My friend Anne Sutra de Germa has just opened a neat little tasting caveau at Domaine de Monplézy, just outside Pézenas, so we went to check it out, which provided an opportunity for an update on her recent wines. The very first time we visited Anne we tasted round her kitchen table, interrupted by her daughter making chocolate cake. She made the mistake of saying that she really like English cooking – so I invited her to dinner and we have been good friends ever since. The tasting caveau is open most of the time during the summer - obviously a phone call does not hurt, to be sure of an appointment. She has 20 hectares of vines, five in the Côtes de Thongue and the rest in the recently created cru of Pézenas. It is an old family estate that came from her grandfather. Her labels have a distinctive hoopoe, as do the signs giving you directions off the road between Pézenas and Roujan.
2010 Plaisirs Interdits blanc. Côtes de Thongue – 7.00€
A wonderful blend of Vermentino, Muscat a petits grain, Roussanne, Grenache Blanc and Viognier. I found the nose quite Muscaty, with a pithy, grapey note. And on the palate, the Muscat was again quite pronounced, but balanced by the white blossom of the Roussanne. Nice fresh fruit.
2010 Félicité blanche, Côtes de Thongue – 13.00€
Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier. This is altogether more serious as it is fermented and aged in oak. And the nose and palate are still very oaky, with some white blossom fruit underneath, and a fresh finish. It is still much too young and oaky for my taste, but there is good mouthful which will make for an attractive evolution. Anne had recently drunk the 2005 and said it was delicious – and I believe her!
2010 Plaisirs Rosé, Languedoc - 6.00€
Pretty pale colour. Ripe raspberry and strawberry fruit on nose and palate. Lovely ripe rounded palate, with good acidity. Quite vinous. A blend of Grenache, Cinsaut and Syrah. Just as we were enthusing about it, Anne announced that it was all sold out, and we would have to wait for the 2011, which would not be available until February.
2010 Plaisirs Interdits. Côtes de Thongue – 6.00€
Very bright vivid colour – a bit bonbons anglais. There is more Syrah, which makes for a deeper colour and a slightly longer maceration. Rounded fresh fruit on the nose and palate, and a slightly sweet finish. Anne admitted to a little residual sugar. Essentially it is made for easy drinking.
2009 Plaisirs Rouge, Pézenas – 7.00€
A blend of Carignan, Grenache, Cinsaut and Syrah. Medium colour; young. Quite ripe spice and fresh fruit on the nose. Some black fruit on the palate, balanced with a tannic streak with an edge of acidity. Fresh and youthful, with some lovely fruit. Lives up to its name. Sheer pleasure in the glass.
2006 Félicité – The 2006 is Côtes de Thongue; more recent vintages are Pézenas, as some of Anne’s vineyards were reclassified when the cru was created. – 13.00€
A blend of Carignan, Grenache and Syrah. Medium colour. Quite a rounded oaky nose and palate, with some good fruit and body, and peppery notes underneath the oak. Also a touch of chocolate. Nicely mouth filling with a long finish. Still very young, but with ageing potential.
2006 Emoción, Côtes de Thongue – 19.00€
95% Carignan with a drop of Syrah. Spends twelve months in oak. A deep, young colour. Quite a firm solid nose, with some oak. On the palate, firm fruit and structured tannins. Quite solid, dense and concentrated, with that underlying rustic note of Carignan. A gutsy mouth filling winter wine.
2007 Délice – 22.00€
A sweet note on which to finish. Late harvested Grenache Noir - a vin de table with the long-winded phrase about the grapes being partially fermented and coming from a vendange passerillé. It was delicious, some sweet spicy chocolate fruit. A taste of black chocolate and liqueur cherries, and just the thing to go with a chocolate pudding.
I didn't manage to take a photo of Anne with bottles or in her cellar, so instead here is one of her with her donkey Biscuit and two goats.