Michel Bettane and Thierry Desseauve are two of France’s leading wine writers and for the third year running they brought a road show to London. There were a host of interesting producers from all around the world, but needless to say I concentrated on the Languedoc, but did allow myself the odd deviation into Tuscany, Greece, China and even England. Bettane and Desseauve themselves were conspicuous by their absence.
Château de Lascaux.
This is a leading Pic St. Loup estate that I have not visited for a while, so it was a good opportunity for a quick update. They make the basic appellation of Languedoc for their entry level wines, as well as Pic St. Loup.
2012 Languedoc, Classique Rouge
Medium colour. Youthful fresh nose, and on the palate some ripe black fruit and some leathery tannins, but with an attractive freshness on the palate, as you would expect from the Pic St. Loup. Medium weight.
2011 Languedoc Classique Blanc
Vermentino 50%; Roussanne and Marsanne 20% each and 10% Viognier A delicate nose; quite a rounded nose, with some dry honey. And on the palate some leafy ripe fruit. Nicely rounded and textured, with lots of nuances from the grape variety mix.
2012 Languedoc Classique Rosé
Pale pink. Fresh dry fruit on nose, and on the palate quite crisp and refreshing with some dry raspberry fruit. 50% Cinsaut, with 30% Grenache and 20% Syrah.
2008 Pic St. Loup, les Pierres Nobles
80% Syrah with 20% Grenache. Quite a deep colour. Ripe and spicy on nose and palate, with some rounded oak, giving some structure. The soil is gravel and limestone, and rich in iron.
2010 Languedoc, Les Pierres d’Argent
40% each Marsanne and Roussanne, and 20% Vermentino. Quite a firm tight knit nose. Some well-integrated oak, with a rounded textured palate. Satisfying balance.
This is a new name for me. Although the property at Brouzet les Quissac in the Gard has been in the same family since 1870, the first bottling of their wine was only in 2000. They have 12 hectares of vines near the Pic St. Loup,
They make Pays d’Oc, blends using both Bordeaux and Midi grape varieties, such as a Grenache and Merlot blend with a touch of Cabernet, and a Syrah with some Cabernet and Merlot. There is a Chardonnay, which I liked a lot more than I expected, and a blend of Roussanne, Sauvignon and Chardonnay, which was remarkably successful. Definitely worth further investigation, so I will save detailed tasting notes for another time.
Vignobles Jeanjean were there, pouring 2012 Mas de Lunès blanc, Coteaux du Languedoc. A blend of Marsanne and Roussanne. Lightly leafy and rounded, with white flowers. A supple palate, with a slightly bitter hint on the finish.
And from Domaine Cazes, 2011 Muscat de Rivesaltes which was rich and honeyed and grapey. Everything that a good Rivesaltes should be.
Pays d’Oc had a large stand. Christophe Felez explained that these were the wines that had won a competition to represent Pays d’Oc at tastings like this for the following 12 months. So I was intrigued to see just what had been selected; So here goes.
2012 Domaine St Hilaire Advocate Chardonnay
A mouthful of ripe leesy buttery fruit.
2012 Domaine Rives Blanques
Chenin and Chardonnay, with leafy fruit on the nose and dry honey and good acidity with a touch of butter on the palate.
2012 Gérard Bertrand H de l’Hospitalet white
Chardonnay, Viognier and Sauvignon. Rounded leesy nose. Ripe and rounded on the palate with a touch of oak and a flat finish.
2012 Les Vignes de l’Arque, Alexia, white
A blend of Muscat and Sauvignon from the Gard. Quite fresh and pithy on the nose, and some pithy fruit on the palate
2012 Domaine Terres en Couleurs, Envie de l’Année
Roussanne and Vermentino. Quite soft, fresh and rounded. Easy acidity on the palate, and a refreshing bitter finish.
2012 Les Vignerons de Sommièrois, Viognier
Delicate peachy nose and on the palate, no great weight but a sympa glass of wine.
2012 Domaine du Grand Chemin, l’Incroyable, rosé.
Cinsaut and Pinot. Pale colour. Pressed. Very fresh nose with ripe rounded fruit on the palate and an elegant finish. A jolly nice glass of rosé. One of my favourites in the range, and not an estate I know.
2011 Domaine Gayda, Figure Libre Cabernet Franc
Quite a deep young colour. Fresh but ripe fruit on nose and palate. Good balance. Another jolly nice glass of wine.
2011 Domaine de Bachellery, Grenache fût de chêne
Medium colour. Quite a firm nose, with sweet oak, on both nose and palate. A bit soupy on the finish.
2012 Les Vins Skalli, Fortant de France, Terroir de Collines, Malbec
Medium colour. Quite firm and youthful fruit on the palate. Red fruit. A tannic edge with structure. Youthful.
2009 Blb Vignobles, Tète de Cuvée Montlobre
100% Merlot in barriques. Deep colour. Solid firm oaky nose on nose and palate. No sense of place.
2012 Domaine les Terrasses de Gabrielle, Pour Une Poignée de Raisins
Nielluccio, as in Corsica, or the Sangiovese of Tuscany. From an estate near Capestang. Medium colour. Quite a dry nose, with a ripe confit palate. Ripe cherries with a dry finish. Yes, I could taste Sangiovese, knowing that was what it was.
2012 Domaine Paul Mas, Da Pinot Noir Reserve
Quite deep colour. Rounded nose. Quite soft and jammy fruit, quite rich but with a tannic streak.
2012 Les Vins Skalli, Fortant de France, Terroirs de Collines, Syrah
Deep colour. Rich spicy nose and palate. Very harmonious, rich rounded and supple. But a touch cloying on the finish.
2011 Domaine Camplazens, Syrah
Deep colour, peppery black fruit on nose and palate. Quite rich and dense and solid, and a touch alcoholic at 15⁰.
This used to be Vignerons Val d’Orbieu’s flagship. A blend of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Carignan. Quite a deep colour. A rounded nose and a ripe solid palate. Some oak. A warming mouthful. An edge of youthful tannin. Still very young