Monday, 10 August 2015

La Maison des Vins in St Chinian.

   
If you want to find out more about St Chinian and have neither time nor inclination to visit a wine cellar, but would simply like to do a bit of tasting, or indeed buy some wine, you should visit the Maison des Vins in St Chinian.  It is in the centre of the town, at the far end of the main square, and is well equipped with an oenomatic, which holds 32 bottles.  And they will happily open anything else that you might be particularly interested in, as they hold a selection of most of the current vintages of most of the growers.  We wandered in, on the off chance, and they gave us a friendly welcome so that we ended up tasting far more wines than we had intended, including several that were unknown to us.   They responded enthusiastically to the question: What’s new?    There are now about 100 or so wine growers in St Chinian, with two or three new estates each year.

First we tried a white, Domaine de Cambis in Berlou, 2014 Kalliopé – and a new name to me.  It is a blend of Grenache Blanc, Vermentino and Roussanne.  And was delicate and fresh with some stony dry fruit.  2014 was the first vintage of this wine. 

I had been hoping to make an appointment with la Grange Léon, a relatively new estate in the village of Berlou. We were told they were away and bottles were opened instead, L’Insolent, L’Audacieux and D’une main à l’autre.  The quality encouraged me not to forget about that cellar visit.

Domaine des Paissels is another fairly new estate run by Vivien Rossignol and Marie Toussaint.  They make two wines, les Paissels and le Banel.    




And while we were talking, Marion Pla came into the Maison des Vins.  I had met her at a tasting in London, but her arrival was the cue to open one of her bottles, Premier Sceau 2012.  She explained that her father had been a member of the Cessenon coop and had gradually developed his vineyards. She did a BTS at Montpellier and is now making her own wine.  2011 Conviction Intime is a homage to her father’s work and a blend of equal parts of Syrah and Grenache, fermented together, with just one barrel for 5% of the wine.   It was quite firm and structured with good length and still quite youthful. 




And we finished with a couple of new names.  There was le Pérarol, from Mas d’Albo in Roquebrun, a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Carignan,  with some firm mineral fruit, and then another new name Villa Voltaire, les Orchis du Mazet,.  They admitted to not knowing much about this estate, but the wine promised well, with fruit and concentration.  And then it was time to head for home and the swimming pool. 


 www.saint-chinian.com   or for the online shop www.stchinian.pro

3 comments:

AlanM said...

Wholly endorse your recommendation for the Maison Des Vins, Rosemary, it is a model of how to promote the wines of an area and help customers both inexperienced and more attuned.
St Chinian does seem to be producing new domaines at a rapid pace. Such a variety of styles too but Grange de Léon is definitely one of my best discoveries in recent months, and always a god excuse to visit Berlou and stop off at Le Faitout for lunch, one of the best restaurants in the region.
How do you think St Chinian is faring compared to Faugeres for example? Generalising of course.

Bob Rossi said...

We spent a week in Roquebrun about 8 or 9 years ago, and visited the Maison des Vins as well as paying several visits to the Roquebrun Coop. As I read this, I'm amazed at how many new producers there are, as most, if not all, of the names are unfamiliar to me. But one old-timer is worth mentioning: Domaine des Jouglas; in my opinion, Alain Jouglas is one of the finest vignerons around, as well as being a real gentleman.

Shawn Deny said...

We wandered in, on the off chance, and they gave us a friendly welcome so that we ended up tasting far more wines than we had intended, including several that were unknown to us.
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