Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Organic wines at the Maison du Languedoc



Some highlights from a recent tasting

Maison Albert which is the owner of Château Auris in the Corbières as well as Château les Bugadelles, which has recently been promoted from simple Languedoc AOP to La Clape.   For some reason the property was excluded when the original delimitation was done for  La Clape.  So Château  Bugadelles produced its first la Clape in 2016, ands very good it is too, a red wine that is a blend of Grenache Noir, Syrah and Mourvèdre, with firm spice on the nose and palate, and some ageing potential. For the moment they cannot make white La Clape as they do not have any Bourboulenc and need 40% for the appellation.

Les Domaines  Auriol.
This is a company set up by Claude Vialade, and her son, Jordi Salvagnac, was pouring his mother’s wine.  They have vineyards and also buy grapes, to make an extensive range of Languedoc wines.  2015 Montmija Corbières, from Syrah, Grenache and 50% Carignan Noir, had some rugged spicy fruit on both nose and palate.   Château Gabaron from Faugères, with Grenache Noir, Syrah and Mourvèdre, was elegantly spicy with youthful freshness on the finish.  Chant de l’Ame from the Terrasses du Larzac, from Carignan, Syrah, Grenache and Cinsaut, had some rounded fruit with silky tannins and a fresh finish.

Mas des Quernes
Here Pierre Natoli was pouring his father, Jean’s wines.   As well as varietal Pays d’Oc there were a couple of Terrasses du Larzac, les Ruches, from Mourvèdre, Carignan and Grenache Noir, with rounded fruit, from an élevage in vat. La Villa Romaine from Carignan, Mourvèdre and Grenache, aged in barrel for 12 month, was sturdier with a tannic streak, balanced by rounded spicy fruit and an elegant finish.  Finally 2016 Les Petits Travers was an AOP Languedoc from Cinsaut, Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre, with light cherry fruit and a fresh finish.  It was lighter than the two Terrasses du Larzac.

Les Chemins de Bassac
This estate in Puimisson has recently changed hands and now belongs to Bruno and Thama Trigueiro, who have recently returned to France from Brazil.  And they specifically wanted an organic wine estate, and found les Chemins de Bassac in the village of Puimisson in the Côtes de Thongue.   The previous owners, Isa and Remy, are continuing to advise them and they also use the same oenologist, and for the moment make the same range of wines.   Their 2016 Rosé Côtes de Thongue, their very first vintage, was firm and fresh with a crisp finish. 

Mas du Novi
it is always nice to have one’s prejudices upset.  I had a memory of an earlier visit to Mas du Novi of rather solid oaky wines that tended to lack charm.  The wines are now made by Thierry Thomas, since 2011 and he has effected some successful changes, reducing the amount of oak, with a more finely  tuned élevage, so that the wines are significantly more elegant.  I particularly liked the Grès de Montpellier O de Novi, from 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache Noir, aged in vat, with some firm fruit and an elegant structure.

Clos des Vins d’Amour
2016 Maury. A lovely example of a young Maury, with fresh red fruit, and more tannin than sugar.  It was fortified to leave 85 gms/l residual sugar - the minimum is 70 gms/l, and there was some ripe fruit and an appealing freshness on the finish.

And now that Occitanie includes parts of south west France I could not resist trying a couple of wines from the Vignerons du Brulhois, the  cooperative responsible for most the wines from the little known appellation of Brulhois near Agen.  I went there in the mid-1980s when I was researching French Country Wines and I am happy to report that the quality of the wines has soared.  2016 Domaine Bel Casse from Merlot, Fer Servadou and Tannat has some lovely fresh fruit, with some herbal notes and an elegant balance of tannin.  The Fer Servadou, which is very much a grape variety of the south west, gave it a nicely original touch.  

1 comment:

Bob Rossi said...

Very interesting to hear about the Vignerons du Brulhois. We spent a week in that area a few years ago, and although we passed by the cooperative several times, we never stopped. I hadn't heard of the appellation, and I just assumed it wouldn't be worth trying. I now regret that.