Every year since 2007 the Pays d’Oc syndicat has organised a tasting to select the best of the Pays d’Oc which will represent the ‘appellation’ at various wine fairs and shows during the forthcoming year. The idea is to showcase the best that the Pays d’Oc can offer, with wines chosen by a jury of not just French but also tasters from China, England, North America and Holland. This year 320 wines were submitted, which were reduced to 56 in a first tasting, and then to 24 to make up the Collection 2015. And those are the wines that I tasted a couple of weeks ago. There were some surprises in the line-up – no pure Syrah, or pure Vermentino; only one rosé. Most of the usual big names were present, but there were also some small unknown names, which was very satisfying.
So here goes with my tasting notes:
Domaine de l’Engarran, Cuvée la Lionne, 2014 Sauvignon – 9.40€
Light golden colour; quite a delicate nose, with a firm stony palate and a good acidity balance with the fruit. Not especially Sauvignon on the nose, but the palate is a restrained example of a southern Sauvignon, with a nicely refreshing finish.
Serre de Guery, Cuvée l’Intelligence, 2014 Viognier -6.50€
From Château Guery in Azille, in the Minervois. Lightly peachy and more so on the palate, but a fresh style with good acidity and a nicely rounded finish. Good varietal character, but not overwhelming for a Viognier.
Domaine de Puilacher, 2014 Chardonnay – 12.00€
Some French oak for the élevage. Light golden, and lightly oaky nose and palate. The oak dries the palate a bit too much for my taste, especially on the finish.
Vignobles Lorgeril, Cuvée Marquis de Pennautier, Terroirs d’Altitude 2013 Chardonnay - 10.30€
A proportion of this wine was fermented in wood, with some bâtonnage. I found it fresher and more buttery on the nose than the previous wine. Good acidity on the palate, with some rounded fruit and satisfying texture. A dry but not a drying finish.
Domaine de Valensac, Entre Nous 2014 – 6.50€
From an estate in Florensac. An intriguing blend of Sauvignon and Petit Manseng, with a small proportion of the Petit Manseng aged in wood. The blend works very well, with the Petit Manseng providing hints of honey on the nose and palate, balanced with some pithy fruit from the Sauvignon. Good acidity and a fresh finish.
Domaine Condamine Bertrand, Cuvée Elixir 2014 - 12.00€
A blend of Roussanne and Viognier, with élevage in wood. Light golden colour. White blossom on the nose and palate. They couldn’t tell me the precise proportions but it tastes as though there is very little Viognier, just enough to add some weight, but very little peachy fruit. But a nicely rounded wine with some texture and well integrated oak.
Domaine de Tholomiès, Cuvée la Chapelle 2014 – 7.00€
A blend of Chardonnay and Viognier. From Minervois la Livinière. This estate has been bought by Grands Chais de France. A peachy note, on nose and palate but quite a dry flat finish. Not very inspiring.
Les Vignerons de la Méditerranée, Cuvée Mythique 2014 – 8.00€
This is the flagship wine of the Vignerons Val d’Orbieu which is a large group of producers, and now part of an even larger organisation called Vinadeis. A blend of Bourboulenc and Grenache Blanc kept in stainless steel. Some herbal notes on both nose and palate. Quite rounded with good balancing acidity. Fresh with a sympa southern note of white blossom.
Domaine l’Ostal Cazes 2013 – 12.00€
Blend of 75% Viognier, 10% Marsanne and 10% Roussanne. Élevage in wood, with a little of the Viognier fermented in wood. An estate in Minervois la Livinière owned by Jean-Michel Cazes of Bordeaux fame. Some dry peachy fruit on the nose, with more on the palate, with some white blossom. Quite a structured palate. The wood dominates the palate at the moment, but there is good acidity too, and a youthful finish. This might develop in bottle.
Domaine du Grand Chemin, Cuvée Anthus – 9,80€
From an estate in the Gard. A blend of Chardonnay, Viognier, Sauvignon and Vermentino with six months ageing in 400 litre barrels. Light golden colour. A lot of nuances. Quite fresh acidity and quite mouth filling on the palate. Youthful. Some oak on the finish, but generally rather intriguing and original. I would have like to have spent more time with it.
Les Costières de Pomérols, Cuvée Beauvignac, Muscat à petits grains 2014 – 5.00€
From one of the leading Picpoul de Pinet coops. Fresh pithy Muscat fruit, and even more so on the palate, with a hint of sweetness on the finish, avoiding the bitterness you sometimes get with Muscat. Fresh and understated, and quite elegant for a Muscat.
Domaine du Grand Chemin, Cuvée l’Incroyable rosé 2014 – 9.40€
A blend of Cinsaut and Pinot Noir. Pressed grapes. Orange pink colour and quite a delicate nose, with a rounded palate that finishes a touch flat. Not very expressive, and tiring a little. The new vintage will be available in a couple of months.
Chapoutier, Marius Grenache 2014 – 6.35€
Medium colour. Ripe cherry nose and palate. Quite fresh with a youthful tannic streak, with refreshing fruit. Easy drinking,
2013 Fortant de France, Pinot Noir. Terroir de Collines – 6.00€
Medium colour. Quite delicate raspberry fruit on nose. Light fruit on the palate. Fresh and elegant with a dry finish, and a touch of wood. I am not generally that keen on Pinot Noir in the Languedoc, but this is an exception.
Les Vignes de l ‘Arque, Cuvée les Boissières, 2013 Merlot – 7.95€
From near Alès in the Gard,. Quite a deep young colour. Quite rounded plummy fruit on nose and palate. Some tannin balanced by ripe black fruit. Quite full-bodied and quite youthful with tannin on the finish.
Domaine Gayda, Figure Libre, Cabernet Franc 2013 – 15.00€
Deep colour. Some ripe red fruit. Very Cabernet Franc. Fresh, with youthful tannins. Medium weight. Fresh red fruit. Very good balance. The oak is very well integrated. A lovely glass of wine. I liked this a lot. For more info about Gayda, see my post from last autumn.
Domaine de Brau, 2013 ‘ PURE Cabernet Franc’– 8.50€
From Villemoustaussou in Cabardès, near Carcassonne. No oak. Medium colour. Quite tight red fruit and quite firm and structured on the palate. Youthful and fresh, but also less ripe than the wine from Gayda. A sympathique comparison. Both have their place.
Domaines Paul Mas, Cuvée Astelia, Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 – 29.90€
Aged 70% in American oak and 30% in French oak, for six months. Deep colour. Quite solid rounded ripe oak and cassis fruit. Quite a sturdy wine and characterful, but quite firm tannins that need to soften and a touch alcoholic on the finish. Needs time.
Domaine de la Jasse, Tête de cuvée de la Jasse 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon. – 15.00€
12 months in wood. Quite a deep young colour. Quite concentrated nose with cassis and some firm tannins. Is there enough acidity too? A bit flat on the finish with some drying oak. Lacks elegance.
Picaro’s Cuvée Plurielle, 2014 – 11.00€
A blend of Syrah Grenache and Carignan, aged in vat. All the Carignan and half the Syrah is vinified by maceration carbonic and the rest, the Grenache Noir and half the Syrah with a classic vinification. Lovely fresh ripe fruit and spice. Medium weight. A very appealing glass of wine, and it comes from my adopted village of Roujan, so I’ve planned a cellar visit to find out more- watch this space.
Domaine les Yeuses, Cuvée Ȏ d’Yeuses 2013 - 9.20€
Marselan and Cabernet Franc from an estate near Mèze. Quite a deep colour. Quite rounded with some fresh fruit and spice. The balance of the two grape varieties works very well , with some nicely integrated oak giving some structure, Medium weight with good fruit.
Clos Sorian, Cuvée MG 2010 – 9.00€
80% Merlot with 20% Grenache. Quite solid and rounded with good tannins. The Merlot gives some structure with the Grenache providing some flesh and body. A fresh finish with no wood. Firm and youthful.
Domaine de Bachellery, Ballade en Straminer – 9.90€
The name is another way of telling you that the grape variety is Gewurztraminer, which used not to be allowed in the Languedoc. These days it features on the official list of authorised grape varieties. Rounded spice and quite rich, and although the fiche technique says blanc doux, the wine is not that sweet and does not say so on the label. It is simply rounded and rich with some ripe spice. And a rare example of Gewürztraminer in the Languedoc, with good varietal character.
Les Vignes de l’Arque, Cuvée Saveur d’Automne – 12.00€
This does say doux on the label. It comes from Viognier that was picked late and then fermented and aged in oak for nine months. Golden colour. Quite rich, rounded and intense on the nose, and palate, balanced with some acidity. Ripe and peachy, with good mouth feel, rich with good weight. And a very satisfying finale to the tasting. And another good discovery.