Jeff Carrel at the London Wine Fair
Jeff Carrel was one of those familiar names, but I had never actually tasted his wines, until this opportunity at the London Wine Fair. I was told that Jeff, who is a chemist by training, had developed his own wine label about 25 – 30 years ago, buying grapes which he vinified in his cellar in Narbonne, and concentrating on organic wine making. And then he bought his own estate in Roussillon, Domaine d’Ansignan, near Maury. I don’t know why it failed to come onto my radar for The wines of Roussillon, but you can’t include everyone in a book.
There was an eclectic range to try, as follows:
2021 En Coteaux Pinot Gris Vin de France, from vineyards near Limoux.
A hint of spice on the nose and more on the palate, with some fresh acidity.
2021 La Vieille Mule, Côtes Catalanes, Macabeo
I liked this a lot. A lovely example of the growing number of original white wines from Roussillon. Quite a firm fresh nose, and on the palate, quite rounded fragrant fruit, with some very satisfying mouthfeel and texture.
2021 Plein la Vue, Vin de France, Sauvignon
From vineyards near Béziers. Quite pithy fresh Sauvignon fruit. Good varietal character with a nicely rounded, textured palate.
2021 Pas Vu, Pas Pris, Chardonnay, Vin de France
Also from near Béziers. Lightly buttery on both nose and palate. Nicely rounded with a fresh finish.
2020 Dans l’Air du Temps or A Sign of the Times, Sauvignon
A pure Sauvignon. Very firm and pithy on both nose and palate. More weight and depth than the previous wines, And a touch of fairly discreet oak, from staves rather than a barrel.
2021 Dans l’Air du Temps, Chardonnay
Lightly rounded, lightly oaky. With a firm finish.
2021 Gazouillis, Malbec Rosé, Vin de France
From vineyards near Carcassonne. Very pale. Light fresh red fruit on nose and palate. Quite crisp acidity.
2012 Grenadines, Domaine d’Ansignan. Côtes du Roussillon Rosé
A blend of Carignan, Grenache, Macabeo, Syrah and Lledoner Pelut
Light red rather than rosé. The colour of pomegranates, or grenadines. Light fresh red fruit. Light weight with good acidity and some tannin. Very refreshing.
2020 En Coteaux Pinot Noir
From the Loire Valley. Light red fruit on nose and palate, nicely rounded.
2020 Côtes Catalanes, Vieille Mule, Grenache Noir.
Medium colour. Quite rounded, quite ripe, medium weight with some soft tannins.
2021 Les Darons, AOP Languedoc
I learnt some slang here. Les Darons means the fathers, i.e. the key grape varieties of the Languedoc, Grenache, Carignan and Syrah, from vineyards around Narbonne. Young colour. Fresh young red fruit. Just bottled so still very youthful and not quite knit together yet.
2021 Fitou, La Tire
More slang here. Une tire is a car. And 1948 saw the creation not only of the appellation of Fitou but also of the iconic French car, the 2CV. Deep young colour. Quite warm fruit with a firm streak of tannin. Nice mouthfeel. Youthful, with potential to develop.
2020 Villa des Anges, Vin de France
Cabernet Sauvignon from near Capestang. Intended for easy drinking, but it seemed full of ripe, with quite sweet oak. Not my taste.
2019 Côtes du Roussillon, Petites Grappes
A blend of Grenache and Carignan. Quite firm fruit. Nicely structured with firm spicy red fruit.
2018 Côtes du Roussillon Villages, Vin d’Altitude DSM = Domaine sous la Montagne,
42% Syrah, 29% Grenache, 26% Carignan, 3% Lledoner Pelut and a refreshing 13.5°
Medium colour. Quite rounded ripe fruit. Nice balance of spice and weight on the palate.
In short, a good discovery.