Domaine de l’Argenteille
I had tasted Roger Jeanjean’s wines a while ago, in fact a number of years ago, at a wine fair in London, but had never managed to visit his estate, and then suddenly, out of the blue in the summer, an email arrived, asking if I would like to try his wines again. Of course, the answer was yes, and bottles duly arrived.
Roger Jeanjean – and No, he is not related to the Jeanjean family who are one of the largest producers of the Languedoc – has had a varied wine trade career. He is a qualified oenologist and was director of the cooperative in the Hérault village of Gabian for a number of years and then set up his own négociant business, Millésime Sud. Then he inherited ten hectares of family vines that are situated between Jonquières and St. Saturnin, in the appellation of the Terrasses du Larzac. So that was the moment to become a vigneron. In his recent email, Roger told me that his son Victor is now taking over the wine-making, while he is concentrating on the commercial side of things.
So this is what I tasted:
A blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. A pale pink orange colour. A rounded nose and palate, with some dry fruit and some satisfying weight. Very nicely balanced, making this a good food rosé, with some substance and staying power.
2018 Le Canyon du Diable, Languedoc - 7.00€
A blend of Syrah, Carignan and Grenache Noir. Good young colour. Ripe spicy red fruit on the nose, and quite sweet ripe fruit on the palate, with a streak of tannin and a fresh finish. I thought there might have been a hint of oak, but no. However, I was slightly put off by the heavy bottle. If I were wanting to do some weight lifting, I would rather go to the gym!
2018 Garric, Terrasses du Larzac – 13.00€
A garric is a kermes oak, an evergreen oak, which grows in the garrigues. Good colour. Rounded ripe nose and palate. A nicely harmonious palate, elegant and rounded with some sweet fruit and a fresh finish, characteristic of the Terrasses du Larzac, balanced by a streak of tannin
2018 Tramontane, Terrasses du Larzac – 11.00€
A blend of 45% Syrah, 30% Grenache Noir, 25% Carignan
Deep colour. Firmer, spicier nose, and drier on the palate, a tighter palate, more knit together. More structured, with more obvious tannins but also more elegant. Youthful with plenty of potential. My favourite of the three Terrasses du Larzac.
A blend of 40% Syrah and 30% each of Grenache and Mourvèdre, aged in medium toasted barrels for 12 months, and then finished off in an egg shaped Flextank, which is made of neutral plastic, which allows for the same level of oxygenation as a barrel, but without any oak effect. Deep colour. Quite a firm structured nose, with noticeable oak. On the palate, some vanilla, as well as fruit. Quite full-bodied with some weight, and ageing potential. Well-made. The oak will tone down with some bottle development.
2018 103 Carignan Vieilles Vignes, IGP St Guilhem-le-Désert - 9.00€
From vines planted in 1950. The grapes were picked on 29th September, and the wine racked off the skins on 10th December, in other words, a maceration of 103 days, hence the name of the wine, ensuring that the cap of grape skins rests emerged for the whole time. The malo-lactic fermentation takes place on the skins. Quite a deep colour, with fresh red fruit on the nose. However, the palate seemed quite lean in comparison to the nose, and on first taste, I thought there might have been some oak, but no. The only wine Roger ages in oak is Les Secrets du Rocher. A touch rustic on the finish, but I like my Carignan with a touch of rusticity.
A very interesting range of wines that certainly made me want to visit the estate. I would love to see Roger’s vineyards and meet Victor and have a conversation about his wine-making, and the use of the Flextanks, just as soon as it is possible to return to the Languedoc and cellar visits are feasible once again.