Richard Mark James' wine & travel blog
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30 September 2008

Languedoc: Gérard Bertrand autumn road-trip

Gérard Bertrand: 'King of the Languedoc..?'
Autumn road-trip 2008: "A dose of La Clape, picking Cinsault, vertical tastings and barbecued wild boar... Villemajou is where the story begins, as they say, the original Bértrand family property... Hospitalet lies on the rugged eponymous hillock, which has given its name to this Languedoc sub-appellation (I won't labour the 'unfortunately-named theme')... Aigle Royal is sourced from one of the highest vineyard parcels, at 500 metres altitude, so think Where Eagles Dare..." Comprehensive reviews across their range including La Forge 2000 to 2005, Cigalus red/white 2001 to 2007, Le Viala 2000 to 2005, Aigle Pinot Noir & Chardonnay, L'Hospitalitas.
Click here for the full monty.

11 September 2008

Languedoc: Domaines de Petit Roubié, Picpoul de Pinet/pays d'Oc

Domaines de Petit Roubié

Floriane and Olivier Azan’s specialities include delicious examples of arguably the Languedoc's most distinctive, dry white wine discovery: Picpoul de Pinet. Often concentrated, zesty and lively when young yet filling out with a year's bottle age turning peachier, honeyed and towards creamy yet still with 'mineral' edges. 
This medium-sized (by Languedoc standards: it actually covers over 1000 hectares) appellation is located to the north & west of the Bassin de Thau - an unexpected, picturesque and sometimes smelly lake/lagoon lying not far from the sea that shelters those world-famous Bouzigues oyster farms - which is a good 30-40 minutes southwest of Montpellier. Meaning the Picpoul vineyards lie roughly between Sète, Agde and Pézenas. Growers here are working towards becoming a separate AOC by honing the borders and production rules, which might actually exclude certain less good sites and producers, I'm told.
Other Pinet estates to look out for include Château de Pinet and Domaines Félines-Jourdan, des Lauriers and Mas Saint-Antoine. Picpoul wines, rather unique in a world of samey Chardonnays etc. and often good quality / value for money, deserve to be more widely appreciated around the world (I'll get off my soap box now). A bit obscure perhaps but it's one of those once you've tried it, assuming you can find it in the first place, you're converted wines (well, most of the time anyway). More info can be found on www.picpoul-de-pinet.com. Back to Roubié, 
I tasted this pretty quintessential P de P, as far as I'm concerned, at Millésime Bio in Perpignan, January 2008. And below that, a couple of notes on older vintages and other wines at Millésime Bio 2006 including their characterful varietal Marsanne, one of 16 varieties (more white than red in fact) planted across their organically farmed (since 1985, so a serious track record there) 40 hectares.

2007 Chateau Petit Roubié, Picpoul de Pinet (12.5%) - very zesty citrus v oily apricot and white peach notes; lovely yeast lees tanginess, concentrated fruit extract and zingy fine length. 90
The above Picpoul was re-enjoyed, in moderation of course, in September 2008 following a quick visit to the domaine. It's lost some of its immediate freshness and zestiness, not surprisingly, but it's still a lovely wine; rounder, more honeyed and peachier showing medium weight, tasty fish-friendly style and classy finish. Value @ under €5. 88-90
And from MB 2006 as mentioned above:
2005 Marsanne
 - characterful waxy honeysuckle fruit, nice fresh bite v yeast lees intensity. 87
2004 Picpoul de Pinet - lovely concentrated zesty gummy fruit balanced by crisp acidity and fine length. 90



Roubié, 34850 Pinet. Tel: 04 67 77 09 28, roubie@club-internet.frwww.picpoul-de-pinet.com/petit-roubie