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11 November 2010

Roussillon: Château Lauriga, Thuir

Jacqueline Clar's locally well-established Lauriga comes to 60 hectares (150 acres) of vines spread all around the cute old-Catalan 'Mas' style wine cellar buildings, office and house (part of which is being done up into a tasting / function room), which is pretty sizeable round these parts and where there aren't that many wine estates, except for e.g. their neighbour Domaine Nivet-Galinier. Syrah occupies the lion's share of plantings and hence the make-up of their quite large range, supplemented by the other usual red and white Med / Catalan varieties; plus a good dollop of Merlot too (which actually produces a very attractive easy-drinking wine here - see below). And, as they're lacking a bit of Grenache to make a red Vin Doux Naturel, Jacqueline's recently gone into partnership with a grower in Maury to produce their own young fruity "muté sur grain" style VDN (click here for more info in a feature on Maury & Banyuls). Lauriga currently exports to a few mainland European countries (e.g. Germany, Belgium, Netherlands), but they have plans, with a little help perhaps from new sales manager Maxime Séjourné, to try and crack English speaking wine-quaffing markets! Anyway, if you're in the area, it's well signposted off the Perpignan - Thuir road, heading towards Ponteilla.

I tried these wines in situ in November 2010:
2008 Soleil Blanc de Lauriga vin de pays d'Oc (Grenache blanc & gris 14%) - lightly nutty "oxidative" notes layered with some coconut oak; nice rounded and oily texture vs quite toasty oak, although it's fairly concentrated, juicy and powerful too. A foodie white for sure, a touch too much oak for my taste but it does have attractive texture with it. €10 85+?
2009 Domaine Lauriga Grenache gris rosé vin de pays d'Oc (12.5%) - aromatic and juicy, light crisp profile and finish; attractive "pale" rosé style. €5.90 80+
2009 Château Lauriga Côtes du Roussillon rosé (Syrah, Grenache 13.5%) - very different style with full-on cherry colour, richer red fruit side and "winey" full-bodied mouth-feel; oily vs fruity texture then crisp vs weighty finish. Versatile dinner rosé: e.g. salmon, cured ham, tortilla, vegetable dishes. €5.90 87

2009 Domaine Lauriga Merlot vin de pays (13.5%) - lovely black cherry and ripe plum nose with lightly herby edges; juicy and quite concentrated actually with subtle tannins and chocolate flavours even (there's no oak though), fruity vs more serious finish. 85+ €6
2007 Cadet de Lauriga Côtes du Roussillon (Syrah, Carignan, Grenache 13%) - also no oak: enticing smoky notes with rich cherry fruit; attractive ripe mouth-feel vs light bitter twist of tannins, spicy and fruity vs a bit of weight and grip. €6 85+
2005 Château Lauriga Côtes du Roussillon (Grenache Syrah 13.5%) - very different nose with richer and more Grenache liquorice and spice character, also showing a touch of coconut oak and savoury maturing edges; nice balance and style, turning meaty with subtle oak texture and solid fruit backdrop. 87-89 €12
2008 Cuvée Prestige René Clar Côtes du Roussillon (mostly their oldest Syrah 14%) - 14 months in barriques (2/3 new oak) and it does show at the moment: pretty cedar-y on the nose; nice concentrated "sweet" dark cherry fruit though vs rounded tannins, good bite and freshness almost too; coconut texture and finish, needs a few years to let that oak blend in better, could turn into something quite fine. €22 90?
2008 Muscat de Rivesaltes (Muscat petits grains) - quite subtle orangey Muscat nose vs oily developing side; tasty and aromatic, not too sweet, towards crisp even, vs luscious finish. Bit dear at €12 85
2009 Maury (Grenache) - attractive fruity "new wave" style, plummy nose with leather edges; very fruity and lush palate with liquorice and choco vs nice kick and bit of grip. Attractive style. €14 85+
Château Lauriga Rivesaltes Ambré Hors d'Age (Grenache blanc, Macabeu and a splash of Muscat petits grains; blend of 12 to 14 year-old wines) - hints of coconut and rich oxidised hazelnut, caramel and spicy citrus marmalade too; complex "Madeira" vs Tawny characters, tangier finish cuts through the palate nicely. €18 89-91

Traverse de Ponteilla, 66350 Thuir. Tel: 04 68 53 26 73, www.lauriga.com.

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