Cal Demoura

I always enjoying tasting with Vincent Goumard at Cal Demoura as he is a very thoughtful, not to mention talented wine grower.  He has also played a significant role in the creation of the appellation of the Terrasses de Larzac, which was recognised in 2014.   Vincent went to the INSEAD  business school and then worked for Arthur Anderson, before completely changing direction and becoming a wine grower in the heart of the Languedoc.  His business experience possibly made him more expert than some of his colleagues at coping with the machinations of the INAO.    And the Terrasses du Larzac are now firmly established as one of the most successful areas of the Languedoc, covering all the northern vineyards below the Larzac plateau.  They are some of the highest and coolest vineyards of the whole region, including 32 communes in two river valleys, the Hérault and the Lergue.   The two villages of St Saturnin and Montpeyroux are part of the Terrasses du Larzac, although they also have a separate identity.  Currently the appellation is only for red wine, but there are also some lovely white wines, either an IGP or AOP Languedoc, with quite a wide range of different grape varieties, such as Grenache, both Blanc and Gris, Carignan, again both Blanc and Gris, Marsanne, Roussanne, Terret, Vermentino and Chenin Blanc.   In contrast the red wines allow for the usual five grape varieties of the Languedoc and there must be a minimum of three in the blend.  

Vincent talked about the last harvest, describing 2022 as another challenging year.   It was his 19th vintage.  It began well, with some good rain fall in March and April filling up the water reserves.  As a consequence of the frost of 2021, the vines produced more grapes than usual, and then in June the drought began, reducing the crop quite considerably as the grapes simply did not have very much juice. Happily some rain in the second half of August saved the situation, changing things completely.  They had already picked the Syrah but the rain helped everything else, restoring the balance and making for less concentrated wines, with some lovely potential.  Vincent described the aromatics as spectacular.    And he commented that 2020 was the only normal year in the last seven.  Who would be a wine grower, with such climatic uncertainty?

2021 L’Etincelle Blanc, IGP St Guilhem le Désert  - 21€

Mainly Chenin Blanc.  Carignan blanc was introduced into the blend in 2016.   However because of the frost in 2021, there was less Chenin Blanc than usual, with about 35% Grenache Blanc and a little Carignan blanc, Roussanne, Petit Manseng and a hint of Viognier.   In other words, a wonderful example of the diversity of the white grapes of the region.   And all grown on limestone.

Light colour.  Herbal honeyed notes, a touch of honeysuckle.  Vincent observed that it is a balanced between the north and the south.  Citrus notes from the Chenin, with honey from the Roussanne.  A good balance of fruit and acidity.  Some floral notes.  Satisfying texture.  And a firm mineral note on the finish.  Elegant length.   Part of the blend is kept in demi-muids and part in vat, to enhance the aromatics.

There is a second white wine, Parole de Pierres, with a higher percentage of Chenin Blanc, and a selection of the best batches of the year.  It is aged for longer in demi-muids, and was also sold out!

And now for the red wines, which are all Terrasses du Larzac, with some elevage in barrel for all four.

2020 Terres de Jonquières, Terrasses du Larzac - 23€

The main wine of the estate.  A blend of all the different plots, so 11different components with 70% of the vines on limestone and 30% on calcareous clay, which gives the wine a more rounded character.   The blend is 30% Syrah, 25% Carignan, 20% Mourvèdre, 15% Cinsault and 10% Grenache, a lower percentage than usual, thanks to coulure.  Each component is aged separately for sixteen months.  Vincent uses indigenous yeast, and the wines go into barrel in late November, demi-muids and small foudres, for twelve months. After blending the wine spend about four months in vat before bottling.  

Medium colour.  Spicy red fruit on the nose and palate.  Beautifully elegant.  Good dry mineral notes.  Youthful fresh on the finish, and very harmonious with a balance of fruit, tannin and acidity and a long finish.  And shortly after our visit, we opened a bottle of 2015 Terres de Jonquières.  It had aged beautifully.  

2020 Les Combariolles - 33€

From one limestone plot.  Vincent has 12 hectares altogether, eight around the village of Jonquières, and the rest near the ravine de Lagamas on the way to Montpeyroux.  He considers that limestone gives depth and minerality to the wine.  Certainly it was more structured and more intense than the Terres de Jonquières, with more depth, but with some firm spice.  It needs time.  The blend is  35% each of Syrah and Mourvèdre, with 20% Carignan and 10% Grenache Noir.

2020 Feu Sacré - 50€

Another single vineyard, producing about  1000 bottles.   A blend of Vincent’s oldest vines, some Grenache planted in 1958 on calcareous clay, with 20% Carignan, on limestone and 10% Syrah also on limestone, which give energy to the Grenache.  Lighter colour. quite a rich cherry liqueur nose and palate, with a backbone from the Syrah and Carignan.  Smoother, riper and more rounded with a fresh finish.  Carignan is vital for that in the blend.

2020 Fragments - 50€

This is the opposite of Feu Sacré.  70% old vines Syrah - 42 years of age is old for Syrah in the Languedoc. with 20% Mourvèdre and 10% Carignan, grown on pure limestone.  Another single vineyard, and only 100 metres away from Feu Sacré, but in style more like 300 kilometres as  Vincent see this wine as more northern Rhone in its expression.   And I couldn’t possibly disagree.  Medium colour.  Quite a peppery nose, and on the palate tight knit peppery fruit.  Tightly structured and needing time.  Focussed and elegant.  Really quite a contrast.    And a great finale to our tasting, which illustrated the diversity of the Terrasses du larzac, but always with that underlying hallmark of freshness.


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