The old estate of Seigneurie de Peyrat, just outside Pézenas, is rather like a sleeping giant that is beginning to wake up. It has long been in the hands of the Viennet family and these days it is Cécile Viennet who makes the wines. Her aunt, Beatrice, is a good friend and she invited me for a tasting, which proved a good opportunity for a catch up, both with the new wines, and with Beatrice, as we hadn’t seen each other for a while. They have already started picking - Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir on 30th August.
The property dates back to the 17th century and is built round a large courtyard, with tall plane trees providing welcome shade. There is a cool tasting caveau and shop,where we went through the current range of wines. Most of the wines are Côtes de Thongue. We began with:
2015 Chardonnay - normally 5.50 euros but currently on special offer at 3.50 euros, which is an absolute bargain. It has quite a delicate nose, with touch of oak. The palate is lightly buttery and rounded, with a touch of acidity on the finish. It is nicely understated.
2015 Viognier, Côtes de Thongue - 5.50 euros
Some peachy notes and a touch of oak on the palate. Nicely rounded palate,with lightly peachy fruit and a streak of structure and tannin. Quite a delicate finish.
2014 Tradition - 8.00 euros
A blend of Chardonnay and Viognier. A lightly golden colour with a touch of oak on the nose. Quite a ripe rounded palate,with some peachy notes. Nicely understated and accessible.
2015 Rosé d’une Nuit - 4.50 euros
A blend of Grenache and Cinsaut. A pretty pale pink. Even the Languedoc favours the palest of pink these days for rosé. Delicate fruit on the nose and palate. Hints of raspberry and some fresh acidity. Very refreshing.
2015 Rosé Prestige - 8.50 euros
Again a pale pink. A touch of oak son the nose and quite a firm structured palate with more body and rounded fruit, balanced with good acidity. A food wine, if the first is more of an apéro.
2015 Pinot Noir - 5.50 euros
Medium colour. Quite rounded ripe cherry fruit on the nose, and a rounded fruity palate, with a streak of tannin and the basic characteristics of Pinot Noir. The wine is supple with some fresh fruit making a nice drink, but without any complexity. Pinot Noir at its simplest. and most accessible.
2015 Grenache, - 5.50 euros
Medium colour. Ripe spicy fruit on the nose and palate; rounded supple fruit on the palate, making a delicious summer red, especially if lightly chilled. This is the wine I drank with my picnic later.
2014 Tradition - 8.00 euros
A blend of Merlot and Syrah. Medium colour. Quite rounded dry cassis on the nose and on the palate some tannins and some pepper. A balance of tannin and fruit, making for some quite sturdy drinking
2015 Les Lucquiers, Pays d’Oc - 11.00 euros
This is the first vintage of a new cuvée. Deep young colour, with some oak on the nose, that is not yet very well integrated. I found the palate quite sweet and ripe and oaky, making for quite a powerful mouthful of flavour. It has only just been bottled, so probably has not settled down yet. And it was a hot day, so the tannins seemed a touch strident.
And then we adjourned for a picnic under the plane trees. Most days during the summer, until the end of September, you can come for what they call le Pic-Nique Chic. For 15 euros, you taste wines with three small courses, of local goats’ cheese from Mas Rolland, with various jams, fig, quince and grape, to go with Chardonnay, and then there are some ripe tomatoes and you can make your own bruschetta with olive oil, garlic and basil to accompany a rosé and finally there is some local saucisson to show off the red wine. Tables are set out under the shade of the plane trees in the courtyard. It is the perfect setting for a summer’s day and all feels right with the world.