Margaret Swaine’s Wine Picks: Gallic flavours

These three French wines in today’s Vintages release deliver classic Gallic flavours at bargain prices. Find them via

Domaine des Richards Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise 2010  
$16.95  (90 points)
This lightly fortified dessert wine from the Rhone Valley is made from muscat grapes. The bouquet is fragrant with blossoms, grape and orange peel, which carries through on the palate. Medium-full bodied with orange marmalade flavours balanced by good acidity, this is great on the rocks as an aperitif or chilled for after a meal.
$18.95 (90 points)
From Côtes du Roussillon-Villages in southern France, this is the fourth release of this popular red. Grenache noir based with 30% syrah and 5% carignan, it’s ultra smooth with ripe, rich berry flavours. It sees no wood but has some spiced, savoury notes from its terroir. Perfect for venison or duck breast.

Chateau de Fontenelles Cuvée Notre Dame 2008
$15.95 (89 points)
A gold-medal-winning blend of syrah (55%), grenache, carignan and mourvèdre from Corbières, this dark purplish garnet wine is medium-full bodied with lots of fruit concentration. Smooth with velvety tannins and good depth, it has flavours of ripe berry, savoury spices and cedar. With its firm, dry, earthy finish, it goes well with red meats.