Although she was in the middle of harvest, Claude Jourdan very kindly agreed to see us for a quick tasting. She took over the 100 hectares estate fro her uncle, who was a very traditional viticulteur, using standard vineyard treatments. Claude, on the other hand, said she was not yet organic, but she practices lutte raisonnée and will be certified Haute Valeur Environnementale later this year. She has been replanting some vineyards, opting for Caladoc, a cross of Malbec and Merlot, that is suitable for rosé and also Vermentino.
2020 Picpoul de Pinet - 7.20€
Altogether she has 50 hectares of Piquepoul, which gives her several different batches, with different profiles, and thus plenty of blending opportunities. She does some élevage on the lees and some bâtonnage which rounds out the acidity. 2020 had quite pronounced acidity. She talked about the grapes absorbing the sea mist via the leaves of the vine. They have tough skins but if they take in too much water, they will burst. The taste was fresh and firm, with salty notes and very good balancing acidity.
Claude also talked research that is being done on the ageing potential of Picpoul de Pinet. With lower yields and using just the free run juice, the flavours are more concentrated and some tannins are retained, which allows for some development in bottle. A group of wine growers are working on the principle, developing a new cuvée, Cuvée Patience, with a new distinctive dark green bottle. Claude's 2020 Cuvée Féline, bottled in July, as opposed to February or March, proves the point. She first made this wine in 2013.
It has a little more colour and was nicely rounded and quite substantial on the palate, with good depth of flavour and the firm salty notes of classic Picpoul de Pinet. It made a very satisfying contrast with Claude's basic Picpoul. In fact I couldn’t resist buying magnum of it. The bottle price is 12.00€ Féline accounts for 15% of her production of Picpoul de Pinet.
Claude has a new oenologist, Jean Natoli’s team, who she said, have given her more direction. And as well as Picpoul, she makes:
2020 Cuvée Patte de Velours, AOP Languedoc - 8.00€
A blend of Roussanne, 50%, Viognier 40% and Piquepoul 10%. It is very Viognier on the nose, ripe and peachy and the grapes are picked when they are very ripe. The palate is rounded and textured.
2020 La Grif - 10.00€
Also a blend of Viognier, Roussanne and Piquepoul, but the Viognier is aged in 500 litres barrels. The palate is rounded, with satisfying mouthfeel and some weight. But there was no doubt that Féline was the star of the tasting.
Claude also makes some red wine, accounting for just 10% of her production, but we preferred to concentrate on her white wines.