This wine put me in a good mood before I’d even opened it: any booze that makes me think of Arrested Development is onto a winner.
And it’s just as good as Arrested Development. Oh boy, yes.
Why? Well, this wine is a fabulous balancing act. Drinking it is like a much less stressful version of watching an odd tightrope act in which the performer dangles a huge bag of fruit and honey and butter from one outstretched arm, nothing from the other, and balances not just with ease but with goddamn panache.
Because there’s an indecent amount of fruit here (plump, juicy melon, white peach) and a honeyed richness that I might expect to find rather de trop after a glass or so, but you would not by any means call this a fruit bomb of a wine. That’s thanks to its delicious herbal, mineral edge — the circus master’s whip that rules the show.
So Maby is from Lirac, which is a region in the southerly reaches of the Rhône — pretty close to Châteauneuf-du-Pape, but across the other side of the river. I warm to regions like Lirac: somewhat overshadowed by big-name neighbours, likely to punch high in terms of value for thy wedge, and (most importantly) niche enough to make one feel unwarrantedly like a connoisseur. I was further attracted to Maby on account of the blend of grapes used, which includes Picpoul. Good old Picpoul! Remind me to write to you about my favourite Wine Society Picpoul de Pinet one day, won’t you? But Picpoul isn’t a grape variety so often enountered in white Rhône, so its inclusion in Domaine Maby caught my beady, bloodshot eye. Here, it’s blended with white grenache, clairette and the fabulously named bourboulenc. I’m not going to pretend I know who’s doing what in this blend, but do you care? It’s just bloody nice — a dancing delight of a wine, full yet fresh, accessible yet sophisticated. Absolute A* stuff for £11.50 a bottle, and squarely the kind of wine one could fall in love with, even if it were your cousin.
(That closing sentence will make no sense to anyone unfamiliar with Arrested Development. If that’s you, I suggest you might use this as your excuse to remedy that unfamiliarity.)
Domaine Maby’s Lirac Blanc ‘La Fermade’ is £11.50 from the dependable ol’ Wine Society.