Lea & Sandman – Languedoc and other wines
I always enjoy Lea & Sandeman’s tastings. They have a wonderfully eclectic range of wines. There were several growers’ champagnes with names that were unknown to me, such as Nicolas Maillart, and also one of my favourites, Egly-Ouriet. A small selection of Beaujolais, from Domaine Chevalier Métrat and Clos de la Roilette, showed just how delicious Beaujolais is these days. And they have just added Georgia to their list, with a small range from the Qvevri Wine Cellar, with four orange wines from four different indigenous grape varieties, as well as a peppery Saperavi.
Prices are retail prices per bottle. The price drops with the purchase of a case of 12 bottles.
The south of France selection began with
2021 Domaine Felix, Pays de l’Hérault, Cuvée Pierre Martin, a blend of Sauvignon and Vermentino. £.9.50
Quite fresh and pithy on the nose and palate, clean and refreshing. The Vermentino tempers the Sauvignon.
2021 Domaine Gayda, T’Air d’Oc, Sauvignon Blanc - £9.95
Firm green fruit and pithy notes on both nose and palate. Fresh with good acidity. From one of the coolest parts of the Languedoc, so this Sauvignon has a refreshing grip that Languedoc Sauvignons often lack.
2021 Domaine les Yeuses, Vermentino - £9.95
Quite rounded and soft on the nose. A lightly pithy palate, with some acidity and a fresh finish.
There was a small selection of rosés, including an estate from Provence, within the area of Mont Ste Victoire, Domaines des Diables. Guillaume Philip talked about stabulation à froid, a technique whereby the pulp of the grapes remains in contact with the juice for as long as a month at a cool temperature before the fermentation begins, thereby adding more texture to the wine.
2021 Le Petit Diable, Côtes de Provence - £14.95
60% Syrah, 20% each of Grenache and Cinsault. A very pale colour. Elegantly dry and fresh.
2021 MIP Classic Made in Provence - £15.50
60% Cinsault, and 20% each of Syrah and Grenache. Very pale colour. Very delicate nose. Quite a firm dry palate, light and elegant, dry and fresh.
2021 MIP Collection Premium Rosé - £17.95
A blend of 60% Syrah, 30% Grenache and 10% Vermentino, all fermented together, as the vines are all planted together in the same vineyard. Pale orange pink. A fresh nose and a rounded palate with a little weight. Firm fresh fruit.
2012 Rosé Bonbon, Sainte Victoire - £18.95
50% from 100-year-old Cinsault vines, with 30% Syrah and 20% Grenache. A brighter pink colour, reminding me of English boiled sweets. Quite an elegant nose, with nice weight on the palate, with some balancing acidity. Youthful. I thought this could age in the way that rosé from Bandol develops in bottle.
2021 L’Hydropathe Elite, Sainte Victoire - £20.95
60% Syrah with 40% Grenache. Quite rounded with good weight. Youthful with a satisfying balance of acidity and some raspberry fruit. And I learned a nuance of the French language that a hydropathe does not like water, while a hydrophobe is actually afraid of water.
And then a couple of other southern rosés:
2012 Domaine Felix, Grenache-Cinsault - £9.50
Light colour. Light dry raspberry fruit on the nose and palate. Nicely rounded with supple acidity and an elegant finish.
2021 Bandol, Domaine Tempier - £31.50
Very pale colour. Light nose but quite a solid, rounded palate with good weight and balancing acidity and elegant structure. Drinking deliciously now, but also with youthful potential.
And now onto red wines:
2020 La Petite Syrah, Domaine les Yeuses, Pays d’Oc - £8.95
Medium colour. Some soft spicy berry fruit on the nose and palate. Easy drinking and rounded. I have never visited Domaine les Yeuses – they are on my list.
2020 L’Etranger, Domaine les Trinités - £14.95
From 120-year-old Cinsault vines. I have enjoyed this wine over a number of vintages and am delighted that it is finally being imported to London. Medium colour. Elegantly fragrant red fruit on the nose. With an equally fragrant palate with a balancing streak of tannin. Delicious!
2019 Terre Ronde, IGP Cévennes, Domaine le Sollier - £13.95
A blend of 50% Syrah, 35% Grenache and 20% Cinsault from 70-year-old vines. Quite a deep colour. Some spice on both nose and palate. A supple rounded palate with a balancing streak of youthful tannins and some cassis fruit.
2019 Les Linthes, Duché d’Uzès, Domaine le Sollier - £18.50
A blend of 80% Syrah with some Grenache. Quite a deep colour. Quite a solid intense nose, with some hints of vanilla and oak. Quite solid tannins on the palate. Youthful and not yet very harmonious.
2021 T’air d’Oc Syrah, Domaine Gayda - £9.95
Medium colour. Quite firm peppery fruit on the palate and a youthful palate with firm fruit. Nicely balanced.
2020 Figure Libre, Cabernet Franc, IGP Oc, Domaine Gayda - £18.95
Medium colour. Some fresh red fruit on the nose and palate. In other words, lovely ripe Cabernet Franc, at its best. A medium weight palate. Ripe but elegant.
2019 Chemin de Moscou, IGP Oc, Domaine Gayda - £27.95
A blend of 64% Syrah, 29% Grenache and 7% Cinsault. Quite a deep colour. Quite intense red fruit on the nose and palate. A rounded mouthful of flavour with harmonious tannins and a youthful finish. In case you are wondering, Chemin de Moscou is their actual address. Unlikely though it may seem.
2021 St Chinian, les Terres Blanches, Domaine Borie la Vitarèle - £17.50
From one of my favourite St Chinian estates. A blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. Quite a deep colour, with youthful purple notes. Red fruit and spice on the nose and palate. Some fresh acidity as well as tannin. Youthful potential. Needs time.
2020 St Chinian, les Schistes, Domaine Borie la Vitarèle - £22.95
A blend of Grenache and Syrah. Deep colour. Intense black fruit on the nose and palate. Quite rounded, intense, fruit. Quite fleshy mouthfeel. A tannic finish. Youthful. Also needs time.