Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Absolutely Cracking Wines from France 2013


I love going to this tasting.  For a start they have taken to holding it at the top of Centre Point, which rates as one of the most hideous buildings in London, but the view from the 31st floor is pretty breathtaking.   Some forty members of the press and another dozen or so sommeliers are asked to choose a favourite wine in three price categories, so you know that all the wines that you are going to taste are wines that somebody really rates and enjoys.  It makes for a great tasting.   And there were lots of goodies from the Languedoc.  So what follows are my highlights:

Picpoul Frisant, Pays d’Oc, Domaines Paul Mas  -  £9.00  Laytons
Not a highlight, but worth a comment.  I love still Picpoul but I am afraid that I do not see the point of fizzy Picpoul.  It has too much character to accommodate the bubbles. With an earthy salty quality, I thought this would make quite a nice still wine, but with the bubbles it becomes clumsy and heavy.   

2012 Picpoul de Pinet, Domaine de Montredon -  £8.50 Cross Stobbs Bottle Shop
This was more like it.  Fresh and sappy on the nose, with salty acidity on the palate and satisfying length.  Just bring on the seafood.  .

2012 Picpoul de Pinet, Domaine Delsol- £6.95  Richard Granger
This was the wine that showed well in the Decanter World Wine Awards.  Part of the Foncalieu stable. Again a satisfying salty nose, and on the palate quite rounded and full, with salty fruit.  A little softer than the preceding wine.

2012 Domaine de Mus, Pays d’Oc, Roussanne Vermentino - £7.95  H2Vin
I think that Domaine de Mus is another label for the large estate outside Béziers, Domaine de Bachellery.  This had a lightly peachy nose, with hints of white blossom, and even more on the palate, so that it was rich and spicy and quite intense, maybe almost ‘du too much’ as the French so elegantly say.

2012 Domaine du Bosc, Grenache blanc,  Pays d’Oc - £5.95 The Wine Society
Delicate nose.  Easy rounded fruit, with soft white blossom.  Fresh and easy and undemanding

2011 Domaine Gayda, Viognier, Pays d’Oc  - £8.99 Leon Stolarski
Lightly peachy on the nose, but not especially so.  Medium weight.  A nice example of a restrained Viognier, and one that avoids the pitfall of overly confected fruit.

2010 Limoux Blanc, Le Limoux, Château Rives-Blanques.  – £12.50 Great Western Wine 
An intriguing blend of the three white varieties of Limoux, Chenin, Chardonnay and Mauzac, the same as for their Trilogie Cuvee, but a selection of the best barrels.  A leafy honeyed nose; quite structured with a touch of oak.  Good depth, with ageing potential. 

2011 Domaine Depeyre, Symphonie, Côtes Catalanes.  – Stone, Vine & Sun  - £15.95
Pale colour.  White blossom on the nose.  Some intriguing herbal notes on the palate.  Good acidity. Textured and layered with ageing potential.  Very intriguing.  Potential to develop.   

2011 Consolation Juliette, Côtes Catalanes.  Roussanne.   – The Wine Treasury  - £25
Quite a rich leesy nose.  Ripe white blossom fruit, with good balancing acidity.  Quite rich and leesy and textured, with good depth.  A touch of oak and a dry finish.  Good length.    

2011 Old Vines Grenache Noir, Hervé Sabardeil, Côtes Catalanes - £8.99  Marks & Spencer
Medium colour.  Quite rounded soft juicy fruit and even more so on the finish.  A lovely warm finish.

2011 Costières de Nimes, Château la Tour de Bérard – Slurp Wines - £8.70
A blend of Grenache and Mourvèdre, with a little Carignan and Syrah.  Ripe easy spice on nose and palate, with supple tannins.  Beautifully easy and drinkable.  What the French call gourmand.

2011 Côtes du Roussillon-Villages, Domaine Bila Haut  Michel Chapoutier  www.welovefinewines.com  £7.68 
A blend of Carignan, Grenache and Syrah.  Medium colour.  Quite firm but ripe nose.  Ripe supple fruit with some rounded oak. 

2012 Mas Coutelou, Les Vin des Amis, Vin de France – Roberson's - £12.95
A blend of Syrah and Grenache.  Fresh ripe fruit, with dry spice on the palate.  Some wild cherries and lots of character.  Medium weight and very drinkable.

2011 Domaine Alzipratu, Calvi, Cuvée Fiume Seccu – The Wine Society 12.50
A deviation into Corsica for some Nielluccio, otherwise known as Sangiovese.  Very perfumed fruit on the nose, with the herbs of the wild shrubs on the palate.  Medium weight and characterful

2011 Corbières Château Ollieux-Romanis, Cuvée Classique  - Les Caves de Pyrène - £9.12
Rounded spice and black fruit on the nose, and on the palate some rich spice and some supple tannin.  A characterful mouthful.

2010 Clos des Nines, Coteaux du Languedoc, l’Orée – Lea & Sandeman - £14.95
Grenache with Syrah and Cinsaut.  Medium colour.  Quite solid smoky spicy fruit on the nose, and on the palate solid and rounded with southern spice and a sweet finish. 

A deviation to Provence for 2010 Bandol, la Bastide Blanche,  £14.50 – H2Vin
Quite a firm nose, with a firm structured palate, and underlying smoky fruit,, with an elegant finish and some depth.  Needs time and promises well.

A postscript to this.  I have just been to the autumn Waitrose tasting and they have the 2011 vintage of la Bastide Blanche - another lovely glass of wine.  Quite structured and firm, with some oak, and still very youthful, but also very elegant with finely grained tannins.  For £14.79

2012 Mas Coutelou, Paf la Syrah, Vin de France, - Roberson’s - £18.95
Some rich peppery spice on nose and palate.  Supple but concentrated with some appealing fruit.  Very intriguing, and characterful.

2007 Minervois, la Chapelle de Saint Jacques d’Albas -Handford Wines - £18.33
Syrah with some Grenache Noir and Carignan,  - Firm youthful and peppery on the nose.  And some youthful oak, as well as fruit and tannin on the palate.  Needs more time, but promises well.

2007 Collioure, Domaine Madeloc, Magenca – H2Vin  £21.00
Grenache, with some Syrah, Mourvèdre, and Carignan. Medium colour showing some development.  Quite firm and leathery on both nose and palate, with a firm tannic streak and some warm fruit.  A gutsy mouthful of the south.

And now on to some sweet wine:

1985 Rivesaltes Ambré Hors d’Age, Arnaud de Villeneuve.  – Waitrose - £13.99 for 50cls.
Light amber colour, rounded nutty ripe fruit, with a firm bite.  Depth and length, and delicious.

Maury, les Vignerons de Maury, 1928 Solera.  The Wine Society - £13.95 for 50cls.
Dark tawny colour.   Rich,  firm and nutty, and even more powerful on the palate. Dry nutty fruit; firm acidity and a firm finish. Very intriguing.

Maury, Domaine Pouderoux, Grande Réserve NV – Noel Young Wines - £13.41
Red with a tawny rim.  Rounded  ripe nose, with sweet ripe black fruit and soft supple tannins on the palate. All beautifully balanced. 

Maury, Mas Amiel, Cuvée Spéciale, 10 ans d’âge - Bancroft Wines £25.00
Quite a deep tawny red colour, with a brick rim.  Quite dry and leathery nose, with a dry nutty fruit on the palate.  Not as harmonious as the previous wine.

So all in all a great tasting.   And tomorrow I am on a plane to Palermo to go walking on the Aeolian islands and to discover the delights of Malvasia delle Lipari, amongst other wines.   So no more from me until the middle of the month.  



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