Liberty Wines - Tasting Languedoc and Roussillon
The importers, Liberty Wines, have an enormous portfolio, that covers the entire world. It was simply impossible to taste even a small part of the range on offer, so I contented myself with the south of France as well as Tuscany, New Zealand, Chablis and England, and also a brief sortie into Champagne to taste Charles Heidsieck as Mackenzie Paton, whose parents set up Ata Rangi in Martinborough, is the brand manager for this champagne.
Domaine la Croix Gratiot
2020 Picpoul de Pinet, Bréchalune.
This is one of my favourite Picpoul and everything that good Picpoul should be, with a firm salty nose, and good acidity on the palate, with more saline notes and some satisfying depth. Just bring on the oysters.
2020 Rouge Cerise, IGP Hérault.
A pure Syrah with a short maceration, so quite light in weight, with rounded, ripe juicy fruit on both nose and palate. Easy drinking, without any great depth.
I talked to Olivier de Mio, who works with Trevor Gulliver, who is best known for his association with the restaurant, St John, and first asked him about the name. it is apparently a street in the village of La Livinière where they have their cellar.
2016 Grenache Gris IGP l’Hérault
From a single vineyard, with 70-year-old vines. Spends one year in oak. Quite rounded nose with elegant concentration on the palate. Some lovely fresh herbal notes. Good texture and a long finish. Very satisfying. Oliver assured me it would age, and to prove his point produced their first harvest from the same vineyard, the 2011.
The 2011 had developed a little colour, and had a nicely evolved nose, with good acidity on the palate, balanced with herbal notes and a touch of oak. There were some lovely nuances of flavour, one of those wines that keeps you guessing and making come back for more. Good depth and a long finish.
2018 Cinsault de Schistes IGP Hérault
Medium colour. Very fragrant ripe nose. Ripe and savoury, with rounded, ripe cherry fruit. Medium weight. A supple finish. Deliciously refreshing.
2016 Grenache, IGP Hérault
From 50 – 60-year-old Grenache vines. Rounded ripe cherry fruit on both nose and palate. Very Grenache. Good texture and depth, with a long finish. Very satisfying.
Château Fontarèche, Corbières
I am unfamiliar with this Corbières estates in Canet d’Aude, so a bit of a discovery.
2019 Vieilles Vignes Corbières
Made from their oldest vines, notably Carignan, planted in 1962, as well as Syrah and Mourvèdre, with a little Grenache Noir No oak. Medium colour. Ripe spice on both nose and palate. Quite a rich palate, with supple tannins.
2019 Pierre Mignard, Corbières
The Mignard family had owned the estate since 1642, but today it is the property of Jacques de Lamy, and the wine is made by Vincent Dubernet, whose father Marc Dubernet is a leading oenologist in the region. Carignan, Syrah and Mourvèdre, aged in oak. Medium colour. Quite a firm nose, with some spice and on the palate, more spice, balanced with tannin. Good depth. A more structured and serious wine.
2020 Picapolle Corbières.
70 % Piquepoul Noir with 30% Carignan. A firm nose, and on the palate rounded, with rich spice and more depth and length. An intriguing blend. Piquepoul Noir is unusual, and has fresh juicy fruit with some acidity, while the Carignan provides the structure.
2020 Calcinaires Blanc, Côtes Catalanes
Light colour. Stony herbal fruit on the nose and on the palate, fresh juicy acidity balanced with stony mineral fruit. An elegant balance of weight and concentration.
2020 Calcinaires Rouge, Côtes Catalanes
Light colour. Elegant red fruit on the nose. Quite fresh and fragrant on the palate, redolent of ripe cherries but without being heavy. Very good balance and elegance
Vieilles Vignes, Côtes Catalanes
Deeper colour. A firmer nose, with dry spice. Medium weight. An elegant concentration on the palate with some depth and length. A lovely expression of the flavours of Roussillon.