2015 Top 100 Languedoc
As a judge for the Top 100, I always appreciate the opportunity to taste the full 100 when the winners are showcased a few weeks later at the London Wine Fair. It gives the complete overview that you do not see as a judge.
What follows are some of the highlights
A couple of delicious bubbles, both Crémant de Limoux:
Domaine Delmas, Cuvée Passion, 2010
Lightly nutty, with fresh dry fruit and an elegant finish.
Domaine J Laurens. La Rose No 7, NV
A delicate pretty colour. Quite rounded ripe and creamy with good acidity.
The white selection inevitably included several examples of varietal wines, Viognier, Chardonnay, Sauvignon and Muscat, with Cave Saint Maurice winning a trophy of its IGP Cevennes, Viognier. There was another trophy for a Chardonnay Roussanne blend Pays d’Oc, Domaine Larzac,. Jeanjean’s Mas Neuf won a trophy for the 2014 Muscat Sec, with some fresh Muscat fruit. There was trophy for a Limoux, a pure Chenin blanc, 2013 Caretas from Domaine Cathare, with a touch of honey balanced by firm acidity. And I was delighted that here was a Picpoul trophy for Domaine des Lauriers, 204 Picpoul de Pinet Classique with fresh sappy, salty fruit and good acidity.
The more rewarding whites came from the various blends The best white of the competition went to les Domaine Auriol Châtelaine Saint Auriol 2014, a blend of 40% Marsanne and 40% Roussanne with 10% each of Malvoisie and Grenache Blanc, given some partial oak ageing The nose is lightly rounded and the palate beautifully textured with white blossom fruit. Nicely understated.
2012 Le long du Parc, Château Daurion, from an estate near my Languedoc home, which made me think that I should go and visit, is a blend of Grenache blanc and Roussanne, with some oak ageing. Again it was nicely rounded ,with quite a firm youthful structure and some ageing potential. 2014 Traditional Blanc from Château Viranel in St. Chinian was fresh and herbal
Two white wines from Château Puech Haut showed well, but at a price. 2014 Prestige and 2014 Tête de Belier. At €6 - €7.99 and €8-€11.99 ex cellars respectively they are not giving it away, compared to the wine from Domaines Auriol at an ex cellar price of €3- €3.99.
There were just four rosés, of which for me the best was:
Domaine la Grange Classique Rose, Pays d’Oc, a blend of Cinsaut and Syrah. A pretty pale colour and some fresh fruit on the palate with a rounded finish.
And now on to red wines. Again the Bordeaux blends or varietals were sound, but for me unexciting. The first highlight in the red line up came from les Vins Skalli, Fortant de France, Reserve des Grands Monts Carignan, Pays de l’Hérault. It was quite rich and structured on the nose and palate with some rustic red fruit on the palate. A characterful gutsy Carignan.
The St Chinian coop of Roquebrun often fares well in tasting competitions and this was no exception. They won the trophy for the best red, with their Terrasses de Mayline 2014, with some rich supple balanced fruit, with soft tannins, giving easy drinking. 2014 Col d’Arribat, St Chinian Roquebrun, was another rounded, ripe spicy mouthful, while Terrasses de Balaussan was more solid and rounded, but again with ripe, black cherry fruit. And a more humble Languedoc, Chemin des Olivettes, provided another characterful glass of wine, with structure and fruit.
Faugères also showed well. The coop was represented by 2013 Parfum des Schistes, their best cuvée of Faugères, with some light spice. Brigitte Chevalier’s 2012 les Bancels was elegant and spicy, with some depth; Mas Gabinèle was represented by their entry level, with some ripe fruit and rich supple palate, which won the Faugères trophy, while 2013 Rarissime, is more concentrated and textured. 2012 Clos du Fou, is the flagship wine of Château des Estanilles, with quite a solid, structured spicy nose and palate. 2007 Mas des Capitelles no 1 Faugères was quite firm and fresh with a ripe finish.
A trophy went to the Terrasses du Larzac, to Domaine la Croix Chaptal, le Secret de Gellone, with some ripe rounded spicy fruit. And there was a La Clape trophy for Château de Marmorières, Commanderie de St. Pierre la Garrigue 2013. Of the selection of Minervois, I liked Château Tourril, Livia Gold 2013 best, with some firm peppery fruit and quite a structured palate, reminiscent of the Minervois scenery. And Gerard Bertrand’s Château Laville Bertrou 2013 showed well with body and spice.
There were a handful of Corbières, including Château Pech Latt, 2014 Tamanova, which was structured and youthful. There was a pair of Fitou, Domaine Bertrand Bergé, Ancestrale 2012, with some gutsy fruit, and Francois Lurton’s Château des Erles, which was rich and spicy. And the line up finished with a handful of wines from Roussillon, including two trophies, Abbotts & Delaunay Reserve 2013 Côtes du Roussillon with rounded black fruit and some furry tannins, and Mas de la Devèze, Côtes du Roussillon Villages, with some solid fruit and a ripe palate with depth and structure. Wine No 100 was a Maury Sec from Domaine la Toupie, Sur un Fil Rouge 2013 with quite solid nose and a rich mouthful of ripe spice and a gutsy finish. It made a good finale.
600 wines from 178 producers
19 trophies – I hope I mentioned them all
67 producers accounted for the Top 100
65 appellation and 35 IGP wines
68% red – 27% white and 5% rosé.
30% varietala and 70% blends.
For a full list of the Top 100 go to:
But... we took a dozen various wines back to Australia with the intention of correcting a well known fact that not many Languedoc wines make their way onto Aussie shelves, which is very sad as we feel they're more suited to Australian wine lovers palate.
We concentrated on St Chinian, Minervois and Corbieres and what a surprise.
We shared them with a fine wine manager at Australia's largest wine retailer, an independant wine retailer with an national reputation and a member of the wine guild in Queensland and they were all EXTREMELY impressed, even saying they were better than most of the budget french wine they stocked or that they could shift literally cases of certain wines.
From St Chinian co-op the Renaud de Valon Terraces de Shists, not their top wine, was a big hit.
From Minervois the Coup Roses Les Plots another big hit with their top wine the Orience a close second.
A couple of ring-ins, from Corbieres the Croix de Sainte Hanne was quite big and oaky but they all saw something for Aussie lovers of big, bold, gutsy wines and from Chateau de Ventenac an extremely oaky (which did dissipate) Viellei en Fut de Chene.
They all commented that they were so much more interesting than a lot of Aussie wines.
The objective of the tasting is to consider the viability of importing some to Australia. Both Karyn and I think its a wine area overlooked by Australian importers due to a lack of knowledge of the area and what it can offer.
we have four more wines to taste and I'll let you know how they go next week.
Kind regards, Guy and Karyn