Thursday, 28 July 2011

CHATEAU ST. MARTIN DE LA GARRIGUE

We nearly had a domestic crisis here on Monday morning as we realised that we were down to the last bottle of our favourite local white, Picpoul de Pinet. But that was a problem easily solved by a visit to Château St. Martin de la Garrigue, just outside Montagnac. We’ve been buying the Picpoul from there regularly over the last few years, and the 2010 is as good as ever. We were lucky, the wine maker, Jean-Claude Zabalia was in the office (you can buy wine without making an appointment during office hours) and had some time to spare to give us a tasting.

2010 Picpoul de Pinet – 8.20€
Lovely salty fruit on both nose and palate. Good Picpoul should convey the sea and this does, with good acidity and a fresh pithiness.

2009 Bronzinelle, Coteaux du Languedoc – 9.30€
This is a new white cuvée, a blend of predominantly Marsanne, Roussanne and Grenache, with a little Picpoul, Terret and Viognier. The Roussanne and the Viognier are fermented in oak, and kept in barrel for a couple of months, so that they can work on the lees. The Picpoul and Terret add some acidity and the Viognier some aroma. There certainly was an underlying peachiness on both nose and palate, with rounded fruit and good acidity. Very appealing.

2010 Rosé – 6.30€
Made from Cinsaut, which is pressed, and Syrah and Grenache which are saigné. Quite a bright colour; a touch amylic on the nose, but with some ripe fruit on the palate, strawberries, balanced with good acidity; a combination of elegance and body. Jean-Claude emphasized that the picking date is decided with rosé, rather than red wine in mind.

2009 Rouge Tradition – 6.30€
Mainly Carignan, made by maceration carbonic, with some Syrah and Grenache. Some of the Syrah is also fermented by carbonic maceration. Quite a deep colour; a certain peppery rusticity on both nose and palate. Quite firm and peppery with very good fruit. Carignan at its simplest, and most appealing.

2009 Bronzinelle – 9.30€
A blend of vaguely equal parts of Carignan, Mourvèdre, Syrah and Grenache. In hot years there is more Mourvèdre and Carignan, and in cooler years Syrah and Grenache dominate the blend. All the wine is aged in old wood. I found a certain confit note on the palate and nose, and a hint of orange. It was quite rounded with some supple tannins and a leathery note on the finish. 2009 was a dry year.

2009 Grès de Montpellier – 13.50€
There is a new bottle for this part of the Languedoc, with an embossed neck, that proudly proclaims its providence. The blend is the usual four grape varieties, but with a lot of Mourvèdre, and longer ageing in oak. It promises well. Deep colour; quite a firm oaky nose, with hints of vanilla, and on the palate, quite a solid, rounded oaky flavour. Very youthful. The oak is pretty much in evidence, but it is classy oak and the wine should develop nicely with some bottle age.

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