The sun came back on Thursday and as is its want here, the temperature rocketed up a good 10 degrees in a blink of an eye. So we suddenly found ourselves in shorts and sunnies, and wanting a barbecue. Luckily on my last trip out to the scary world I had picked up some merguez from the Comptoir des Producteurs. These are North African sausages, a mix of lamb and beef meats with a gentle spice of cumin and chili, and sometimes harissa. Often they can be really quite fiery, but these weren’t which suited me as I wanted to try the Clés en Main rouge 2018 that I had got in before the lockdown. It is a new wine and the last time I had tasted it was with Rosemary George MW on our tasting outing in the Corbières last April. But that was from the tank, and tank samples are always more rustique, not quite finished, so I was keen to see how it had developed after a year.

cles en main rouge back label

The Winery

Le Domaine des Deux Clés is a small winery of 12,5 ha in my neighbouring village of Fontjoncouse, owned by Gaëlle and Florian Richter. They bought the domaine in 2015 and have worked biodynamically and organically since day one. A young Franco/German couple with a comprehensive background, working in some very famous domaines across the globe. I met them in 2016 and have been impressed with their wines and their passion, and I work with them often in my tastings much to my clients delight!

The Wine – Vin de France 14€

Clés en Main Rouge 2018 70% vieux Carignan (60 years) 30% Syrah (40 years). Mid ruby in colour, with black currant, spice, plum and violets on the nose. A tad closed, it would have benefitted from decanting as it opened up in glass. Soft tannins, crisp acidity with black currant, plum, griotte, freshly ground black pepper and a mineral finish. Long, refreshing and clean I am a fan of wines that have a distinct mineral edge, and as I spend my life teaching and experimenting with wine and food matches I do find that these styles of wines make much better bedfellows in general than heavier wines. Merguez are fatty, as are most sausages, but they also have cumin in the spice mix which is a killer with oak. So the fact that this wine did not have any oak worked perfectly. That and the fact that the Deux Clés vineyards are at altitude, 330m, which gives the wine a delicious, crisp acidity and a freshness to the fruit character.

Where to buy:

In between times here are Florian’s details, as he is in charge of the sales, I highly recommend getting a case or two!

Email: Tel: 33 (0) 6 13 99 65 67 Website: