Vive le vin francais!

Wine reviews – By Michael Wolsey

Would you be critical of an Irish politician who drank alcohol twice a day? I remember a time when he would have been lauded for his restraint and sobriety. But we live in a judgmental age and that characteristic has even spread to France where President Macron has got into trouble with doctors for revealing that he drinks wine with his lunch and also with his dinner.

Sacré bleu! If a Frenchman can’t enjoy a fine wine with his meals, then civilization as we know it is surely under threat.

There are myths about French drinking habits, one being that they rarely get drunk. I have friends in the south of France and have been there on many a drunken night, particularly at holiday time, when cafés pull their tables into the village street, the local band provides the entertainment and there is singing and dancing washed down by litres of beer and fiery spirits.

But that is quite different from the civilized sipping of a glass of wine with a meal. It is good for digestion and conversation and was the making of Asterix the Gaul.

Here are three excellent French wines that will improve your lunch or dinner.

Chateau de Beaucastel, Famille Perrin 2011. We associate the Chateauneuf du Pape name with red wine but this is a lovely smooth blended white Chateauneuf which goes well with lamb or a hearty fish such as salmon. This is one for a special occasion, selling at round €35 in independent wine merchants.

Le Dome du Grand Bois, Cotes du Rhone 2016 (€9 Dunnes). These gentle fruit tastes are a nice match for chicken or cheese.

Fleurie Andre Goichot (€12 SuperValu). A Beaujolais, but a little more robust than most of the wines that go by that name. Great with roasts or a stew.