Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Vignobles Foncalieu wines with Indian food at Quilon

Image copyright: Vignobles Foncalieu

There are still a lot of people that wouldn't dream of pairing curry with wine: beer has always been the tipple of choice for curry-loving Brits. The classic pairing of spicy food with a cold, refreshing lager may be hard to move away from, but times they are a'changing. While the wine offering at your local Indian might not be worth putting down the Kingfisher for, restaurants such as Rasoi in Chelsea, and Michelin-starred Quilon in Kensington are trying to alter perceptions.

Image copyright Quilon

I was invited to Quilon to try a range of wines from Vignobles Foncalieu, the oldest wine co-operative spread across the Langeudoc-Roussillon, Gascony, and Rhône Valley regions. It now consists of more than 1,000 vineyards, covering 4,500 hectares. While the Langeudoc may have had a reputation in the past for producing vin de table, that is not the case any more.

Our evening started with the chance to try four wines from the Langeudoc region, with a soya bean chop and pepper shrimp to nibble.

Albariño 2014, vin de France – Les Extraordinaires (100% Albariño): This was my first taste of an Albariño from France! Fresh, light and full of tropical fruit, this would be a lovely wine to enjoy at a summer barbecue before you tuck into the sausages. If the weather isn’t agreeing, I’m sure it would be just as nice indoors. 
Available from Hennings, £9.99

Le Versant Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Pays d'Oc IGP (100% Sauvignon Blanc): While everyone you know might be sticking with their trusty New Zealand sauvignon, this makes a nice change. Clean on the palate and not too heavy on the grapefruit.
Available from Hennings £8.75, The Secret Cellar, £9.50

Le Versant Pinot Noir 2014, Pays d'Oc IGP (100% Pinot Noir): A smooth, well balanced pinot noir. It’s a bit floral, with some dark fruits: a tasty, casual wine
Available from Hennings £8.75, Fine Wines Direct, £9.49

Le Versant Grenache Rosé 2015, Pays d'Oc IGP (100% Grenache Noir): I’m not usually a big rosé drinker but this could definitely change my mind. While it’s big on the fruits, it’s got a nice depth to it too.
Available from The Secret Cellar, £9.50

Coconut cream chicken: Image copyright Quilon

We sat down to a mixed starter of lotus chop, curry leaf and lentil crusted fish, and coconut cream chicken, paired with two more Langeudoc wines.

Le Versant Viognier 2014, Pays d'Oc (100% Viognier): This worked really well with the fish and chicken. While there were plenty of delicate spices in the food to get your head around, the fresh acidity of this wine stood up to it well.
Available from Hennings, Fine Wines Direct, The Secret Cellar, £9.50

Domaine Haut Gléon Gris 2015, Vallée du Paradis IGP (30% Grenache Noir, 25% Merlot, 25% Cabernet France, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon): Lots of spice, a bit of sweetness, and packing a punch with blackberries. 
RRP, £18.00

Mangalorean chicken: Image copyright Quilon
It makes a very pleasant change to have a delicate, refined and light curry, compared to the usual hefty takeaway (not that I don't enjoy that from time to time...). We were served a selection of dishes for the main: prawn masala, mangalorean chicken curry, lamb biryani, malabar paratha (a delicious flaky, fluffy, crisp and soft flatbread), and snow peas with coconut and asparagus. These were paired with four wines:

Château Haut Gléon Blanc 2014, Corbières AOP (60% Roussanne, 40% Grenache Blanc): I am a big fan of this wine, and I thought it was the best match with the food. There’s a lot going on: it’s a big white, with spice and nuttiness. A wine that keeps on giving. 
Available from Fine Wines Direct, £21.99

Take me there! Image copyright: Haut Gleon
Château Haut Gléon Rosé 2015, Corbières AOP (50% Syrah, 50% Grenache Noir)After trying the above with the food, I didn’t think this paired quite as well, but I still really liked the wine. It’s a very pretty pink, and it’s light, fruity, and floral. Another for those occasional, long summer evenings. It would be even better to sip a glass while relaxing at Château Haut Gléon itself, which Foncalieu bought in 2012. I mean, just look at that pool. 
Available from Hennings, £25.00

Atelier Prestige Le Lien 2013, Minervois, AOP (80% Syrah, 20% Grenache Noir): Intense but still soft, if that’s possible? It's floral on the nose but with lots of body and a lingering finish. 
Available from £28.00

Atelier Prestige Les Illustres 2012, Coteaux D’Enserune IGP (60% Syrah, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Malbec): This is the result of 11 winemakers coming together. Despite the saying, ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’, they’ve done a good job with this one. Very fruity, smooth, and elegant. 
Available from The Secret Cellar, £21.00

After all that there was even room for dessert: a sweet and moreish baked yogurt, and a seven-layered Goan celebration cake called bebinca, with two wines.

Griset Gris de Gris 2015, Pays d'Oc – Les Extraordinaires (100% Sauvignon Gris): The evening did well on helping me along with rosé. This is an easy drinking wine that is grapefruit in colour, and grapefruit in flavour. The stripes on the bottle matched nicely with the striped bebinca.
Available from Hennings, £7.50

Syrah/Viognier Rouge 2015, Pays d'Oc – Les Extraordinaires (80% Syrah, 20% Viognier): The fresh and spicy syrah has the edge taken off it by the floral, sweeter richness of the viognier.
Available from Nectar, £5.78

Although there was a lot to try throughout the evening, I was impressed by the variety and quality of the wines on offer. It was a great introduction to Les Vignobles Foncalieu wines, and will certainly make me think twice before reaching for the Kingfisher with my next balti.

Image copyright: Haut Gleon 


  1. Château Haut Gléon Blanc is one of my favorit wines. Great post, thank You

    1. Thanks Steve! And I was really impressed with it. Just need to visit and sit by that pool with a bottle now!