White wines from the Languedoc do age
We had a bit of a crisis, when we arrived in the Languedoc as we discovered that we were in serious danger of running out of Blanquette de Limoux. Happily that was a problem that was easily solved, with a quick email to our friends Caryl and Jan Panman at Rives Blanques to arrange to drop in for a quick purchase. But Caryl and Jan’s hospitality in the tasting room is such, that a quick drop is never works. ‘We know you’d like some Blanquette, but you must try the Crémant too to make sure’. We also wanted some white wine, so we checked out their Mauzac, with some dry honey and that characteristic bitter note of Mauzac. I have always loved their Chenin Blanc, Dédicace, so we compared the 2012 and the 2011, and then Jan asked if we’d like to try the 2013, which they are not yet selling. What a silly question. Of course we would. And we got to talking about how Chenin Blanc develops in bottle. The 2011 has filled out beautifully, while the 2012 is still quite fresh and honeyed, and 2013 an awkward adolescent.
And then Jan disappeared, to return with a dusty bottle of 2002 Dédicace, the Chenin Blanc of their very first vintage. And what a treat it was. If you need ammunition to prove that white wines from the Languedoc do age, this was it. It is well known that Chenin Blanc ages well in the Loire Valley, so why not in Limoux too? I could almost make a comparison with mature Chablis. The colour was light golden, with no signs at all of oxidation. There were notes of mousseron, lightly mushroomy notes on the nose that you also find in mature Chablis and the palate was very elegant with lots of nuances, with dry honey and balancing acidity. It was a lovely mature glass of wine, on its plateau, but certainly not falling off it. And extraordinary to think that it was a twelve year old white wine from the Languedoc.