Domaine du Météore - an update
It had been a while since I had visited Domaine du Météore, not since the estate changed hands in 2018, and was bought by two London doctors, Paul Jenkins, who has had a house in nearby Lunas for 20 years and already knew Faugères well, and Paul Jarman. Corinne Woodland gave us a comprehensive tasting; her partner Simon Frech is the winemaker, with a first vintage at the estate in 2020. Simon was born in Bordeaux and has worked in various countries, Argentina, with Villa Maria in New Zealand, and more recently in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. And Corinne is English and a spell with the family wine merchants, Tanners of Shrewsbury, kindled her enthusiasm for wine.
The estate now totals 26 hectares, in some 60 different plots, at an average altitude of 300 metres, and all farmed organically. First of all Corinne talked about the crater, after which the estate is named. A German cosmologist visited recently and took samples from the crater, resulting in a positive identification, confirming that the crater was formed by a meteor sometime between 5 and 10,000 years ago. The crater totals 40 ares, and contains a vineyard of Syrah that was planted in the 1980s. They have decided to make a wine just from those vines, namely:
NV Le Cratère – 25€
A sparkling wine made by the traditional method, and producing just 900 – 1200 bottles per year. Simon makes the base wine, which is then sent to a prestateur to be turned into bubbles. It spends nine months on the lees.
A delicate pélure d’oignon colour And on the nose rounded and fruity, with notes of raspberry and a dry finish. Elegant with good mousse and an appealing freshness.
2022 Le Météore Rosé – 11.00€
A blend of Grenache, Mourvèdre and Cinsault. 20-year-old vines. Light gris de gris, with the only skin contact coming from the pressing. Quite a dry nose and palate. Quite firm and lightly vinous on the finish. An elegant finish. And more of a food rosé than a swimming pool rosé.
2022 Léonides Rosé– 11.00€
A blend of Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah. So a slightly different blend. Fermented in stainless steel vats. Deeper colour, more orange pink. The wine is altogether more structured with more tannin, with some firm fruit on the nose and palate. A nice salinity of the finish.
2022 Léonides Blanc – 14.00€
40% each of Vermentino and Clairette, with some Viognier and a little Roussanne. Kept in vat. A little colour. A hint of Viognier on the nose, with a little peachiness. Quite a rounded, textured palate, with a slightly bitter finish. Good mouthfeel and weight and lots of nuances from the blend of grape varieties. It should develop nicely in bottle.
2019 Lyrides Blanc – 30.00€
A blend of equal parts of Vermentino and Roussanne, aged for ten months in new 500 litres barrels. A light golden colour. Quite buttery with some vanilla notes on the nose and on the palate rounded, buttery and ripe. The oak is quite well integrated, with a dry finish.
2020 Léonides Rouge – 12.00€
Syrah, Grenache and Cinsault, destemmed and aged in vat. Good young colour. Quite a solid leathery nose and on the palate quite solid and rounded, with some good fruit and firm tannins. A youthful chunky mouthful, and only just bottled so possibly needs to settle down a little.
2020 Carignides, Vin de France – 14.00€
From 55-year-old Carignan, with 18 months ageing in vat, with 30% whole bunches. They make just 2 -2 500 bottles a year of this. Good colour. Fresh red fruit on nose and palate. Some tannin and some acidity making for a fresh finish, with elegant red fruit. Another delicious Carignan.
2020 Perséides – 18.00€
A blend of 70% Grenache aged in vat, with 20% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre. Blended just before bottling. Medium colour. Some ripe, cherry liqueur fruit on both the nose and palate. The Grenache really stands out in the blend, with a touch of tannin to balance the ripe fruit.
2017 Lyrides Rouge – 30.00€
Syrah blended with 20% Mourvèdre. 35 years old vines, all destalked. A post-fermentation maceration which could last as long as five weeks, and certainly three. Deep colour. Youthful sturdy nose, with leathery notes. Firm fruit on the palate, with underlying ripeness. Red fruit, some herbal notes from the garrigue and a fresh lift, that is characteristic of good Faugères. Balanced structure. Good length. Ageing nicely. This is one of the last wines made by the Libes family. A new winemaker came in 2018, Vincent Balansa, who only did two vintages, 2018 and 2019.
2018 Parangon, St Chinian – 30.00€
This is one of two estates that have vineyards in both Faugères and St. Chinian. The other is Moulin de Ciffre. 90% Syrah with 10% Grenache. From one small plot. Destemmed grapes and a long three to five-week post-fermentation maceration. Twenty-two months in new oak. Black fruit on the nose, with some black olive tapenade. Much suppler and more perfumed than Lyrides, the impact of the Grenache, which is warmer and riper, making for a fleshier wine, though balanced with a streak of tannin.
And our tasting finished with a sniff of Météore Gin, with some appealing notes of juniper and other herbs.
Stockists in the UK include Les Caves de Pyrène; Clapton Craft with 8 shops around London and Gnarly Vines in Walthamstow