Friends to dinner always provides a good excuse to open a few bottles. We kicked off with a white la Clape from one of the pioneering estates of the appellation, Château Mire l’Etang. The name means view over the lagoon and the vineyards are indeed right by the lagoon. It is no surprise that the wine has a refreshing salty tang on both nose and palate, balanced with good acidity and a little weight on the finish. Bourboulenc is the backbone of la Clape blanc, with some Grenache Blanc and roussanne.
Next came 2016 Princesse, the first white wine from Domaine Picaro’s, a small estate in my home village of Roujan. The blend is Grenache Blanc with 40% Chardonnay, both aged in demi-muids with some bâtonnage, for six months. The nose is rounded and lightly nutty and the palate nicely textured and rounded, with a hint of oak, balanced with good acidity.
Then on to a couple of reds, Domaine de Sarabande, Faugères, les Espinasses, from 90% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre, with fresh peppery spice and supple tannins. It was still quite youthful, with a fresh finish.
We compared it with a St Chinian from the village of Roquebrun, Mas d’Albo, le Pérarol 2012, a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Carignan which has evolved very nicely, with some supple spicy fruit and an elegant finish. The two wines made for a satisfying comparisons of two adjoining appellations, with the similar terroir of schist.
And we finished with a Muscat de Lunel from the best estate of this small appellation Domaine le Clos de Bellevue, Cuvée Lacoste after the previous owner of the estate, who established its initial reputation. The wine was fresh and honeyed, with balancing acidity, and made a delicious finale to the evening.