned winemaker Benjamin Darnault. All the wines come from old vineyards in the La Livinière appellation and while they're certainly among the best made here they generally only take the more generic 'Vin de Pays de l'Herault' appellation because they don't want to be constrained by the regulations otherwise imposed. The quantities of all the wines produced are always limited and each is a classic expression of what can be produced on the dry, stony slopes of this part of the south of France; they have a vibrancy and definition that marks them out from the crowd.