The Outsiders – a six pack

The outsiders are just that, a group of wine makers who do not originate from the Languedoc, but from other countries or other parts of France, and who join forces for marketing purposes.  The wines of six of them are currently available from the excellent wine shop in the centre of Limoux, L'Atelier des Vignerons, so they put together a lockdown six pack and talked about their wines on the net.  I happened to come across the link in the monthly letter from Château Rives-Blanques, so I rather cheekily asked if I could taste the wines.  And this what I was sent.  You order via this link
The cost of six bottles is 95€ which includes delivery to eight countries, including the UK and from the shop, the wines cost 82€

2017 Blanquette de Limoux, Château Rives-Blanques - 13€
An Irish Dutch couple, Caryl and Jan Panman.   One of the most original of sparkling wines, made purely from Mauzac, the grape variety of Limoux, which is only found elsewhere in Gaillac.    The Champagne grapes are much more recent arrivals in the region.   Fourteen months on the lees before disgorgement.    Light colour.  Fresh nose, combining herbs and flowers and a rounded floral note on the nose.  Perfect for drinking in the garden on a summer’s evening.

Domaine Modat, Le Petit Modat Amour   - 11.00€
This estate was set up by Philippe Modat, who is a jurist in Paris.  His sons, Quentin and Louis were brought up in Fontainebleau, but have settled in Roussillon.  An intriguing blend of 25% Rousanne, 25% Grenache, both Blanc and Gris, 20%  Viognier and 30% Muscat.  .  A long maceration on the lees, rather than a classic débourbage. No oak.  The unusual blend works well.  A fragrant nose with some peachiness from the Viognier and a hint of grapiness from the Muscat, which become more apparent as the wine evolves in the glass.  Some weight on the palate, with a fresh finish.  A refreshing apéro, rather than a food wine. 

Le Clos du Gravillas  2015 A fleur de peau, Vin Orange de maceration de Muscat - 19€
John Bojanowski is American and married to Nicole who is French.  John always has some perceptive observations to make and the last time I saw him he wondering who it was who had determined that white wine should be made without its skins.....  and why not try an orange Muscat.   I have to say, I thought it was delicious.  A golden orange colour.  Very perfumed orange and Muscat notes on the nose, but the skin contact tempers the overt grapiness of the Muscat on the palate, so that the wine is much more subtle, if Muscat can ever be subtle, and has more depth than a conventional Muscat Sec.   There was a hint of pithiness and a little sweetness, with some acidity and some tannin and some intriguing fruit and structure.   I find that orange wine is remarkably versatile, accompanying a number of different dishes and flavours.

Domaine la Louvière, Malepère Rosé, Le Maquis - 8€
Jem Harris, the winemaker, is Australian and the estate is owned by Grohe family who come originally from Germany.  However, Nicolas Grohe was brought up in Switzerland and now lives in Alsace.  

A blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Malbec.  A little colour.   The bordelais grape varieties make this quite a different style from most southern French rosés.  The nose is quite closed, and the palate quite firm and structured.  There is some rounded raspberry fruit, but the overall impression is one of structure and firm acidity, especially on the finish. 

2015 Domaine Sainte Croix, Corbières, Magneric - 14.00€
Liz and Jon Bowen are an English couple, with Jon an early graduate of Plumpton College in Sussex.
A blend of 31% old vine Grenache, with 29% old vine Carignan, and 35% Syrah, and just 5% Mourvèdre.   Destemmed.  Fermented plot by plot, using natural yeast, with manual punch downs.  Skin contact for 20 – 25 days, depending on the parcel.  75% of the blend is aged sur lie for 16 months in French oak barrels that are between 4 and 10 years in age,  and 228, 300 or 400 litres in size.   The remaining 25% of the wine is kept on its lees in tank.   

Deep colour.  Rich stony red fruit on the nose.  Ripe fruit and garrigues on the palate with some firm tannins, and a peppery note on the finish,  Good depth and a rich finish.,   It tastes of the warm south, and the rugged hills of the Corbières.   And I love the back label that essentially tells you you need to know about the estate and the wine.

2016 Domaine de Cebène, Faugères, Belle Lurette - 19.00€
Brigitte Chevalier comes from Bordeaux.  Predominantly Carignan from old vines, grown in schist, with some Mourvèdre and Grenache .  Very low yields.  Fermented and aged in stainless steel vats. Deep colour. Young ripe berry fruit with fresh tannins. Nicely rounded fleshy fruit.  Good balance.  Some stony notes.  Youthful and fresh.  Drinking well with some ageing potential.   Great with spaghetti alla carbonara!   And a great six pack showing the diversity and quality of the south.


Monir said…
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Louise Hurren said…
Hi Rosemary, thanks for taking the time to taste and rate these wines. It's going to be a tricky year for everyone, and particularly for smaller, top quality growers who sell their wines via independent wine stores, hotels, bars and restaurants, so every positive review helps! The Outsiders appreciate your support.
Kriti Sharma said…
Today, when I saw your article, I felt that we are in a different world. It seems like this is a dream, I love articles like this, I also feel that I should do it too but I can't do it 'Your article is really amazing.
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