Mas Gabriel - an update
A tasting with Peter Core on a hot August morning in their cool tasting caveau. 2022 will be their 17th vintage.
2021 Clos des Papillons
Pure Carignan Blanc. Light colour. Firm stony nose. Quite a restrained nose. And on the palate firm fruit. Good depth, with stony mineral notes and acidity, and a salty finish reminiscent of Picpoul. However the structure of Carignan Blanc is firmer. A rounded note on the finish. Really successful. Demonstrates why Carignan Blanc should be taken more seriously.
I commented that Peter’s winemaking has evolved and improved over the years. He modestly observed that they also have better equipment, but I think the man plays a significant role too. The winemaking here is very simple. Press the grapes; no malo-lactic fermentation; some time in vat, off the lees. 12.5º. These Carignan Blanc vines were planted 7 years ago and are beginning to come into their own. They had a pretty difficult first five years, with rain and mildew, a heatwave and frost. As Peter observed, as young vines, they were simply battered. And they thrived on adversity. Peter has nearly one hectare of Carignan, with some Grenache Blanc, in a total of six hectares. He thinks the Carignan Blanc should have some ageing potential
2020 Clos des Papillons
Carignan with 10% Vermentino. No wood. A lighter nose, more aromatic and more floral, with a different acidity. A lemony freshness. 13º.
2020 Champs des Bluets
80% Vermentino and 20% Grenache Gris. One third of the blend is fermented and kept for six months in two acacia barrels. Light colour. Light lemony floral fruit, for the Vermentino, while the Grenache Gris adds some weight. Nice balance. Very harmonious and rounded. Peter observed that this was the vintage after the 2019 heatwave and that he had noticed that there was less oidium, considering maybe that the heat had killed off the oidium bugs.
2021 Champs des Bluets
With Grenache Blanc rather than Grenache Gris. A more restrained nose, and a drier, firmer palate. Quite stony, and more solid and dense. Quite an intruding difference. No wood as they did not have enough to fill even one barrel, thanks to frost damage.
As well as Carignan Blanc they have also planted Cinsault, and in 2021 it was used in their rosé, which we could not taste for the simple reason that they had sold out. But for 2022 Peter is considering a red wine from the Cinsault, or it could be included in Clos des Lievres or Les Trois Terrasses. He has yet to decide.
2021 Trois Terrasses
75 - 80% Carignan with a percentage of Grenache and Syrah. They pick the Syrah early, when the tannins are not quite ripe and press it half way through the fermentation, so that the impact of the Syrah is quite restrained. Young red fruit on nose and palate, with some peppery notes. Youthful and fresh with supple tannins. The freshness comes from the Carignan.
2019 Trois Terrasses
This was drinking beautifully, and it is all sold out. Deep young colour. Quite a rounded nose with ripe fruit, Spice with nicely fleshy ripe fruit. Supple tannins. Balancing structure. Long and ripe and rich, without being heavy. The Carignan freshness gives a nice lift.
It is not AOP Pézenas as Carignan is limited to 40% and you need at least 20% Grenache to balance it. However, Clos des Lièvres is Pézenas, with 80% Syrah and 20% Grenache.
2019 Clos des Lièvres
Deep colour. Rounded and ripe, Red and black fruit. A firm tannic streak, but bien enrobé as the French would say. One of those terms that is difficult to translate. Perhaps nicely fleshed out. Good weight and depth, balancing ripe fruit and firm tannins. Plenty of ageing potential.