The annual Aniane salon is a great way to catch up on what is happening around Aniane and Montpeyroux. Like the Faugères fete it provides an opportunity to see some friends and taste some new vintages of old favourites, and maybe make a new discovery or two. Inevitably tasting conditions are not ideal, but not impossible.
First stop was Virgile Joly. His 2012 Joly Blanc is really good this year. A blend of Grenache Blanc and Roussanne. A lovely explosion of fruit, with some fresh herbal notes. Rounded with good acidity, and nicely zingy and fresh. 7.20€
Domaine des Conquêtes.
I like their white wine so much more than their reds. And their 2011 white, Vin de Pays de l’Hérault is delicious. Definitely up to scratch. 10.30€ A blend of Vermentino, Chardonnay, Grenache Blanc and Chenin Blanc. Very fresh herbal notes on the nose and more herbs and fruit on the palate. A satisfying balance of acidity. A lovely glass of wine.
I tasted the range of Château de Jonquières, that lovely property on edge of the eponymous village. Charlotte de la Cabissole, and her husband Clement, have just taken over the running of the estate, on her parents’ retirement.
2010 White, Grenache Blanc and Chenin. 50 / 50 Pays de l’Hérault. 14.00€ 10 months in oak. Quite a rounded nose and palate, with a note of apricots. The oak is nicely integrated.
Rosé – 8.00€ 90% Cinsaut pressed, and 10% Carignan saigné. The Carignan gives an extra nuance to the Carignan. Very pale colour. Fresh nose. Quite an aromatic nose and a rounded palate. Good balance.
2011 Terrasses du Larzac – 11.00€ All five grape varieties, but predominantly Cinsaut and Carignan. Élevage in vat. Good colour. The nose was a touch reductive but there was some good fruit on the palate.
2009 Lansade, Pays de l’Hérault 13.00€ 50% Carignan with Syrah Grenache and Mourvèdre. Not AC, as there is one plot that is not classified within the appellation. 8 months in wood. Quite solid and rounded with some youthful fruit and good potential.
2009 La Baronnie, Terrasses du Larzac – 16.00€ Syrah, Mourvèdre and a little Grenache. 18 months in wood. Firm structured nose, and on the palate quite solid, dense and ripe. Good body and plenty of potential.
Les Chemins de Carabote at St. André de Sangonis. I’ve always enjoyed these wines in the past, and his year was no exception.
2011 Rosé. Languedoc - 6.00€ A blend of Syrah and Grenache. Nicely rounded nose and a ripe vinous palate. A food rosé.
2010 Carignan, Mont Baudile - 7.00€ Average yield 35 hl/ha. Rounded berry fruit on and nose and palate, with a tannic streak. Nicely rustic and rounded fruit. A lovely example of Carignan.
2010 Languedoc – 6.50€ A blend of Syrah, Grenache and Carignan. Deep young colour Fresh spice on nose and palate. Black fruit and spice, with supple tannins. Medium weight and quite gourmand.
2009 Terrasses du Larzac. 18 months élevage. Medium colour. Ripe spicy liqueur cherries. Quite solid and ripe with cherry fruit, and a tannic streak, and a bit alcoholic on finish.
La Reserve d’O
Of all Marie Chauffray’s wines, I liked 2012 Sansoo best of all. So called as she uses no sulphur. It is a St. Saturnin, a blend of Syrah, Cinsaut and Grenache, with a fresh nose, and on the palate, very fresh and ripe with some dry spice. Six months ageing in vat. A lovely summer red, best served slightly chilled. 11.00€
Next came my discovery of the day, la Voute de Verdus. www.lavouteduverdus.com
Pierre Estival explained that his father had twenty hectares of vines around St. Jean de Fos and Aniane and that he takes his grapes to the Gignac coop. However, Pierre has studied oenology at Montpellier university and wanted to do his own thing, so two hectares have been extracted from the coop. He has a small cellar in St. Guilhem le Désert and 2011 was his first vintage. He may make some white wine in 2013.
2011 rosé – 6.00€ Cinsaut with a little Syrah, AC Languedoc Light fresh; light fresh body. Medium weight. Easy fruit.
2011 Languedoc, - 9.00€ A blend of Syrah and Grenache. Vinified in vat. Fresh and spicy, with rounded fruit. Easy drinking.
2011 Le Grand Saut – 16.00€ 45% each of Carignan and Mourvèdre, with 5% each of Syrah and Grenache, or thereabouts. 12 months in wood. In 225 litres barrels, two new and two of one fill. Quite a rounded nose; good fruit on the palate and well integrated oak. Nicely concentrated. Although the vines are within the Terrasses du Larzac, this cannot be Terrasses du Larzac as the wine is made in St. Guilhem, which is not part of the Terrasses du Larzac. Another example of French bureaucracy.
Domaine de Familongue has a rosé Trois Naissances that they have vinified in barrel. It is very successful, with a nice edge of oak and vanilla, with rounded fruit and body on the palate. A food rosé, with some lovely depth. 6.40€
And I always enjoy tasting the wines of Cal Demoura. Isabelle was there and so it was a good opportunity for an update.
2012 Rosé, Coteaux du Languedoc Qu’es Aquo - Rounded and ripe with good depth. A food rosé.
2012 L’Etincelle, Pays de l’Hérault - 14.50€ Quite frim and herbal on the nose, with some leesy character on the palate. Good depth. 50% Chenin, with Grenache, Roussanne, Viognier, Muscat and Petit Manseng. Lots of intriguing nuances.
2011 Paroles de Pierres, 19.00€ - 70% Chenin with some Roussanne and a little Grenache and Petit Manseng. Bottled March 2013 so longer élevage than for l’Etincelle. Quite tight knit palate with dry honey. Very stylish with satisfying depth.
2011 l’Infidèle, Terrasses du Larzac 15.00€ - All five varieties of the Languedoc, so in declining order, Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Carignan , Cinsaut. Very elegant nose. Youthful concentration and some lovely red fruit. Good balance. Fresh but ripe.
2011 les Combariolles 22.00€ - 40% Syrah and Mourvèdre, with 15% Carignan and just 5% Grenache. The stony vineyard vies minerality. Firmer structured and denser than l’Infidèle, and quite a gutsy mouthful but still retaining some elegance.
2011 Feu Sacré, Terrasses du Larzac. – 36.00€ - 80% old Grenache, 70 years old vines, with Carignan and Syrah. Bottled in April Rounded and richer than l’Infidèle, but also elegant. Good fruit and structure. Immediately warmer. Ageing potential.
Jean-Claude Zabalia was there, showing la Bergerie d’Aniane. See a previous post. I stopped for a chat, but didn’t need to taste again.
And a sweet note on which to finish – Promenade en Novembre, les Chemins de Carabote. 16.00€ for 50 cls. Grenache surmûris. Liquid liqueur cherries and chocolate, and a touch of fig. Rich and ripe, with layers of flavour.
And then the swimming pool called, but at least the Chapelle des Penitents in Aniane is a wonderful cool building and works very well for a tasting, provided you can avoid the odd toddler, pushchair and dog! And don't plan to write very detailed tasting notes.