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Richard Mark James' wine and travel blog

11 March 2010

Languedoc: Domaine Magellan, IGP / Pézenas

Why vin de pays? The village of Magalas is indeed very Languedoc found just south of the Faugères appellation yet was never "classified" within the so-called "Coteaux du Languedoc," for no doubt a variety of odd, political and/or ultimately probably not very interesting reasons. Until 2008 that is, the first vintage to be "delimited" as such and hence Bruno Lafon and Sylvie Legros' quite sumptuous Grenache Syrah wine below, sourced from a hilltop plot lying on the Pézenas-zone side of their vineyards. Another reason, and their original guiding philosophy actually, was that Bruno (from the Lafon Burgundy family) and Sylvie could experiment with the whole gamut of varieties (a dozen) planted across their undulating terrain, which includes e.g. Merlot and Tempranillo among the usual Med and Rhone grapes, based on "one terroir, one wine". Over 10 years later, their thinking is now more "Chateauneuf" than Burgundy; and it's the subtle blending of complementary varieties, all sourced from essentially two very different, although neighbouring "terroirs" (Pech Redon: sandstone and pebbles, Caves de Paris: clay and cobblestones) that create the most complete wines in the south. Having done a quick tour through their vines with Sylvie back in March 2010, it is remarkable how the soil, slopes etc. change from one spot to another, as is often the case in larger Languedoc vineyards. By the way, Le Fruit Défendu is an easy-drinking range based on some old Cinsault, for the red and rosé, that was selected from Chateauneuf-du-Pape in the 60s and they were advised to rip up but decided not to (technical consultants, huh)!

2008 Magellan white (Grenache blancRoussanne 14%) vin de pays de l'Hérault - attractive honeyed oily notes vs spicy and a touch toasty vs quite rich and buttery; nutty and crisp vs powerful, nice balance in the end despite that initial punch! 87
2009 Fruit Défendu rosé (CinsaultSyrah) vin de pays Côtes de Thongue - mouth-watering and crisp with rose petal tones and light red fruits; clean, gummy and easy finish. 80-83
2009 Fruit Défendu white (Grenache blancMuscat) - aromatic nose vs rounder and juicy palate; crisp and mineral with honey and melon flavours. 83-85
2009 Fruit Défendu red (CinsaultSyrah) - appealing juicy cherry and liquorice fruit; peppery palate with light grip and nice blackcurrant finish. 80-83
2008 Magellan Coteaux du Languedoc (GrenacheSyrah) - lovely vibrant minty nose with spicy black cherry and liquorice; attractive fresh bite and "chalky" tannins, tight long and balanced finish. 87+
2007 Magellan red (GrenacheSyrahCarignan) vin de pays de l'Hérault - smokier and richer yet still minty with wild herb and berry notes, "sweet" liquorice and savoury edges too; grippy with lingering maturing fruit, big but very tasty. 89+
2005 Alios (GrenacheSyrahMourvèdre + Tempranillo etc.) vin de pays de l'Hérault - enticing savoury maturing nose with dried black fruit edges; good mix of ripe and raisin-y vs solid and meaty, quite complex and interesting flavours with herby vs savoury profile, big finish and fairly firm tannins still. 90+?

Latest vintage tasted here (2009 Coteaux du Languedoc Pézenas, May 2011).

467 Avenue de la Gare, 34480 Magalas. Tel: 04 67 36 20 83 / www.domainemagellan.com.

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