Saturday, 16 March 2019

Picpoul de Pinet v. Muscadet

Picpoul de Pinet quite often gets described as the Muscadet of the Midi.  They are both dry wines, without a lot of aroma, and they both go a treat with an oyster.  But how often you do have the chance to compare the two wines side by side?   In my experience, virtually never, but at Genesis Wines’ spring tasting last week, I had the opportunity to do just that. There, side by side, on the tasting table were a Muscadet and a Picpoul de Pinet.

2017 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur lie, Chantegrolle, Domaine Poiron Dabin  - rrp £10.20

This is not an estate that I am familiar with, but the wine struck me as a classic Muscadet, with a firm backbone of acidity, but with also with some weight, as it has been kept for several months on its lees.  A light colour, with a fresh firm stony nose, and a tight-knit palate with a rounded finish.  It was dry and balanced.

2017 Terre de Roqueloupie, Picpoul de Pinet – rrp £10.50

This is Domaine des Lauriers under another name.  The name is familiar, but I have to admit that I have yet to visit them – on the (never-ending) list!  The nose was quite rounded, with some firm stony fruit, and the palate was slightly softer than the Muscadet, but with a very good saline finish.  You can definitely taste the marine influence in the wine, maybe more than in the Muscadet.   So in a nutshell, they were different, but comparable.  Just bring on the oysters!

And by way of a postscript

2016 La Syrah, Pays d’Oc, Vins sur Yeuses, La famille Dardé – rrp £11.40

This pure Syrah comes from Domaine les Yeuses, with vineyards on the coastal plain near Mèze.  It is partly made by carbonic maceration, and part of the cuvée spends nine months in demi-muids, including 20% new oak.   Syrah from a warm part of the Languedoc runs the risk of turning a tad jammy, but not this wine.  They have managed to retain the freshness, with an appealing spiciness on both nose and palate, making for easy drinking.    

Domaine les Yeuses is another estate that I have yet to visit – also on the list! 

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Women Winemakers in the Languedoc for International Women’s Day

Back from three weeks in New Zealand, with both New Zealand and Californian winemaking friends for dinner on the evening after International Women’s Day, so three quite contrasting wines from the Languedoc seemed the natural choice.

2015 Dame Mourvèdre, Villa Dondona

Not only is Jo Lynch a talented winemaker, but also a talented artist; she designs her own labels.   The wine is pure Mourvèdre, aged in vat rather than barrel.  It was a beautifully balanced combination of elegance and structure, with some red berry fruit and a firm tannic streak, providing a satisfactory backbone. Drinking beautifully now, but with potential to age.

2012 La Perle de Jones, Syrah, from a single vineyard, Falandrin, Vin de France.

Katie Jones’s first vintage was 2009 and judging from my last tasting with her, she no longer makes this wine.   A cousin gave me the bottle a little while ago and it had been in the cellar awaiting the right moment.  The colour was deep and young, and the nose intense with rich black fruit and with a rich oaky palate.   At 14.5°, I could taste alcohol on the finish.   Elegant it was not; rich and powerful it was.  I think Katie’s winemaking has evolved considerably since this earlier vintage and her wines are now much more elegant than this example.

2014 Minervois, les Fontanilles

Made by a Burgundian, Anne Gros, and amply illustrating that the Minervois can indeed to be elegant.  It is a blend of Grenache Noir and Cinsaut kept in tank, and Syrah and Carignan, aged in barrel.  The nose has understated southern spice which develops in the glass and the palate is also elegantly understated, with spicy fruit, silky tannins and a long finish.