Sunday, 20 July 2014

Printemps des Vignerons


An email from Graeme Angus of Domaine les Trois Terres alerted me to this wine festival, a gathering of twenty or so organic or biodynamic wine growers at Domaine de la Tour outside Nébian, organised by Céline Beauquel from Clos Romain in Cabrières.     The core of the wine growers came from the Languedoc, but there were also people from Chablis, Gaillac, and other regions.  And the tasting space was in the enormous cellar at Domaine de la Tour.  This is the Languedoc at its most traditional, with a backdrop of huge foudres, and old implements decorating the cellar walls.    I had a great afternoon, tasting a couple of more familiar estates, and making some new discoveries.

The familiar included:
Domaine les Trois Terres:
2011 Le Saut du Diable, a blend of Grenache and Carignan- 10.00€.  A lovely combination of rich ripe fruit, with a fresh mineral finish. 

2010 la Minérale, mainly Syrah, from St. Jean de la Blaquière and Cabrières with some Cinsaut and Grenache, aged in barrel.  Firm, sturdy,  tight knit,  peppery, youthful, with a mineral note on the finish.

And a new wine, 2012 Cuvée Moderne – 9.00€  Syrah and Grenache from Cabrières given a short maceration for early drinking.  Graeme described this as his retro cuvée.  Immediately ripe rounded and spicy with supple tannins and a sappy quality.  And quite simply a jolly nice drink.

There were some lovely wines from Clos Romain
Parenthèse 2012 – 10.00 - Lovely fresh fruit, spicy and elegant

2011 Patience – 12.00€ - Firm fruit on the nose, with a combination of concentration and elegance on the palate

2012 Phidias – 15.00€ - Quite a firm nose, but with fresh ripe black fruit on the palate.  Medium weight.

Catherine le Conte des Floris was pouring three wines:
2012 Arès Blanc – 15.00€ - Dry honey and firm acidity.  Medium weight palate.  Notes of fennel and other herbs.  Very intriguing.

2012 Six Rats Noirs – I completely misheard this and thought she said Syrah Noir – why was she specifying the colour I wondered.  Of course this is Daniel’s way of conveying that the grape variety is Syrah.  Quite solid and dense, with firm fruit and a certain confit note on the finish.  11.00€

2012 Villefranchien – 16.00€  - Mainly Grenache and just bottled.  Medium colour.  A restrained nose.  Very elegant fruit.  Subtle and understated.  Should develop well in bottle. 

At the barrel next to Catherine there was Domaine Jorel from Maury.     I have a vivid memory of visiting Manuel Jorel’s  vineyards on a bright winter’s morning a few years ago. The scenery is breathtaking and dramatic.

2012 Bande de Gypse – 8.00€  - The soil is mainly gypsum, calcaire.   A blend of seven grape varieties – here goes:  Torbato, Malvoisie, Macabeu, Carignan Blanc, Grenache Blanc and Gris and Muscat d’Aléxandrie, with nine months élevage in old wood.    The wine was lightly resinous on the nose, with some intriguing fruit on the palate.  Quite firm with good acidity and a slightly earthy finish.

2012 Rosé Esquisse d’Agly from Grenache Gris had good acidity with a rustic note 
I really like the2011 Cuvée 2nde – 7.00€ a Côtes Catalanes, from Syrah grown on granite.  Firm peppery nose and palate, after a year in wood.  Tight knit with fresh fruit.   Good structure and a fresh note on the finish.

2008 Côtes du Roussillon Villages  - 14.00
A blend of Syrah, with some Grenache and Carignan.  Deep colour.  Solid dense leathery fruit on nose and palate.  Quite a firm sturdy youthful tannic palate.

And now for some unfamiliar.   Le Petit Domaine in Montpeyroux was completely new to me, but as chance would have it, I had a second opportunity to taste Aurélien Petit’s wines at the Montpeyroux fete a week later.  And very good they were too.  See my post about the  Montpeyroux fête

Domaine Mamaruta at Leucate in Fitou.
2013 Constellation, Vin de France – 12.00€  - An intriguing blend of Macabeu, Grenache Gris, and Carignan Blanc.  Fermented and aged in oak for seven months.   Light colour.   Quite a leesy nose.  Notes of fennel.  Very good acidity and minerality.   And there was fresh youthful Fitou, Cacahuète, with rich structured fruit.

Les Vignes Rouges makes IGP Cévennes near Alès.   The family vines, eight hectares, were taken out of the cooperative in 2008.  There was a range of reds.  Clémence 2012 – 5.80€ - was fresh and perfumed, and aged in vat.  It is a blend of 70 % Carignan, made by maceration carbonique,  with equal parts of Syrah and Grenache.  Next came  Pimprenelle; then Aphyllante with some rich fruit and tannin; Noctumbule which was mainly Syrah with perfumed fruit and supple tannins, and le Temps d’un été, a pure Grenache aged in vat with some ripe balsamic notes.

Les Sabots d‘Hélène are in the Corbières at Feuilla.  There were three red wines, Libertoire, Alternapif and Percepteur,  a pure Carignan given 24 months ageing in oak, which was rich dense and sturdy.  And wonderfully characterful.

Domaine des Amiel, not to be confused with Mas Amiel in Maury.   The Amiel family make wine in Montblanc, a village between Beziers and Pézenas, from 9 hectares.  A Coural after a great grandfather, Coural was his nickname, is a blend of Carignan, Grenache and Syrah, with fresh ripe easy fruit, for 7.00€    A l’Ouest temporarily overturned my prejudices about Merlot in the Midi. It  was ripe and plumy without being confit,  with a refreshing streak of tannin.

And then I allowed myself a little deviation to Chablis, for Olivier de Moor’s   2012 which had fresh minerality and good flinty acidity.    All in all, a good afternoon. 


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