Lidewij van Wilgen is a bright, young Dutch woman who has, almost single-handedly, developed a new estate outside the village of Murviel-lès-Béziers on the edge of the appellation of St. Chinian. Her first vintage was 2002, which represented a complete career change, from life as an advertising executive in Amsterdam. Each time I see Lidewij, I am filled with admiration for her energy and courage. Life as a vigneronne on your own, in what is still a man’s world in the Languedoc, is not always easy. An invitation for an aperitif was also the excuse for an update on her wines.

2008 Mas des Dames Blanc, Vin de Pays d’Oc – 8.95€
From old Grenache Blanc vines. This has quite a rich golden colour. There are rich herbal notes on nose and palate, with some lovely texture and mouthfeel and very good acidity. Maybe there is a hint of oak but it is nicely integrated and understated.

2008 Coteaux du Languedoc Rosé – 6.50€
Made from Grenache Noir, a little Syrah and some new Mourvèdre vines. The grapes are pressed after a little skin contact, so that the colour is a rich orange pink. There is some fresh herbal fruit on the palate, with good acidity. This is a food rosé, with some structure and body. It is quite delicious, but sadly it is virtually all sold out, so we shall have to wait for the 2009, which promises to be as good.

2008 La Dame, Coteaux du Languedoc - 7.50€
This comes mainly from Grenache, with some Syrah, and a small amount of the Syrah is aged in barrel. Quite a deep red colour. A firm nose, with dry red fruit and hints of liquorice and spice, with a peppery freshness on the finish. It is still quite closed, with an underlying elegance.

2007 Côte Rouge, Vin de Pays des Coteaux de Murviel - 9.95€
This is mainly Syrah, with some Grenache Noir and 20 per cent of 90 year old Alicante Bouschet vines. It has been aged in barrel, but discreetly so. There is rounded red fruit, with some spice and oak on the palate, as well as a firm streak of tannin. The finish is quite rich and mouth-filling, but still retaining the hallmark of elegance that always characterises Lidewij’s wines.

Lidewij is very pleased with the quality of her 2009s. My experience of tasting wines that have barely finished fermenting is limited, but a taste of very young Grenache showed lovely ripe fruit. The snag is that the quantity is down by 30 per cent, thanks to the dry summer conditions.

Her UK importers are Berry Bros & Rudd and Robersons


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