The balade vigneronne organised by the syndicat of the Terrasses du Larzac is one of summer highlights of the tasting calendar. The venue changes each year, and this year it was the turn of the village of Aniane to play host. As usual, some forty vignerons were participating from all over the area so it was a chance to catch up with some friends and make some new discoveries. And the food was supplied by Fabienne Perret from Mas Cambounet in Gignac.
We were bussed to the point of departure just north of the village and equipped with the essentials; sun hat, tasting list, cutlery, meal tickets, wine glass and off we set, down a shady stony track to our first étape, in an olive grove, for the mise en bouche, a selection of verrines, I opted for brebis with some chives. And the wine highlights included:
2011 Plan de l’Homme, Alpha, Blanc – 21.00€
80% Roussanne and 20% Grenache. Quite rounded, textured, with good weight and body. White blossom fruit and a touch of oak. Very satisfying.
2009 La Croix Chaptal Clairette – 9.00€
A pure Clairette. Quite golden, with a ripe nose and a rounded palate, with good texture. Clairette is a rather understated grape variety, and does not pack a punch of flavour. Charles-Walter explained that 30% was aged in barrel with bâtonnage, and 70% was left in vat on its lees, and then they were blended and aged for a further six months.
The track continued through vines to an entrée, a tatin de lentilles verts with foie gras mi-cuit. This was absolutely delicious.
And with it, we tried:
2011 Rosé, Les Chemin de Carabote – Délicate colour. Quite firm and solid, with a tight knit palate, with some firm raspberry fruit.
2011 Rosé, Montpeyroux coop. Delicate colour. Nicely rounded with some ripe fruit and a fresh finish.
2009 Domaine Montcalmès, rouge
60% Syrah, 20% each Grenache and Mourvèdre. Two years élevage in old wood. The oak is very well integrated, with harmonious tannins and fresh red fruit. Structured and elegant. More on Montcalmès in due course, as I have subsequently been for a cellar visit.
2009 Mas de la Séranne, Clos des Immortelles,
Medium colour. Perfumed spicy nose. medium weight with some tannins and black fruit and tapenade.
2009 La Bastides aux Oliviers, l’Esprit.
Medium colour. Quite meaty perfumed fruit on nose, with ripe rounded supple red fruit on the palate. Very gouleyant.
2009 Château de Jonquières, la Baronnie.
This was serious, structured and oaky, with some ripe fruit.
The fish course was at a magnificent view point, with the Languedoc hills stretched out before us, with the Pic de Vissou and the Caroux in the distance. We enjoyed a tartare de Saint-Pierre, with some chard in olive oil.
And for wine:
2010 Mas Brunet, Tradition blanc.
Roussanne, Viognier and Vermentino. Quite rounded rich and peachy with some acidity on the finish. Viognier dominates the palate.
2011 Mas Jullien rosé
A little colour. A touch of herbs, thyme. Quite rounded and fresh with good acidity.
2011 Mas Cal Demoura, Qu’es Aquo
Quite rounded and ripe, with hints of crushed thyme. A fresh finish. Mainly Cinsaut and Grenache grown on clay and limestone. Vincent explained that for his rosé he is tending toward more pressed grapes, which gives minerality, whereas saigné makes for more weight.
2011 La Réserve d’O, Rosé
A touch of wood. Quite rounded, herbal notes. Minimum s02, a smoky note from the limestone. Mainly Cinsaut with some Grenache and Syrah.
2010 Clos du Serres, En Terrasses Rose
Quite rounded and ripe with good acidity and a fresh finish.
2009 Domaine d’Archimbaud, L’Enfant Terrible Rouge
60% Mourvèdre with 20% Carignan and Grenache. Quite rounded and ripe with a fresh edge, and some red fruit.
The meat course was a barbecue, and delicious it was too, with Aubrac beef and lamb from Sisteron, with lots of red wines to try. The highlights were:
2010 la Traversée. Delicious beautifully elegant, firm minerality and a fresh finish.
2009 Domaine la Péira, les Obriers de la Peira.
A blend of Cinsaut and Carignan. Very attractive spicy fruit with ripe red fruit. Hints of liquorice. An elegant finish.
2009 Domaine les Souls
80% Syrah, 20% Grenache. Quite firm palate, with a meaty nose and some firm tannins and a peppery finish. Definitely benefitted from being served chilled.
2009 Cave de Pégairolles, l’Astie,
From the smallest coop of the Languedoc. Quite firm and structured with youthful fruit and a nice balance Aged in old wood.
2009 Domaine Alexandrin, Alex
Equal parts of Syrah, Grenache and Carignan. Fresh elegant nose. Quite a rounded ripe palate, with red and black fruit. Medium weight.
2009 Mas des Chimères, Caminarèm
From equal parts of the five grapes of the appellation . Quite a firm nose, with slightly meaty notes. Firm palate with fresh spicy fruit. Medium weight.
And then our path took us back into Aniane, to the square outside the abbatiale for some goats cheese, and both red and white wines.
The highlight here was
2010 les Vignes Oubliées. With Jean-Baptiste Granier. Medium colour. Fresh spice, on nose and palate. Medium weight lovely cherry fruit. 75% Grenache with 25% Syrah. 10% aged in wood. Definitely on the list for a cellar visit.
2009 Domaine d’Anglas, Face au Château, blanc. Marsanne and Roussanne, fermented in oak with bâtonnage. Quite nutty leesy note. Rounded and characterful. Quite full-bodied. A new name to me, and a discovery.
2011 Mas Haut Buis blanc
From one of the most northern vineyards of the Terrasses du Larzac. Roussanne with a little chardonnay. Lightly leesy, well integrated oak. Quite rounded, with nutty notes and a touch of agrumes, and an elegant finish.
2009 Capitelle des Salles, Hommage rouge. Grenache, Syrah and Carignan, grown on schist at 300 metres. Good fruit and an elegant balance. My tasting notes are becoming increasingly illegible by this stage!
And the walk finished in front of La Chapelle des Penitents for some dessert wine and a visiting Limoux producer.
Crémant de Limoux, Bulles d’Aval was rounded and creamy with a refreshing balance.
2011 Clos Rivieral, Vendanges Tardives Viognier – Quite concentrated and oaky. Honeyed and peachy. Quite intriguing but a tad clumsy.
And the Montpeyroux coop was showing a late harvest Chenin, 2009 Le Vionus. Amber in colour; quite rich with nutty fruit and acidity. I guess it had been sitting in a barrel for a while. Maybe the dessert wines were a bit of an anti-climax at the end. But none the less it was all enormously good fun.