The Winchester wine merchant, Stone Vine & Sun makes Languedoc-Roussillon a bit of a speciality. Here are some highlights from their recent London tasting.
It kicked off to a good start with a pair of sparklers:
NV Domaine J. Laurens, Blanquette de L:Imoux Brut, le Moulin, - £12.75
Very good mousse. Rounded creamy freshness on the nose and palate. Very good acidity. Fresh and frothy.
2011 Crémant de Limoux Brut, les Graimenous - £13.95
From the same producer. Quite rounded creamy nutty fruit and on the palate rounded ripe and lightly nutty. The pair illustrated the difference between Blanquette and Crémant de Limoux.
And now for some white:
2013 Creyssels, Picpoul de Pinet. - £8.75
There are times when I think I can’t get enough of this grape variety. Firm stony nose. Quite rounded sappy fruit. Fresh and rounded.
2013 Château des Karantes, Languedoc blanc, Bergerie - £11.50
A blend of Bourboulenc and Marsanne. Rounded white flowers on the nose. Quite a fragrant palate. Ripe rounded and herbal with a salty notes and some satisfying depth. A lovely glass of wine, showing the underrated potential of the Languedoc for white wine.
2012 Domaine Begude, Exotique Haute Vallée de l’Aude. - £11.25
The only clue as to the grape variety is a discreet GV on the side of the back label, to indicate a grape that is more commonly grown in Austria, Grüner Veltliner. And it is a very good example of the variety. Quite a fragrant nose, with some spicy herbal fruit, acidity and nice mouth feel. Well done James for thinking outside the Languedoc box.
2013 Domaine la Croix Belle, Champs des Lys, Côtes de Thongue - £9.75
A blend of Grenache Blanc and Viognier. Quite rounded and fragrant and on the palate, with rounded peachy fruit and soft acidity.
2012 Domaines Belles Pierres, Les Clauzes de Jo - £12/.25
A blend of Roussanne, Grenache Blanc and Viognier. Quite a soft ripe nose. Well integrated oak. Nicely perfumed palate with a rounded finish.
A small selection of rosés included:
2013 Preignes le Vieux, Reserve Rosé, Coteaux du Libron - £7.50
Light colour. Light fresh nose. Lightly perfumed raspberry fruit. A refreshing rosé.
2013 Domaine du Météore Faugères Rosée, les Léonides - £9.95
Light pink. Fragrant herbal garrigues fruit on nose and palate. Good acidity with fresh fruit. A lovely rosé.
Stars amongst the reds:
2012 Château des Karantes, Languedoc Rouge, Terres des Karantes - £9.50
Young colour. Rounded ripe fruit on the nose, and on the palate quite solid tapenade fruit with a firm tannin streak. This estate is better known for La Clape.
2011 Château des Karantes, La Clape - £18.50
Deep colour. Quite a firm palate. Quite ripe but quite elegant, with well integrated oak on the palate. A tannic streak balancing appealing fruit. Still quite youthful.
2011 Corbières Domaine du Grand Arc, Cuvée de Quarante - £11.50
Medium colour. Quite solid oak on nose and palate. Quite sturdy with firm fruit. Solid dense and youthful with ageing potential.
2009 Domaine du Météore, Faugères, les Orionides - £12.50
They really do have a vineyard at the bottom of a meteor crater. Deep colour. Quite rich spicy nose. Medium weight with dry spice. Meaty and rich and characterful.
2011 Domaine Fontanel, Côtes du Roussillon Villages, Cistes - £14.50
Medium colour. Rich spicy fruit on the nose, and on the palate more ripe fruit, with a streak of tannin. Mouth filling, ripe and warm.
And a couple of lovely sweet wines to conclude.
2001 Domaine Fontanel, Rivesaltes Ambré - £15.50
Amber colour. Lightly nutty on the palate and quite sweet nutty fruit on the palate. Delicious
2011 Domaine Fontanel, Maury - £17.50
Quite a deep young colour. Ripe sweet orange and red fruit on nose and palate. Ripe with some acidity and tannin and a fresh sweet finish. We should drink more of these lovely dessert wines from the south.