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Six from merchant Purple Wines  

Purple wines is a new mail-order and internet-based merchant operating out of France, but targeting the UK market. Proprietor Simon Lloyd sent me six wines from the range to try, and I was quite impressed. There's certainly a niche for merchants like these: France has numerous worthy small producers who simply can't get a look in to the UK marketplace through the usual channels, because they simply don't have the volume to supply supermarkets and high street outlets. But the wines are often much more interesting than supermarket offerings at the same price. Lloyd's wines are mostly in the £6-£15 price range where there is plenty of interest, especially in the less celebrated regions. 

Contact details: 

Purple Wines
Phone: 0871 781 0809 (from UK)  
or 0033 621 05 73 13
Website: www.purplewines.com

La Flamme Noire des Chandelles Carignan Vieilles Vignes 2001 Vin de Pays de L’Aude
Attractively packaged.
Deep red/purple colour. Smooth, rather seamless nose with a liqueur-like edge to the damson, red berry and blackberry fruit. Hints of garrigue and spice in the background. The palate shows chewy, spicy fruit with some herbiness but underpinned by an earthy, spicy character. The plummy bitterness on the finish isn’t without appeal. Oak influence is cloaked by the fruit and the tannins are also disguised this way. Very distinctive and varietally true, this is a thought-provoking wine. Very good/excellent 91/100 (£9 Purple Wines)

Chais Suzanne Corbières 1999 Languedoc
Savoury, dusty, earthy nose of spicy, sun-baked rocks. The palate is earthy and spicy with an evolved savoury character and good acidity. A mature Languedoc wine with a good sense of place. Great with a range of foods; drink soon-ish. Very good+ 88/100 (£7 Purple Wines)

Chardonnay 2003 Vin de Pays des Côtes de Prouilhe
Quite an interesting fruity, slightly herby nose with a touch of minerality. Forward fruity palate with subtle nutty, waxy notes and good acid. Savoury style with some nice freshness. Very good+ 88/100 (£7 Purple Wines) 

Domaine de Lalande ‘Les Serreudières’ Mâcon Chânes 2003 Burgundy
Precise, fresh mineralic nose with lemony appley fruit and a fresh herbiness (foliage; green leaves). Quite classic. The palate is crisp but full flavoured with nice crisp fruit and a bracing mineral edge that counters the richness. A very sophisticated Mâcon. Very good/excellent 91/100 (£9 Purple Wines)

Château La Tilleraie ‘Vielli En Fûts de Chêne’ 2000 Pécharmant
Fantastic open nose with a lovely minerally spicy edge to the fresh red and black fruits. Dark, with some wet tarmac notes. The palate is savoury and dense with a dark tarry edge to the pure red and black fruits. Good acid here: this has a real feel of the southwest to it but with some Bordeaux classiness. Delicious. Very good+ 89/100 (£8 Purple Wines)

Domaine Gardrat ‘Rosae’ 2003 Vin de Pays Charentais 
This impressive Rosé hails from the Cognac region. It has a sweet strawberry nose, leading to a fresh palate with sweet edged, soft, strawberries and cream fruit. Light, smooth and very cultured with good acidity. Very good+ 88/100 (£6 Purple Wines) 

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