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21 January 2008

Languedoc: Domaine de Malavieille, Terrasses du Larzac

Domaine de Malavieille

This 44 hectare (100 acre) organically grown Languedoc estate - certified in 2000 and now following the path to biodynamic enlightenment (or rather mystery perhaps) - is owned and run by Mireille and André Bertrand, who sell most of their wines in France but do also export a bit (Belgium, Spain, Japan, Sweden, Netherlands, Germany), so that gives you English-speakers a good excuse to go and discover them for yourselves. Their vineyards are mostly located within the very promising Languedoc sub-appellation called 
Terrasses du Larzac (meaning there are several very good producers in the area, who appear to have justified claims that it merited being delimited in its own right), heading towards Faugères in one direction and the outskirts of country town Clermont-l'Hérault in the other (so, a good bit west of Montpellier). Surrounding the ruins of the 14th-Century Chateau de Malavieille, there are also parcels that stretch into Montpeyroux and Saint-Saturnin, two other neighbouring Languedoc 'terroirs' staking a claim to making individual wines.
Overall, the Bertrands make an inspiring range of reds fashioned from nine different varieties, although with the region's famous-five at their heart (see below); plus a few surprises such as La Boutine, a rich dry white made from Chenin Blanc - a variety you don't see much of in this area and one of seven white varieties planted here. 
I tasted this, probably their flagship red at Millésime Bio in Perpignan, January 2008. Click here: Millésime Bio 2006 and here: MB 2005 for notes on other wines including the very nice 2001 vintage of Permien.


2005 Permien rouge, Terrasses du Larzac (
Carignan Grenache Cinsault Mourvèdre Syrah) - lovely floral spicy black cherry nose, leading on to soft ripe liquorice fruit v firm tannins adding a refreshing, bitter/sweet twist. Good value too at €7. 90

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Malavieille, 34800 Mérifons. Tel: 04 67 96 34 67, domainemalavieille.merifons@wanadoo.fr,www.domainemalavieille.com.

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