In a nutshell: A sweet, luscious and crisp dessert wine from the Perigord region of South West France.
The lowdown: Monbazillac is a small town south of Bergerac in the Dordogne which has a long history of producing sweet wines. They bear similarities with the wines of Sauternes which is not too far away both in the grape varieties used and the way the wines are made, but don't, on the whole, carry the same price tag. Made from 80% Semillon with a little Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle the grapes are hand harvested at a late stage of maturity, in three successive 'triage', to ensure that only the most mature grapes are picked and after fermentation the wine is matured for 24 months. It makes a fabulous, sweet and luscious wine, the nose is fresh with classic botrytis marmalade and ripe nectarine. The flavours on the palate are richer and nicely honeyed with a finishing twist of bitter orange. It has a great backbone of fine acidity leading to a pleasingly clean finish.
When to drink: In France it would be served as an apéritif but it's also really good with paté or blue cheeses such as Roquefort.
Located in Pomport near Bergerac, in the heart of Périgord, Domaine de Grange Neuve has been a family concern for five generations and it has grown from being a small farm with just 4 hectares of vines in 1898 to a vineyard of 70 hectares today. It's run by Anthony Castaing and his wife Eglantine who are dedicated to making wine that respects tradition while not neglecting technological advances, both in the cultivation of vines and in winemaking techniques. The vineyard consists of approximately 26 hectares of red grape vines (Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon), and 44 hectares of white (Sémillon, Muscadelle and Sauvignon Blanc), the average age of which is 25 years.