Domaine la Croix Belle
It had been a while since I had had a tasting with Françoise Boyer, so it was high time for an update. Domaine La Croix Belle now totals 1970 hectares, as they have recently taken over a 30-hectare estate in Servian, Domaine de Coussan. It was harvest time, so a photo of berries, and their sorting machine.
2020 Le Champs des Lys Blanc– 9.30€
A blend of Grenache Blanc, and Viognier, with a little Chardonnay. Françoise likes Grenache Blanc, but it was problematic in 2020 with a very small crop owing to coulure.
Lightly peachy nose, with quite rounded, lightly peachy palate. A slightly bitter nose on the finish, what the French would call un joli amer. Young and easy drinking.
2020 Domaine de Coussan, Chardonnay – 10.00€
Quite a rounded nose, with a lightly nutty palate, with some acidity. Nicely balanced.
Domaine de Coussan blanc – 10.00€
Mainly Sauvignon, with some Grenache Blanc. Aged in 300 litres barrels for eight or nine months with some bâtonnage. Nicely rounded palate with satisfying texture, and quite subtle notes of Sauvignon, balanced with good acidity.
2019 No 7 Blanc – 17.50€
From seven different grape varieties. The challenge is trying to remember which seven, so here goes: Grenache Blanc, Viognier, Muscat, Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Grenache Gris and Carignan Blanc.
Fresh, firm nose with a touch of oak. Quite a firm tight knit, structured palate with a youthful oaky streak. The oak is well integrated. Good length on the finish. And ageing potential.
2020 Le Champs des Grillons, Rosé – 9.30€
Pale colour. Fresh dry frit on the nose, and quite firm fruit on the palate. Fresh raspberries with good acidity and a little weight on the finish.
2019 Camp del Gal - 9.30€
formerly called Champs du Coq. Camp del Gal was the original name of the plot of vines.
A blend of Surah and Grenache Noir. Medium colour. Ripe spicy nose. Medium weight with sweet spice balanced by a dry finish. An underlying sweetness, or ripeness, but without being heavy. A little carbonic maceration. Easy drinking.
2020 Cascaillou – 23€
Mainly Grenache Noir, with a little Mourvèdre. No wood; kept in an egg. Medium colour, with liqueur cherries on the nose, and palate. Very perfumed. Supple tannins. Silky, with a warm finish. Redolent of cherries. Very Grenache. A heady 15°.
2018 No 7 Red – 17.50€
The seven varieties here are Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet France, Petit Verdot, Grenache Noir, Syrah and Mourvèdre.
Deep colour. Fruit and oak on the nose. Nicely integrated oak on the palate. Each variety is aged separately and then blended together shortly before bottling. A rounded palate, with good structure. Firm fruit balanced by tannins, with a fresh finish. Satisfying balance with some ageing potential.
2017 Soulenque – 17.00€ for 50 cls.
Their late harvest wine made from passerillé Muscat and Sauvignon. Françoise thought they might have access to some Gewürztraminer for the 2021. The grapes were picked as late as 1st November in 2021. The wine was rich and honeyed, and quite delicious, with a good balancing bite of acidity, so that it is never cloying. A lovely long lingering finish.