Chateau la Dournie has belonged to the Etienne family since 1850. It is a substantial property on the edge of St. Chinian, with a château dating from the mid-19th century, surrounded by a park of mature trees. This is another estate, where I had not tasted the wines for a number of years and it was reassuring to find the wines as good as I remembered them.

2008 Vin de Pays d’Oc – 5.20€
A blend of Viognier, Roussanne and Vermentino.
Lovely fresh fruit on both nose and palate. No one grape variety dominates, so that there is a harmonious mouthful of fruit, with balancing acidity, and a refreshing lift on the finish.

2008 St. Chinian rosé – 6.30€
A blend of Cinsaut, Syrah and Grenache Noir
Light pink colour, with a firm dry nose. Rounded fruit on the palate. Medium weight, fresh and easy drinking for a summer’s day.

2008 Vin de Pays d’Oc – 5.20€
A blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc
Medium depth of colour. A touch of dry spice; easy fruit and not especially bordelais in character. Just a supple undemanding glass of wine.

2007 St. Chinian – 6.80€
Mainly Syrah with some Grenache Noir and Carignan, aged in vat.
A lovely rounded spicy nose. This is very Midi, with spicy fruit and sunshine in a glass, balanced with supple tannins.

2006 Chateau Etienne la Dournie – 10.50€
The same blend of grape varieties but with a year’s élevage in wood. This shows. The nose is much firmer and more structured, with more depth and concentration on the palate, but still an underlying suppleness, making for satisfying drinking.

2007 Cuvée Elise, St Chinian – 13.50€
This is the top cuvée which always comes from the same plots. A blend of Grenache Noir and Syrah, aged mainly in barriques, with 40 per cent new oak. Some of the Syrah is vinified by carbonic maceration, and some traditionally. It is ripe, with some good fruit. The oak is present, but not overpowering, and it should age well, but I have to admit to preferring the other two St. Chinians.


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