Désiré Francois Merlot 2017

I’m back on one of my UK trips again and the other night visited my favourite Indian restaurant. I’ve previously tried a number of their new world red wine offerings and been really impressed. A much higher quality than I would expect from your average Indian restaurant, but then Indian food in the UK does seem to be going more upmarket these days.

This time I decided to brave their French red wine. I usually avoid French wine, because it is a country I know the least about when it comes to wines. However, no longer! I now have my WSET 2 qualification and French wines figured high on stuff you needed to know. Time to test the new found knowledge. So I went ahead and ordered the one bottle of French wine they had on the menu.

I was all ready to amaze my eating buddy with my knowledge of this wine: what grapes are used, where it came from, how it should taste etc, so was a bit disappointed when it turned out to be a bulk made Vin de France very clearly labelled as a merlot. OK, so well done France for finally letting us know what grapes you are using, but it did rather spoil my act.

A Vin de France basically means the grapes could come from anywhere in France. I vaguely recall that a lot of the bulk made French wines seemed to come from the Pays D’Oc /Languedoc Rousillon Region in the South of France, so I decided to google it and see if this one was also from there.

I found absolutely nothing! Whoever makes this wine they don’t seem to want to advertise the fact. The only information available was the various UK restaurants that sell the stuff. It appears they have been very successful selling a bulk wine to the UK catering trade, but seem to be a little embarrassed by the fact.

Should they be embarrassed? Well no! OK this is not an outstanding wine, but neither is it that bad. It’s a clear purple red colour. I couldn’t describe the scent as I was in an Indian restaurant where the nose tends to get overwhelmed. It has medium/light tannins, with a light body and finish. Tastes of a red berry and plum mix with a bit of chilli. Of course after I’d had my Jalfrezi their was no chilli in the wine as my mouth was too hot from the real chilli in the curry 🥵🥵. All in all this is a smooth, young uncomplicated wine: exactly what you’d expect of a basic table wine. Nothing to shout about, but no need to be embarrassed either. It’s perfectly drinkable. We happily polished off a bottle.

Name: Désiré Francois
Colour: Red
Year: 2017
Grapes Merlot
Winery: Désiré
Country: France
Region: Unknknown
Quality Classification: Vin de Pays
Alcohol: 13%
Price: £14 in Cambridge restaurant, probably around £5-£10 in shop

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