I do like wine in magnums – to my mind a magnum is serious declaration of intent to enjoy the evening. It simply adds to the conviviality.
So last night we opened 2009 St. Chinian, Domaine des Jougla, Cuvée Ancestrale. What can I say? It was absolutely delicious, the Midi sunshine in a glass, with flavours of the garrigues soaked in summer warmth, and lovely supple tannins and a long gouleyant finish. The blend is 40% Mourvèdre, grown on clay and limestone, and 30% each of Syrah and Grenache Noir, grown on schist. And the wine is aged in vat, so that it retains fresh youthful fruit. A lovely example of how immediate the flavours of the Midi can be – it could age for a year or three, but is drinking deliciously now. Domaine des Jougla is one of the old established St. Chinian estates and on my list for a posting in the near future.
And a week ago we enjoyed 2001 Domaine Virgile Joly, Virgile Rouge, a blend of Carignan, Grenache Noir and Syrah. Virgile was the pioneering independent wine grower of St. Saturnin, a village dominated by its cooperative, making his first wine in 2000. His original little cellar is in the centre of the village, on the square, between the church and the mairie. This is a shining example of how well wines from the Languedoc can age, and it still tasted very young, even at ten years old. The wine was aged in barrel for twelve months and then in tank. There is some firm ripe fruit on the nose, with a structured palate, with good concentration and youthful tannins, and a warm finish. One of Virgile’s very best wines, and all the better for being in a magnum.