Malcolm Jolley finds a highly rated South of France blend for under $20…

Jancis Robinson writes in the fourth edition of the Oxford Companion to wine that the La Clape AOC “can be unfairly penalized for its name in Anglophone markets”. In any case an it’s an easy name to remember, and if the Château d’Anglès Classique La Clape 2018 ($18.95 | LCBO# 286484) is anything to go by, the relatively small appellation that lies between the town of Narbonne and the Mediterranean Sea, will be increasingly recognized as a centre of excellence in the Languedoc. Eric and Christine Fabre, who bought Château d’Anglès 20 years ago, will have contributed to this growing reputation. Fabre was the technical director at Lafitte Rothschild before leaving Bordeaux to strike out on his own in the South. His wines have won numerous awards and much high praise, including from Robinson herself.

The Classique, which is released into Vintages this weekend, is Fabre’s very reasonably priced second wine and is described by its maker this way:

“Syrah for fruit and spices delicately vinified and blended with Grenache for roundness, a dash of Mourvèrdre giving structure and the refreshing minty touch from the terroir of La Clape appellation. A tasty, smooth and balanced to enjoy without complexes!”

Marketing copy or not, it’s pretty accurate description of the 2018 Anglès Classique, which struck me as particularly elegant, fresh and in balance for a 14% alcohol by volume wine from a region that regularly gets more than 300 days of sunshine a year. Of course, that sunshine delivers great fruit in this wine, and back over at, Tamlyn Currin described the 2018 as having “Black bramble fruit with an hibiscus-petal tang and lift, black tea leaves, roasted Mediterranean herbs”. By black bramble fruit I think she means the blackberries that grow prodigiously in the hedgerows of England and Wales, as that raspberry to blackberry note is what really hit me with this wine. Whether I enjoyed it without complexes is another matter, but enjoy it I did. But watch out: for me, at least, this is a dangerous wine that calls for another glass and discourages the replacement of the cork. At $19 it’s certainly worth a try.

Click here to find this wine at the LCBO. Find out more about Château d’Anglès at