Montpeyroux seems to be very unlucky with its choice of day for the annual caveaux ouverts. For the third year running, the weather was distinctly unkind, for the third Sunday in April was wet, but happily not cold, and sandwiched by a sunny Saturday and Monday. Conditions really did not allow for serious tasting. We scuttled from cellar to cellar, saying hallo to friends, at Villa Dondona, Domaine d’Aupilhac, Mas d’Amile and so one. Note taking was a tad minimalist. But what really remained in my mind at the end of the day was just how good the white wines are. There were some real stars:
2013 Espérel from Villa Dondona had lovely herbal notes, reminiscent of ripe fennel, with quite a full palate, rounded with good acidity. and stacks of character. And the 2012 had filled out deliciously and settled down nicely.
Alba from Domaine du Joncas is a pure Grenache Gris, with herbal notes on the nose, and firm acidity and minerality on the palate. It was fresh and youthful with a long finish and plenty of potential.
Mas d’Amile’s 2014 Terret Blanc is firm and mineral on the nose, with good weight on the palate. The flavours are firm, with a mineral, volcanic note, and a rounded finish.
Alain Chabanon had a pair of whites. First we tried 2013 le Petit Trelans, which is a 70% Vermentino with some Chenin blanc. It was fresh and herbal with a mineral note and some apricot fruit on the finish. It spends a year in foudres and some time in vat. In contrast 2011 Trelans has less Vermentino, with more Chenin blanc in the blend and is given a longer élevage. The flavours are richer with more weight and texture, with good acidity and an elegant finish.
Sylvain Fadat's Cocalières blanc 2014 at Domaine d'Aupilhac was fresh and mineral with good acidity, while the 2008 – he always shows older vintages – made without any so2 was surprisingly youthful, rounded with a stony note and leesy flavours and softer acidity. It was an intriguing finale to our tasting.
And then we restored ourselves with some warming Aligot, a wonderful combination of mashed potato and cheese, with a touch of garlic, eaten under the cover of the old market hall, and to the accompaniment of a local band. I particularly admired a head of dreadlocks in the form of corks, and the agility of a stilt walker who was able to skip, as well as walk. .