My flight back from Montpellier last week arrived on time, so I was able to get to the big annual trade tasting of Languedoc-Roussillon before the end of the day. Apart from saying hallo to a few friends, I concentrated on the Top 100 tasting. Time was not on my side, so some of my notes are inevitably a bit cursory. My friend and colleague Tim Atkin had chaired the panel. Unfortunately for me, the date selected for the tasting was during the week that I was away in Greece, but at least I got to taste the final results. And what follows are my highlights, with apologies for brevity in some instances.
It seems inevitable that the ‘big boys’ dominated the line up. There were some very competent wines from the likes of Domaines Paul Mas, Laurent Miquel, Gérard Bertrand and Fortant de France, but I preferred to concentrate on smaller, more off the beaten track wine growers.
Domaine de la Rencontre, IGP Pays de l’Hérault, Muscat à petits grains.
A new producer in the appellation of Muscat de Mireval. Pale colour; orange peel fruit on the nose, and fresh grapey varietal character on the palate, with the classic bitter Muscat finish.
Les Vins Philippe Nusswitz, Orenia 2011, Duché d’Uzès
A blend of Viognier, Roussanne and Grenache blanc. Light rounded nose; lightly peachy, with dry fresh fruit and some character.
Les Cave Richemer, Terre et Mer Sec blanc 2012, Côtes de Thau, Terret
In other words, the coop in Marseillan. This was delicately light and fresh. An undemanding and enjoyable example of an overlooked grape variety, that, like Carignan blanc, should enjoy a revival in its fortunes.
Costières de Pomerols, 20102 Finest Tesco, Picpoul de Pinet
From one of the key coops of Picpoul de Pinet. Fresh and salty with firm fruit and acidity.
Cave de l’Ormarine Carte Noire 2012
From the other main coop producing Picpoul de Pinet. Light and fresh, again with salty notes and good acidity.
Château Bas Aumelas, 2011 Classique, Grès de Montpellier
A blend of Grenache Roussanne and Viognier. Light nose with light fruit. Quite delicate and fresh and lightly ethereal.
Mas du Soleilla, Reserve blanc 2010, la Clape
Roussanne and Bourboulenc, Light nose with a textured palate. Some white blossom. Quite characterful; good depth and length.
Château d’Agel, les Bonnes 2012, Minervois
A blend of Macabeu, Grenache and Roussanne. Rounded fruit, textured, but without any oak. Appealing layers of flavour and a refreshing finish.
Château de l’Engarran, Sainte Cécile, 2011, Languedoc.
A blend of Syrah, Grenache and Carignan. Light red colour; some soft spicy fruit on nose and palate. Medium weight with an elegant finish.
Château de Cazeneuve, Cynarah 2011, Pic St. Loup.
Syrah, Cinsaut and Grenache. Medium weight; spicy fruit on nose and palate. Nicely ripe and rounded.
Domaine de Familongue, 3 Naissances, 2009. Terrasses du Larzac,
Syrah, Mourvèdre and Grenache. Some fruit on the nose, and quite a solid dense peppery palate.
La Jasse Castel, La Jasse 2011, Terrasses du Larzac
Syrah, Grenache and Carignan. Ripe and concnetrated, with oak on fruit on nose and palate. Youthful potential.
Clos du Serres, les Maros 2011, ~Terrasses du Larzac
Grenache, Cinsaut Carignan. Medium colour. Rounded spicy fruit on nose and plate, Lovely balance.
Villa Dondona, 2011 Dondona, Montpeyroux.
A blend of Mourvèdre, Syrah and Grenache. Deep colour. Quite solid. Dense and rich on the palate with good fruit and a rounded finish.
Domaine du Joncas, 2011 Obra. Montpeyroux.
Medium colour. Elegant fruit on the nose. Medium weight palate, again with lovely fruit.
Domaine de Cébène, Felgaria 2011, Faugères
Mourvèdre and Syrah. Firm leathery fruit on the nose and on the palate, ripe with rich fruit and very characterful.
Château Milhau-Lacugue, les Truffières 2010, St Chinian.
Syrah and Grenache. Deep colour. Some fruit on nose and palate. Medium weight. Elegant spicy fruit and beautifully balanced. Very satisfying.
Cave de Roquebrun. Terrasses de Mayline 2012, St. Chinian
Syrah, Grenache and Carignan. Rounded ripe and spicy on both nose and palate. From one of the best coops of the Languedoc.
Cave de Roquebrun, La Grange des Combe 2012, St. Chinian Roquebrun
Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre . Fresh ripe fruit and notes of tapenade on nose and palate. A lovely satisfying ripe finish.
Château Fontenelles, Cuvée Notre Dame 2012, Corbières
Syrah, Grenache , Mourvèdre. Quite ripe and sweet on both nose and palate. A ripe rounded finish. Easy drinking.
Château Pech-Latt, Tamanova 2011, Corbières
Carignan, Grenache and Syrah. Firm dry spice on nose and palate. Medium weight with satisfying fruit.
Calmel & Joseph, Caramany 2011, Côtes du Roussillon Villages Caramany
A classic Roussillon blend of 50% Grenache Noir, 40% Carignan and just 10% of Syrah. The wine was rounded, with dry warm leathery fruit. Medium weight with quite an elegant finish for the warm south.
Abbé Rous, Reynal 2000 Banyuls Grand Cru.
Grenache Noir, turned amber with some age. Quite sweet and rich with an alcoholic edge, and a dry nutty finish.