I feel that I have been neglecting my blog, but ten days in the Languedoc seemed to have whizzed past, with various vinous highlights. A bottle of Château Rives-Blanques 2010 Dédicace, their pure Chenin Blanc, restored our spirits after a traffic jam on the motorway the evening that we arrived. Chenin really performs well in the Languedoc, with beautifully honeyed ripe fruit and acidity. Thank you Jan and Caryl.
The next afternoon saw me at a small organic wine fair at Domaine de la Tour outside Nébian. A fun afternoon with some old friends and also some new discoveries. More on that anon, as soon as I write up my notes.
Friends for dinner the next evening. Always an excuse to open several bottles. We kicked off with Domaine Delmas Crémant de Limoux, Cuvée Audace. Lovely rounded fruit and a creamy texture. Rives Blanques featured again, this time Trilogie their blend of Chenin, Chardonnay and Mauzac. And with the meat course we had 2009 Château Trillol, Corbières, their cuvée prestige, which was everything that good Corbières should be. Drink that and you can feel the warmth of the south and see the rugged countryside of the vineyards.
On Monday we found ourselves hosting a 167th birthday lunch. A good friend from Cognac was 70 earlier in the month, and her aunt was 97 earlier in the year. 2005 Mercier Champagne provided a deliciously nutty, nicely mature glass of bubbles for an aperitif. We continued with white la Clape from Château Rouquette sur Mer, Cuvée Arpège, which was fresh and mineral and Les Trois Terres, Cuvée la Minérale, from the Terrasses du Larzac, which was firm and spicy. Domaine de Ravanès, L’Ille, from late harvest Ugni Blanc was rich and honeyed and perfect with a compote of figs.
More friends to dinner on Easter Saturday, for an eclectic collection of bottles. More bubbles from Domaine Delmas in Limoux, this time their Blanquette de Limoux, Cuvée Mémoire, which was fresh and lemony and nicely rounded. Catherine Roque’s 2011white Faugères Mas d’Alezon Cabretta was ripe and peachy on the nose, with perfumed fruit and a rounded palate. And then we drank Mas d’Alezon’s 2006 Montfalette, which had matured beautifully, with a rich leathery nose and a perfumed palate, with a hint of vanilla. And followed that with 2009 Château de l’Engarran, Grès de Montpellier, with a rich tapenade nose, and more tapenade on the palate with a balancing streak of tannin. And we finished with 2007 Soulenque, the lovely dessert wine from Domaine la Croix Belle. The nose was intense with some notes of caramel and burnt sugar.
The next morning I was at the Montpeyroux fête of caves ouvertes and spent a damp, chilly day – the Languedoc sunshine had disappeared – wandering from cellar to cellar. More on that in due course. And the last wine of our stay
also came from Montpeyroux. Amelie Hurlaborde from Mas d’Amile did not have her white wine for tasting at the fête, but I did happen to have a bottle in the cellar, her first vintage, the 2012, made from Terret Blanc, which was elegantly restrained, and nicely balanced with some fresh fruit and a firm finish. And showing just why grape varieties like Carignan Blanc and Terret Blanc deserve serious consideration.