Top 100 wines from the Languedoc - a selection
I helped choose these wines earlier in the year, in carefully sanitised and socially distanced conditions, and in normal circumstances, the full 100 wines would have been available to taste at the London Wine Fair. Instead we were able to choose the wines we wished to taste again, knowing what they were, rather than several flights of blind bottles. So, a delivery of 20 or so small bottles arrived the other day.
The trophy winners were there, namely
2019 Château Puech Haut, Tête de Bélier, AOC Languedoc
A blend of Marsanne, Roussanne and Grenache Blanc. The wine has been fermented and aged in oak, but the oak was well integrated, with a touch of vanilla on the finish of the palate, but nothing too obvious. The nose was quite restrained and the palate firm and fresh, and nicely textured.
2019 Domaine Lafage, Miraflors Rosé, Côtes Catalanes - Bibendum
One of the very few Roussillon wines in the line-up. A blend Mourvèdre, Grenache Gris, Grenache Noir. Pale, bright pink. Light raspberry fruit on both nose and palate. A balance of freshness and weight, with very good acidity and a lovely refreshing palate with a dry finish.
2019 Château la Sauvageonne, Terrasses du Larzac
A blend of Grenache Noir, Syrah and Carignan Noir. Good deep young colour. Quite a firm structure nose with some muted spice. And on the palate rounded and ripe, with some oak and a tannic streak providing some backbone. A very appealing palate, and very much deserving its trophy. One of Gerard Bertrand’s estates.
2002 Domaine F. Jaubert, Or du Temps, Rivesaltes
A blend of Grenache Gris and Grenache Blanc. This was a lovely bonne bouche of sweetness, with some orange notes on the nose. The palate is lightly biscuity, fresh and pithy and lightly sweet and honeyed, with an appealing bite on the finish.
The sparkling wine trophy was won by Maison Antech for Heritage, Crémant de Limoux, but for obvious reasons was not available for tasting in mini sample bottles….
I tasted the Faugères;
2020 Faugères Blanc, Château des Estanilles, Vallongue - Yapp Bros.
A blend of Marsanne, Roussanne and Vermentino. Unoaked. Light colour, light nose with delicate fruit and quite a firm palate, with some herbal notes, structure and acidity. A dry saline finish with a satisfying bitter note, un joli amer, as the French would say.
2019 Faugères Blanc, Château des Estanilles, Sous les Rocs
Marsanne and Roussanne. Oaked. Light colour rounded nose, and a firm structured palate. The oak had flattened the fruit; I much preferred the previous wine.
And the red Faugères included:
2019 Château de Ciffre, Terroirs d’Altitude, a partially oaked Syrah, Grenache Noir, Mourvèdre blend that was partially oaked. I am not going to give a tasting note, as I did not think my sample was showing very well. Stocked by Oddbins
2017 Domaine Florence Alquier, Rieutord, a blend of Syrah, Carignan and Grenache Noir, from the estate that is the successor to Domaine Frederic Alquier. This was my favourite red wine of the selection. And it was an appealing blend of ripe fruit and spice.
2016 Château des Estanilles, Sous les Rocs, was redolent of black fruit and spice, with a fresh finish, while 2017 Château des Estanilles, Clos du Fou, a blend of Syrah and Grenache, aged in oak was solid, dense and youthful, and needing time. Yapp Bros.
There was a selection of Minervois
2020 Château St. Jacques d’Albas, Minervois - The Wine Society, Lupton Wines
A blend of Roussanne and Marsanne, partially oaked. A little colour. A touch of well-integrated oak on the nose and on the palate quite rich and leesy, rounded with some weight.
2020 Château St Jacques d’Albas, Chapelle en Rose – Handford Wines, Lupton Wines, Latimer Wines
A blend of Grenache Noir, Mourvèdre and Syrah. A pale orange pink colour with a firm dry nose and quite a substantial palate, compared to Domaine Lafage. This was a serious food rosé with some weight and substance.
2019 Château St Jacques d’Albas, Albas Rouge
A blend of Syrah and Grenache Noir, partially oaked. St Jacques d’Albas were on a winning strike and should be congratulated on their consistency of quality. Medium colour. Some black fruit on nose and palate. A rounded supple palate, with some appealing spice. Medium weight and drinking nicely.
2018 Château d’Agel
A blend of Syrah and Grenache Noir, oaked. Deep colour. Quite a firm nose and palate, with quite an elegant balance of fruit and oak. A fresh finish.
2019 Domaine de l’Herbe Sainte, Tradition
A blend of Syrah and Carignan. Unoaked. Deep young colour. Quite fresh with some soft fruit. Easy drinking.
Château Laville Bertrou, Minervois la Livinière
A blend of Carignan Noir, Grenache Noir and Syrah. A Gerard Bertrand property. Oaked. Good colour with a firm nose and a fresh ripe palate with red fruit and a supple tannin streak. Nicely balanced. Medium weight and drinking nicely.
Domaine de la Borie Blanche, Terroirs d’Altitude, Minervois la Livinière - Ellis of Richmond
A blend of Syrah, Grenache Noir and Mourvèdre, partially oak. Quite firm spice on nose and palate, but I found a curious note of greenness, from the oak, maybe? Not very harmonious. Quite possibly my sample was not showing very well.
I also asked for wines from the Terrasses du Larzac:
Domaine Paul Mas, Les Neuf Pierres Roulées - Sainsburys
A blend of Syrah, Grenache Noir, Mourvèdre, partially oaked. Deep young colour and quite solid and ripe and dense with some supple tannins, on the palate.
2018 Le Clos Rouge, Babel
A blend of Syrah, Grenache Noir and Cinsault. Partially oaked. Quite a firm concentrated nose with quite a dense tannic palate, with a fresh finish. From one of the newer, smaller estates of the Terrasses du Larzac.
2018 Domaine du Causse d’Arboras, la Sentinelle
A blend of Syrah, Grenache Noir, Mourvèdre, aged in oak. Deep young colour, some oak on the nose and on the palate, balanced with a juicy element, an appealing freshness, while still very tannic. Needs time. The sentinelle is Mont Baudile which dominates the scenery of the Terrasses du Larzac.
And last but not least I asked for the wines from a new young estate in the village of Saint Guilhem le Desert, namely Domaine la Voute du Verdus
La Valise, IGP St Guilhem-le-Désert is pure Carignan blanc, vinified with some oak, which was nicely integrated. Light colour, quite rounded, firm palate with good acidity and a fresh herbal note. Nice texture.
2000 Cinsault Natura, a pure Cinsault and IGP St Guilhem-le-Désert. Unoaked. Immediately appealing. Medium colour. Rounded spicy nose with some ripe fruit and a touch of acidity. Would be best drunk lightly chilled. Simple and undemanding, and perfect for a summer’s evening.