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English  France

Manchester Evening News - 10 June 2011 - Andy Cronshaw’s wine review

Muriel Lismonde, of Alderley Edge has spent the last few years developing a vineyard in the Lot region of south west France – most famous for the Cahors appellation. Muriel, whose partner is English, has worked with her family to revive a vineyard at the regional park of Causses du Quercy. The location is idyllic and offers good terroir for wine with a limestone based soil. And, away from the main locations for vines in Lot, the family are able to operate organically without the use of pesticides. Working in this manner is hard but pays great dividends. The result is the Tour de Belfort range of white, red and rose wines.

I recently tasted the 2009 red and 2010 white. The white is a blend of sauvignon blanc, sauvignon gris, chardonnay and semillion made under the direction of oenologue Didier Doris. I was surprised by its elegance and balance particularly considering it’s grown in a hot region better suited to red grapes. Floral and citrus characters abound on the nose and there is a juicy, almond, honey centre with a slightly oily mouthfeel and good acidity. Considering the blend, it is beautifully harmonious and I would say £10 is a bargain for a wine of such finesse.

The red is a blend more typical of the Cahors region with malbec, cabernet franc, merlot and syrah. It is designed to be drunk young and has fresh aromas of herbs and spice. The palate is fruit-driven and voluptuous with dark cherry flavours and soft tannins. It is the sort of red to match with a good steak and is also an example of what a great vintage 2009 was across France.