Stone, Vine and Sun are one of the few specialist wine merchants for the South of France, so I always enjoy their annual tasting.
2014 Domaine J. Laurens Crémant de Limoux Brut Les Graimenous - £13.95
A great start to the tasting with this delicious Crémant de Limoux from an estate that is establishing itself as one of the leading producers of the appellation. Quite a delicate nose, dry and herbal with a hint of yeast autolysis and on the palate rounded and creamy with an elegant finish.
Domaine Begude is also from Limoux but concentrates on still wines. There was an unoaked Chardonnay that was lightly buttery - £9.50 - and richer oaky Limoux - £14.95 - as well as Le Secret du Sud, a very convincing Gewürztraminer with some ripe spice but quite a soft finish, and good varietal character. And James Kinglake's 2015 Pinot Noir Haute Vallée de l'Aude was light red in colour with delicate fresh raspberry fruit and a streak of tannin on the finish. - £11.50
2015 Creyssels, Picpoul de Pinet £8.95 was firm and salty, just as good Picpoul should be, for £8.85.
Plan de l'Homme is a new wine estate for Stone Vine & Sun and I was delighted to see that Rémi Duchemin's wines are available in the U.K. 2015 Flores Blanc Languedoc with 90% Roussanne and some Grenache Blanc was rounded and textured with depth and body and understated fruit. It had just been bottled and may have been a. tad inexpressive on the nose. However there is plenty of potential. £11.95.
Plan de l’Homme also featured amongst the reds with 2014 Flores which is based on Cinsaut with some Grenache and Syrah, with some ripe but refreshing cherry fruit on both nose and palate. Medium weight, with some structure and restrained ripeness - £11.95. 2013 Plan de l’Homme Habilis rouge Terrasses du Larzac was quite ripe and sturdy with youthful fruit, and a fresh finish. Elegantly mouth filling with ageing potential. £15.95
There were just three rosés of which my favourite was Domaine du Météore les Léonides, Faugères. A pretty pale colour with a delicate dry nose and some fresh raspberry fruit balanced by good acidity. Quite firm and structured. £10.50
Domaine la Croix Belle Caringole Rouge, Côtes de Thongue is a blend of Syrah, Merlot and Carignan with some ripe rounded fruit and a streak of tannin making for undemanding easy drinking at £8.95.
I enjoyed a couple of wines from Mas des Brousses, from the picturesque village of Puéchabon. 2014 Chasseur des Brousses, Pays d’Oc with a blend of Merlot with some Syrah and Grenache was ripe, rounded and spicy. £10.50 and Mas des Brousses 2013 Terrasses du Larzac had quite a sturdy leathery nose, with quite a firm tannic youthful palate, balanced with some spicy fruit. A serious mouthful of wine with plenty of ageing potential - £16.50
There was a pair of wines from Mas d’Amile in Montpeyroux. 2014 Vieux Carignan IGP St. Guilhem le Désert, comes from 70 year old Carignan vines and has some firm red berry fruit on both nose and palate. The palate is quite structured, ripe and youthful with a fresh finish. £12.95.
Amelie d’Hurlaborde’s 2014 Montpeyroux had quite a firm tight knit nose, with some ripe fruit on the palate, balanced with some youthful tannins, with ageing potential. £14.95
2013 Domaine du Météore, Faugères Rouge, Les Léonides £10.95 was a good example of that appellation, with some rounded spice on the nose and a youthful palate, with a firm freshness on the finish, with some ageing potential.
And the tasting finished with three lovely vin doux. 2003 Domaine Fontanel Rivesaltes Ambré, with an amber colour, and long lingering walnut fruit on both nose and palate. The wine was rich but elegant, with good acidity and elegant nutty fruit, and enormous length, and an absolute bargain at £17.95
Domaine Fontanel Maury 2013 was quite different, a lovely example of a youthful fresher style of vin doux, with ripe spicy berry fruit on the nose, and more red berries on the palate, balanced by a firm streak of tannin. £17.95.
With Domaine du Traginer Banyuls Grand Cru 2006 it was a return to the oxidative style with more rich walnuts on the nose, and on the palate, with a firm spirity bite on the finish.