French wines don’t come any beefier, tastier or better value than those from the glorious Languedoc-Roussillon area of South West France.

One of our favourite budget brands, widely available in the UK, is Les Jamelles, as their red Syrah and white Viognier wines combine a popular and modern directness of style  with an admirable regional authenticity.

The quality has been demonstrated by another cuvée from their portfolio of wines, Les Jamelles Mourvèdre Réserve 2011,which this year has been awarded the “Decanter wine trophy for the top red Languedoc-Roussillon wine under £10”

Dense, full bodied, smooth and juicy, this wine is made entirely from the tannic Mourvèdre grape and delivers a big punch for its modest price of £6.99 (Co-op).

A surprising combination of mature flavours ranging from charred oak and caramel to cooked fruit and tart red berries provide a very concentrated experience, especially as it’s all presented within a heady 14% of alcohol. 

As far as food is concerned, this wine would make a virtually bomb-proof choice, capable of complimenting the richest of tomato and herb sauces which would destroy most lighter bodied contenders.

Alternatively, the full achievement of Languedoc-Roussillon wines is beautifully demonstrated by the Abbotts & Delaunay range which includes their Côtes du Roussillon Réserve 2010.

At  £11.99 (Averys Wine Merchants) it’s higher up the price scale but the class shows. Compared to the Les Jamelles, this is warmer and more aromatic on the nose with more forward fruit and a longer finish.

With a refined and almost Bordeaux-like structure, the Syrah, Grenache and Carignan grapes are coaxed into revealing their southern charms along cedary tannins, summer fruits and golden allspice which rolls open on the palate.

The Abbotts & Delaunay Côtes du Roussillon is worthy of a place at the table with your finest roast meals; and if it’s chicken you have in mind, try stuffing it with plenty of lemon; the wine loves it !