I never fail to enjoy my visits to Jan and Caryl Panman at Rives-Blanques. They always have something different or new to taste. This time it was the new blend of 2018 Dédicace, their pure Chenin Blanc. Pierre Roque, who helps with blending, had visited the previous day and they had tasted all the barrels of Chenin, and put together the final wine, prior to bottling later this month. There is no new oak, but a touch of oak inevitably lingered on the nose and palate, but underneath, there was dry honey and some satisfying texture in the mouth. I know from experience that this wine will age beautifully .
However, 2018 was a difficult vintage. They had mildew and hail. And there are wines they will not make, notably Trilogie and Crémant de Limoux, and there will be very little IGP Chardonnay. Apparently it was the worst outbreak of mildew for 70 years, with rain until the end of June and then a very hot summer.
Then we were able to enjoy a mini-vertical of Trilogie, their Limoux that is a blend of all three grape varieties. The bottles had been opened the previous day, for Pierre’s benefit; we had timed our visit well.
2017 Trilogie, mainly Chardonnay and Chenin with a little Mauzac, was light golden, with some herbal fruit on the palate, lightly rounded and nicely textured with good acidity. 2017 was a difficult vintage because of the frost, which is pretty unusual in the region. The summer was hot and the grapes ripened quickly.
2015, was a very dry year, with some heat wave conditions during the summer. The wine was firm and dry, with a salty note, with a balancing hint of honey. They observed that Trilogie is always a challenge to blend, as the barrels can vary so much; essentially they are choosing the best of the year.
2013 Quite golden in colour and quite a broad mature palate, with texture and acidity. Both saline and honeyed flavours. 2013 was a cool year, with a late harvest, at the end of September for still wines.
2017 Occitanie, Mauzac
Light golden colour. A herbal, honeyed nose, with a hint oak. Rounded and firm, with dry honeyed and acidity. Rich and concentrated, with rounded texture. They are replanting some Mauzac, choosing several different clones, to make for more diversity. There is a big difference in harvest dates, for the still and sparkling wine. They pick for the Blanquette at 10-11º and for the table wine at 13º, about a month later. Apparently recent DNA analysis has shown that Mauzac is not related to any other variety; you find it in Gaillac and Limoux and no where else.