Domaine Jones Vineyard Collection
I always enjoy tasting Katie’s Jones wines. For me she is one of the unsung heroes, or should I say heroines of the Languedoc, who first helped to put the coop of the village of Tuchan up in the Corbières hills on the map, and has subsequently developed her own wine estate with her husband Jean-Marc Astruc. Not only is she a talented winemaker, but she also has a sense of marketing that is second to none. And the Languedoc badly needs good marketing expertise. So I was delighted to taste her new range, Vineyard Collection, five wines made from small plots of old vines, around the village of Tuchan, as follows:
But first may I quote Katie:
Some people collect handbags or fast cars; I collect old vines! My old, low yielding, vines range in age from 45 years to 116 years old. They are the stray dogs nobody else wants and need a little more care and attention than younger vines.’
And if you would like to see Katie’s old vines for yourself, do join her for a vineyard walk on Instagram, every Friday morning. She also has a scheme for Adopt an Old Vine; more vines will be on offer in April.
I like Katie’s back labels, with effective bullet points, so have quoted those for three of the five wines that I tasted. Where there is no retail stockist, there is a recommended retail price.
2018 Vieux Cépage Macabeu, Vin de France - £19 – The Good Wine Shop
80-year-old Bush vines
Vegan Friendly Hand picked
Light colour. Quite a stony nose, with a floral hint, and more floral notes on the palate – that must be Katie’s honeysuckle. Some firm acidity balancing the fruit. Very pure, with satisfying texture. A modest 13.5°.
2020 Carignan Gris, Vin de France – RRP £20.
I seem to remember Katie telling me that the first time she tried to declare a crop for a plot of Carignan Gris, it was suggested to her that she meant Carignan Blanc, and she decided not to argue. Obviously, things have subsequently been clarified. But this was the first time that I have ever tasted a pure Carignan Gris, and delicious it was too. A pale colour. A dry stony nose and on the palate with fresh stony fruit, with nuances galore. A lovely balanced of fruit and weight with refreshing acidity on the finish.
The back label says Old Vines, Dry Farmed, Single Vineyard, Low Yielding, Hand Picked, Crunchy Pear, Smokey, Herbs.
2020 Grenache Noir – RRP £20.00, Vin de France
Wild Berry Fruit
Good colour. Ripe perfumed fruit – the classic liqueur cherry notes of good Grenache on both nose and palate. A streak on tannin on the palate to balance the ripe fleshy fruit. Delicious Grenache. Classic. Great varietal character.
2018 Carignan Vieux Cépages - £19 The Good Wine Shop
110-year-old Bush vines
Red Berry Fruit
I have a soft spot for Carignan and this fully lived up to expectations. Good colour. Red fruit and spice on the nose. On the palate, some more red fruit, with balancing tannin and a streak of refreshing acidity. Nicely mouth filling and textured, with supple tannins, making for a rounded seamless palate. Really lovely fruit, with just a touch of rusticity that I like in Carignan.
2019 Fitou Vieilles Vignes - £16 at The Good Wine Shop
A blend of Carignan, Grenache Noir and Syrah, exclusively old vines from the village of Tuchan.
Good colour. Stony fruit on the nose, and the palate ripe and perfumed, with balancing tannin and a warm finish. A satisfying mouthful of the south.