Saturday, 23 January 2010

CHATEAU DE GOURGAZAUD at Paris

Château de Gourgazaud was one of the pioneering estates of the Minervois. I went there on my very first visit to the vineyards of the Languedoc, back in 1979, when it was owned by the large négociant company, Chantovent. It was subsequently bought by Roger Piquet in 1985, when he retired as managing director of Chantovent. When Chantovent had acquired the property back in 1973, there was nothing but Aramon and Carignan in the vineyards. The first Syrah was planted in 1974, which seemed a revolutionary step at the time. Roger Piquet was one of the pioneers of the Minervois cru, la Livinière and with the help of his oenologist, Guy Bascou, developed a successful range of vins de pays and Minervois. It is now his two daughters who run the estate, successfully carrying on their father’s work. And it was good to have an update on the wines.

2008 Chardonnay Vin de Pays d’Oc – 6.40€
This was not a good start. The wine lacked freshness and was rather heavy on the palate. Let’s give it the benefit of the doubt and say that it was a bad bottle.

2008 Viognier Chardonnay, Vin de Pays d’Oc – 6.40€
55% Viognier to 45% Chardonnay
This was much better. A rounded nose, with some attractive peachy fruit on the palate. Easy drinking, and a successful combination of grape varieties.

2008 Viognier, Vin de Pays d’Oc – 7.70€
Light golden colour. An attractive peachy nose classic Viognier flavours and on the palate too, with fresh peachy fruit. Viognier from the south of France can run the risk of being somewhat confected and cloying. This avoids that pitfall beautifully.

2006 La Vigne de ma Mère, Viognier, Vin de Pays d’Oc
The grapes for this are grown on schist, near the village of Félines, in the northern part of the Minervois. The wine is fermented in oak and only 900 bottles were produced. I have to say that I was not sure about the oak; it seemed to me clumsy and unharmonious and I very much preferred their unoaked Viognier.

2006 Minervois, Cuvée Mathilde – 8.70€
80% Syrah with 20% Mourvèdre.
Deep colour. The nose is rounded, with viandé meaty notes coming from the Mourvèdre. Good fruit on the palate, with a dense mouth feel and quite solid tannins.

2005 Minervois la Livinière Cuvée Réserve – 8.00€
Another blend of Syrah and Mourvèdre, aged in barriques for twelve months. Quite firm and solid, on both nose and palate, with a sturdy dense palate coming from the oak. Again I suspect I might have preferred this with less oak. And it needs time.

2005 Quintus Vin de Pays d’Oc, rather than Minervois ‘so that we can work as we like’ without the constraints of an appellation. This is predominantly Syrah, with just 5 per cent Mourvèdre, and a selection of the best grapes, vinified in vat. It is rounded and spicy and concentrated, with some firm tannins and considerable potential.

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