DOMAINE DE LA ROCHELIERE in the appellation, and also the village of Fitou
This is a new estate to me – it was highlighted in Révue des Vins de France. Madame explained that the vineyards had previously been in the village coop, until her father-in-law opted for independence in 1993. Her husband, Jean-Marie Fabre, took over the family’s 13.5 hectares in 1998.
Fitou does not a white appellation. Any white wine produced in the area is vin de pays, or in this instance vin de table. Cuvée Camille is a blend of 60% Vermentino, 10% Grenache and 30% Roussanne, which were aged in wood for three months, with some lees stirring. The nose has resinous, oaky overtones, but the palate is very intriguing, slightly fruitcakey, with good acidity and considerable length. As a vin de table, there is no vintage. 7€
2008 Fitou Tradition - 7.50€
A blend of Carignan, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah, with aging in vat. Deep colour, with ripe fruit on the nose. Medium weight with some acidity and tannin. Nicely balanced with a firm mineral finish.
2008 Fitou Privilège – 9.50€
The same blend, but with eleven months ageing in oak. The wine was only just bottled and the oak was still was obtrusive. I wondered if there was enough fruit for the oak. Probably., but it needs time to settle down.
2008 Fitou Noblesse des Temps – 18.50€
A blend of 505 Mourvèdre, 30% Carignan and 20% Grenache, aged in new oak for 13 months, using only free run juice and with the malolactic fermentation taking place in barrel. If you like oaky wines, you will love this. I am less enamoured of oak, but I have to admit that this was very well made. The palate was a rich, rounded oaky mouthful, with good tannins, but nicely integrated, or englobé, as the French would say. Madame said this was the effect of the Mourvèdre. An estate to watch out for.
Another completely new estate for me was DOMAINE DELEUZE-ROCHETIN which produces Vin de Pays du Duché d’Uzès and also some Vin de Pays d’Oc from 23 hectares near the town of Uzès. The first vintage that Catherine and Jean-Michel Cathonnet bottled was 2004. Their wine maker is Bertrand Salzes who trained in Montpellier and has worked for Domaine Drouhin in Oregon and at Château Montus in Madiran.
2006 Chardonnay Sorcier, Vin de Pays d’Oc – was rounded and lightly leafy with some soft fruit, while 2006 Chardonnay Arpellus had been partially fermented in oak, and was firmer and nuttier, but nicely crafted, for 8.00€
2006 Saba, Vin de Pays d’Oc, is a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, with ripe rounded cassis fruit and a supple palate. Aurelius, also Vin de Pays d’Oc, from 70% Merlot with some Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc had good colour, a rounded nose, and quite a solid, dense palate. It was quite structured, with some nicely balanced tannins. 8.00€
2007 La Sarrazine Vin de Pays du Duché d’Uzès, 95% Syrah with just 5% Grenache. Deep in colour, with quite a sweet nose, with peppery hints. On the palate there was rich peppery fruit, with good texture and depth. This promised well. Definitely another estate to watch out for.