The wine competition named after St. Aphrodise, the patron saint of Béziers, concentrates on the white wines of the region. Not a trace of red or pink here. And earlier this week some of the recent winners were available for tasting in London, at a rather fine cheese emporium in South Kensington, la Cave à Fromage on Cromwell Place. However, tasting conditions were not ideal so my notes are a bit skimpy, but better than nothing ....
The wines were divided up as to their suitability with different cheeses. I have to admit that I was concentrating so much on the wines that I completely forgot to try any cheese, so I cannot on any suggested pairings..... All the wines come from the 2010 vintage. And varietal vins de pays tend to dominate the selection.
Domaine de l’Yole, Chardonnay, Pays d’Oc
Lightly oaky and rounded – perfectly pleasant, but with no great depth or character. As a Chablis enthusiast, I am often a little dubious about Chardonnay from the Languedoc, and this rather confirmed my fears.
Picpoul de Pinet, Prestige, Cave de l’Ormarine
A lovely example of Picpoul de Pinet from the Pinet coop. Everything that good Picpoul should be, fresh, herbal and pithy, with a hint of the sea. Bring on the oysters.
Muscat Sec, Pays d’Oc, Cave de Sérignan
Fresh pithy Muscat fruit. Quite grapey on the palate, and quite sweet on the finish. Sound varietal character.
Domaine la Croix Belle, Muscat Sec, Côtes de Thongue.
This is one of my favourite Muscats of the region. Lovely pithy fruit, quite dry with a rounded finish. Really good varietal character.
Picpoul de Pinet, Hugues de Beauvignac, Cave de Pomerols
Another lovely Picpoul de Pinet, though on the night l’Ormarine had the edge. This was a little crisper, with a fresh finish.
Domaine de la Colombette, Plume Chardonnay, Coteaux du Libron
One of the range of relatively low alcohol wines developed by the Puygibet family. This is soft and innocuous, and makes for easy drinking
Domaine de Preignes le Neuf. Chardonnay Prestige, Coteaux du Libron
The oak on this flattened any fruit, so I found it rather dull.
Cave de Richemer, Cuvée Henri de Richemer, Viognier, Côtes de Thau
Lightly peachy nose; quite soft, rounded palate
Domaine des Deux Ruisseaux, Muscat Sec, Pays d’Oc
Quite fresh and pithy on the nose; a touch of sweetness on the palate, balanced with a slightly bitter note on the finish, which can be typical of Muscat.
Cave de Pomerols, Sauvignon, Pays d’Oc
Soft Sauvignon nose; quite rounded; easy drinking; no great depth or pronounced varietal character.
Cave de Cers Portiragnes, Cuvée Fascination, Sauvignon Pays d’Oc
Quite ripe pithy fruit, with a stony mineral note on the palate.
Cave de Roquebrun, Viognier, Haute Vallée de l’Orb
This comes from one of the key coops of St. Chinian. Quite soft peachy apricot fruit on the nose and palate. Good varietal character.
Les Filles de Septembre, Viognier, Côtes de Thongue
Nice understated dry peachy fruit on the nose. Quite a firm peachy palate. Medium weight. Good varietal character.
Cave de Richemer, Cuvée Terre Mer, Terret, Côtes de Thau
Quite a firm fresh nose; crisp fresh palate. Not a lot of flavour, but good balance of acidity. Quite refreshing, making a good apéro.
Domaine des Terres Rousses, Pays d’Oc, Colombard Chardonnay
Quite a soft rounded nose. Soft acidity and some herbal fruit. Pleasantly innocuous.
Château le Thou, Coteaux du Languedoc
A blend of Roussanne, Marsanne and Grenache blanc. Quite rounded and buttery on both nose and palate. Some oak and some acidity. Youthful. May develop in bottle.
Domaine de l’Arjolle, Côtes de Thongue, Sauvignon
Light colour. Quite rounded with good mineral notes on the nose. Quite a ripe rounded palate, with good varietal character, in a warmer southern style. Nicely satisfying.
Cave de Cers Portiragnes, Cuvée Inspiration, Viognier, Pays d’Oc
A touch of dry peaches on the nose, and even more on the palate. Quite ripe and rounded, with dry peachy fruit, and a hint of oak on the finish.
Domaine St Martin des Champs, Pays d’Oc, Viognier
Quite a rounded peachy nose and palate. Good ripe fruit; more opulent than the previous wine.
Domaine la Colombette Coteaux du Libron, Sauvignon
Fresh crisp Sauvignon, on nose and palate. Possibly a hint of reduction on the nose, but that would disappear with air.
Domaine de la Yole, Muscat, Pays d’Oc, Moelleux Euphorie
Lightly grapey nose and palate. Quite rounded and ripe on the palate with a herbal hint, and a slightly cloying finish. Short on elegance.
Domaine de l’Arjolle, Côtes de Thongue, Equinoxe
A blend of Sauvignon, Viognier and Muscat à petits grains. Oak dominates the nose and palate, but that will disappear with some bottle age. Nicely ripe and rounded, with good body and mouth feel. The crispness of the Sauvignon balances the peachiness of the Viognier.
Château Trillol, Corbières – not sure how that sneaks into a tasting based on Béziers but never mind – the wine was good. A blend of Roussanne and Macabeo. Light colour. Quite leesy and herbal on the nose. A hint of oak on the palate, rounded and textured, and balanced by acidity. Nice depth.
Domaine des Terres Rousses, Pays d’Oc, Chardonnay
Lightly butter y nose. Quite a light rounded palate, with some fresh acidity. Nicely balanced,
Cave de Pomerols, Picpoul de Pinet, Cuvée Prestige
Cuvee Prestige implies oak and that is just what they have done, so there is firm oak on both nose and palate. A structured palate, but for my taste buds, the oak is inappropriate.
Domaine Piccinini, Minervois, Clos l’Angely
A blend of Grenache blanc, Roussanne, Macabeo, Bourboulenc and Muscat. Quite an intriguing blend. On the palate there is a hint of Muscat and also a hint of oak. The nose is quite appealingly leesy, with a pithy fresh palate, which I suspect will develop more depth with some bottle age.