Monday, 27 February 2012
DOMAINE DES JOUGLA in St. Chinian
Before I embark on Vinisud discoveries, I must first post some visits to St. Chinian from last year ...... First off, Domaine des Jougla.
I first visited Domaine des Jougla back in the late 1990s when I was writing The Wines of the South of France, and I spent a couple of hours with Alain Jougla. This is a long established wine-making family. There have been Jougla in the village of Prades-sur-Vernazobre since at least 1595, but you sense that the family has moved with the times. They now have an efficient modern cellar on the outskirts of the village. The old foudres are no longer used and instead there are some newer and smaller barriques. They were one of the first in the appellation to invest in a pneumatic press. And their first bottling date back to 1978, at a time when most people were selling en vrac to the négociants. In 2009 they began the conversion to organic viticulture. Alain remains very much involved, but it is now his daughter, Laurence who makes the wine from their 30 hectares estate. She has worked in Chile for Canepa and with Kingston Estate in the Murray River in Australia. Her brother Alexandre came back to join the family business in 2005 and as Laurence was busy supervising the activities of the mobile bottler on the morning of my visit, it was Alexandre who gave me a friendly welcome over several bottles at their tasting room in the heart of the village.
2010 Les Tuileries, St. Chinian blanc – 6.50€
A blend of 45% each of Grenache and Vermentino, with 10% Viognier. A maximum of 10% Viognier has been allowed in St Chinian since the 2008 vintage. The planted their Viognier back in 1994, at a time when it was considered distinctly experimental.
Dry peachy nose, and on the palate, some rounded fruit, with a streak of acidity. Satisfying texture; white blossom fruit and a rounded finish.
2010 Viognier, IGP les Monts de la Grage – 8.10€
Lightly peachy. Very good fruit and varietal character. Nice concentration with a firm streak of structure.
2008 Vendanges Passerillés – 9.80€
Again Viognier, picked three weeks later than the rest of the crop, so not too moelleux, but a touch of botrytis. Very elegant. And rich rather than sweet. Rounded concentrated peachy fruit, with a touch of apricot on the nose.
2010 St. Chinian rosé – 5.80€
Mourvèdre, Grenache and Syrah. Pressurage direct.
A light pretty pink. Light raspberry fruit. Fresh acidity and a dry fresh finish to the palate
2008 Initiale St. Chinian – 5.00€
One quarter each of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Carignan, in stainless steel vats.
Medium colour. Fruit spice and a touch of tobacco on the nose. Quite a rich bite to the palate, with dry spice, a touch of leather and a long finish. A great entry level wine.
2008 Cuvée Ancestrale St. Chinian– 6.90€
Mourvèdre 40%, grown on clay and limestone, with 30% each of Syrah and Grenache, grown on schist. Also élevage in vat.
Quite deep colour. Quite firm spicy on the nose. Medium weight palate. Some leathery notes balanced with some tannin.
2007 Signée – 8.10€
Syrah and Grenache, as well as some old Carignan from vines planted in 1954. Medium colour. The perfumed nose that comes from schist. Again on the palate, very perfumed, with red fruits and spice. Medium weight. Élevage in old wood.
2006 Viels Arrasics – 13.20€ The name is a reference to old roots. Or for the Jougla a combination of father and daughter’s wine making knowledge and experience. Mourvèdre dominates, with some Syrah and Grenache. Twelve months élevage mainly in new oak. Quite solid; quite dense; firm fruit and oak with a tannic finish. Needs time.