One of the things I love about the Languedoc is the element of the unexpected. You never quite know what you might encounter. After the Masters of Wine trip to Georgia in 2016, I was interviewed by the Georgian wine magazine Hvino News, and commented that I had yet to meet a wine grower from the Languedoc who wanted to try Saperavi, which is the main grape variety of Georgia, but why not?
So imagine my surprise last Tuesday when I attended the annual Hallgarten Druitt tasting whose portfolio, without exaggeration, covers the whole world, and there was a Saperavi from the Languedoc. Hallgarten are the agents for Château de Campuget, one of the long-established producers of the Costières de Nimes and Frank-Lin Dalle was pouring their range of IGP and Costières de Nimes. And then he produced a Saperavi. It completely took me by surprise. Why Saperavi? ‘It’s for fun; we were looking for something different and we are learning about it’. They planted two hectares in 2013, on an experimental basis. It is not yet authorised and is labelled Vin de France. There are apparently only about 15 hectares altogether in the Languedoc. Frank-Lin didn't know who else has it, and surfing the net failed to produce any answers. Can anyone out there help?
So, what did it taste like? I have enjoyed the peppery flavours of Saperavi on a couple of visits to Georgia, and I was not disappointed by this example. It is fermented and vinified in tank, so does not see any oak and the flavours were very fresh. The colour is bright and deep, with some solid perfumed fruit on the nose, with ripe berry fruit and a firm streak of tannin on the palate, and a fresh finish. I thought it a very convincing start. For this first vintage, they made just 3000 bottles and it is not yet commercially available, but well worth a mention for curiosity’s sake.