Why Saint-Chinian is the perfect red wine for weekday dinners

Looking for a comforting red wine for weekday dinners? Find out why Saint-Chinian is the region to head for.

Comforting, unpretentious, reliable and affordable; four words that most of us are craving right now in oh, so many ways.

Here’s a little something about a wine region that is all of these things. You may not have heard of it before but now you have, you’ll start seeing wines from here pop up everywhere. Grab them while you can, give them a big cuddle and say ‘thank you!’

Trethowans

Saint-Chinian

This little gem of a wine region can be found within the greater Languedoc-Roussillon wine region of Southern France, just northwest of Béziers. It’s where you’d often go on holiday anyway and here are 10 things to do while you’re there.

What’s the wine like?

Blends of different grapes are what Saint-Chinian wines are all about and while quality can vary, it’s the perfect place to come for wines just like the ones your folks used to drink on French holidays only nowadays, they’re even better made.

Producers here do make white and rosé wines, but the reds are the most famous and they rely heavily on the ‘holy trinity’ of grapes: Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre; the same grapes used in the more famous Southern Rhône Valley where Châteauneuf-du-Pape comes from. Saint-Chinian wines also like a dollop of Carignan, which is the Eliza Doolittle of wine grapes: tart and rustic, but can scrub up really nicely. Here’s a video about that.

Why Saint-Chinian is the boyband of wine styles

In our boyband of grapes, we’ve got soft, sweet approachable one (Grenache), the darker, brooding, complex one (Syrah) and the full-on, full-bodied party animal (Mourvedre).

Throw in Eliza and a few of her mates and the result is harmonious and convivial. Here’s my VINALOGY video explaining more about the famous boyband of grapes, #GSM!

When to drink it

Saint-Chinian red wines like food and company. Rich, dark-fruited, spicy and complex, often with those gorgeous garrigue flavours of rosemary and thyme. They love grilled meat dishes, stews and cheese, especially where the local herbs are used. Open a few and share them around the kitchen table. Parfait!

Where to buy it

  • Tesco *Finest Saint-Chinian 2014 – Brilliant value, juicy, dark and herby. A great food wine and good introduction to the wines of the region. Tesco, £7
  • La Grange des Combes 2015 AOC St-Chinian-Roquebrun – A rich and plummy, meaty, garrigue-scented red that tastes much more expensive than it is. Definitely worth making the most of the multi-buy discount. Majestic £11.99 for one, £9.99 for two or more.
  • Château La Dournie, Cuvée Etienne 2013 – Silky and full-bodied with violets, damsons and tonnes of herbs and spices. A perfumed beauty. I love this wine. Around £14 www.cambridgewine.com and thewinesociety.com
  • Vignobles Belot Les Mouleyres, 2014 – If you like the toastiness of oak, you’ll love this version with wild strawberry and brighter fruit underpinning jammy blackcurrant flavours. £14.99 virginwines.com

Winebird is a freelance writer, presenter and author of VINALOGY: wine basics with a twist! You can follow her on Twitter, and find her on YouTube.