I had a fascinating evening the other day at The Solicitors’ Wine Society with Jo Lynch and André Suquet from Villa Dondona in Montpeyroux. Jo and André were presenting their wines, and I tagged along to add an extra commentary.
We kicked off with:
2012 Cuvée Espérel, Coteaux du Languedoc Blanc. -1100€
I’ve always had a soft spot for this wine, since the first vintage, the 2010, came out top in the Concours des Vins de la Vallée de l’Hérault. It is a blend, mainly of Vermentino and Grenache Blanc, with a little Marsanne and Roussanne. It always makes me think of the herbs of the garrigues, the crushed herbs of the Languedoc vineyards, with fennel, thyme and bay. It is delicate and fragrant, but not ethereal, with some fresh acidity and a long finish, and shows just how much the white wines of the Languedoc have improved.
2012 Chemin des Cayrades, IGP Hérault – 9.50€
A pure Carignan vinified by carbonic maceration. A good deep young colour. Nicely rustic red berry fruit on the nose, and on the palate ripe, rounded fruit, but with a tannic streak. Kept in a vat so no wood. Easy drinking.
Next we compared :
2011 Cuvée Dondona with 2011 Cuvée Oppidum
Cuvée Dondona (12.00€) is a blend of Mourvèdre, Syrah and Grenache, kept in vat rather than barrel. Good colour. Lovely ripe fruit on nose and palate. Supple and rounded with a tannic streak. Very harmonious. It was drinking beautifully.
Cuvée Oppidum (21.00€) is a blend of Mourvèdre and Syrah which have been aged in barrel for a year. Deep colour; a firm nose and on the palate a firm structure, with some vanilla notes from the oak. Youthful and sturdy, with plenty of ageing potential.
Then 2010 Cuvée Dondona, which was described as a recalcitrant, more reticent vintage, with a much firmer nose, and a more closed palate, with some tannic structure and youthful fruit, and possibly more ageing potential than 2011.
Then we compared two 2008s., which again provided another fascinating comparison.
Cuvée Dondona was beginning to age, with a savoury note on the nose and quite an elegant palate, with a hint of orange. Medium weight and alongside Cuvée Oppidum, it had less depth. In contrast Cuvée Oppidum (23.00€) had evolved beautifully. It had a deeper colour and quite a structured palate, with a tannic streak but the palate was very harmonious and balanced. A perfect example of the benefit of subtle oak ageing.
2006 Cuvée Dondona had quite a firm nose, with some maturing leathery notes on the palate, which was quite supple. I think it had reached its plateau and would not benefit from further ageing.
On the other hand 2005 Cuvée Oppidum still had quite a rich nose, with some oak. There was quite a savoury note on the palate, with a sturdy streak of tannin and some spicy fruit. Lots of intriguing nuances, possibly with some further ageing potential, and certainly a splendid example of the ability of the wines of the Languedoc to develop in bottle. 2005 was only Jo and André’s second vintage and they had no idea that it would be so successful. The solicitors were thrilled.