In a nutshell: A delicious, soft, ripe French red blend from Corbières in the western Languedoc.
The lowdown: Ollieux Romanis make quite a selection of wines at their large family estate in the Corbières and this, the Cuvée Classique Rouge has long been a fixture on our list simply because of its quality and value for money. It's a blend of Carignan, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah which is fermented and aged in tank forbetween 12-18 months. No oak ageing is involved. There is a burst of blueberries and cassis on the nose wrapped up with a lingering spicy note while on the palate the luscisous dark fruit flavours have a touch of herbiness reminiscent of the local garrigue. It's all very well balanced and leaves with a really tasty finish.
When to drink: Big and juicy and perfect for roast beef and other grilled meats.
While the Bories family have been involved in winemaking in Corbières for several generations it was Jacqueline and François Bories who, in the 1980s, were the ones who laid the foundations for bringing Château Ollieux Romanis to where it is today. They modernised the property, acquired new vineyards and re-vamped their older ones keeping, wherever possible, some of the older vines. In 2001 they were joined by their son Pierre and their reputation has continued to go from strength to strength.
The estate extends to around 150 hectares of vineyards based around their property which is in Boutenac in the heart of the Corbières appellation. They grow a high proportion of old vine Carginan along with Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Roussanne and Marsanne on sites which mainly have a favourable south easterly aspect. While they've never gone in for organic certification they are keen on sustainable viticulture. They havent used artificial herbicides for many years and for fertilisers they mainly rely on compost made on the estate in favour of bought in chemicals. Their range of wines, which are always super value for money, are a great reflection of their passion for this southerly part of the Languedoc.