Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Domaine de l'Hortus




Domaine de l’Hortus was one of the pioneering estates of the Pic St. Loup and continues to make some delicious wines.  I had an opportunity to tasted the current releases at their importer’s tasting, Bancroft Wines, in London last month.

2014 Loup y es-tu Blanc, Val de Montferrand
A pure Muscat à petits grains, with lightly grapey fruit on the nose, and even more so on the palate, balanced with good acidity.  Very refreshing.

2013 Bergerie de l’Hortus Blanc, Val de Montferrand
An intriguing blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Gris, Viognier, Roussanne, Petit Manseng, Chardonnay and Muscat.  Quite a firm, fresh nose and on the palate lots of nuances, with fresh acidity and youthful fruit.   Very intriguing.  It will be fascinating to see how it develops with bottle age.

2013 Grand Cuvée Blanc, Val de Montferrand
A blend of Viognier, Sauvignon and Chardonnay.   Barrel aged, and indeed quite rich and oaky on the nose, with rich fruit, concentration and texture on the palate.  You can taste the peachy Viognier fruit on the finish. 

2013 Le Loup dans la Bergerie, Val de Montferrand
A blend of Grenache Noir, Syrah and Merlot.  The aim is easy drinking fruit, and that is just what they have achieved, with a fresh nose, and rounded red fruit on the palate, with a refreshing streak of tannin.

2012 Bergerie de l’Hortus Rouge, Pic St. Loup – 11.00€
Two thirds Syrah with Mourvèdre and Grenache.  Quite rounded but firm fruit on the nose, and on the palate, nicely understated red fruit with a firm backbone of youthful structure.   Élevage mainly in vat.

2012 Grande Cuvée Rouge, Pic St. Loup
The same blend as Bergerie, but with a stricter selection of grapes, given eighteen months ageing in barrel.  Quite firm and smoky on the nose, with youthful oaky fruit on the palate.   Should develop well in bottle. 

And last week Yves Orliac sent me a link to a short film that a friendly filmmaker has produced about the estate.   I thought I would share it with you, for some great views of the Pic St. Loup and the meticulous work of planting a vineyard, as well as the discussion that goes into blending a wine.  Personally I thought the film could have done with some severe editing, but it is one man’s view of one estate in the Pic St. Loup, as Yves explains below: 

« Nadim Zeraïa, franco algérien, photographe& cinéaste, parcoure depuis sa tendre enfance les bords la Méditerranée, d’Alger à Montpellier, appareil photo sur l’épaule.
Fils d’ingénieur agronome, Nadim s’intéresse depuis toujours au monde agricole et plus particulièrement au monde viticole.
Suite à une rencontre fortuite avec l’un d’entre nous, il a voulu porter un regard sur l’importance de la viticulture sur les hauteurs de l’arrière pays montpelliérain, à savoir le Pic Saint Loup.
Durant une année entière, 2014, il a suivi les travaux au Domaine de l’Hortus. Il nous a accompagnés dans notre quotidien. Sa présence, son regard nous ont enrichis et grâce à lui, nous avons mis des mots sur nos pratiques. Nous sommes heureux de vous présenter le fruit de son travail et la concrétisation d’une réflexion : bon film !!! »

A brief synopsis explains that Nadim Zeraia has spent his life around the Mediterranean with a camera to hand and is particularly interested in the world of wine, and wanted to explore the hinterland of Montpellier and the Pic St Loup.  So during 2014 he followed the work at Domaine de l’Hortus and this is the result. 



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