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05 May 2011

Languedoc: Saint-Chinian Berlou and Roquebrun

Berlou and Roquebrun are the two newish (2005) subzones in Saint-Chinian country created around these two villages found on the appellation’s northern edges, with the Orb river more or less forming a partition between them. Can’t really make a judgement based on tasting four wines; and three of them are from each area’s co-op winery, which is no bad thing, of course, if this lets their growers/winemakers focus on making a couple of special wines, although I’d like to get a better idea of how many small estates are really getting behind these two mini-appellations? I’ve used my ‘new’ scoring system of one, two or three ‘ticks’ (good, very good, fabulous); or just plain 1 to 3 here. Euro prices are cellar door per bottle inc. taxes and were added after the event (21-25 March 2011 in the region).

Les Coteaux de Berlou Château des Albières 2008 (35% old-vine Carignan, 25% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 15% Mourvèdre) - intense sweet-perfumed and spicy, vibrant tangy vs richer liquorice fruit with meaty yet minty edges; peppery pure fruit finish, textured tannins and quite elegant. 2 €9.10
Cave de Roquebrun "Baron d'Aupenac" 2008 (80% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre, 10% Grenache) – again shows enticing herbal cassis vs liquorice and black cherry, touch of oak layered on grippy tannins; pity as it’s a bit over-extracted after that nice start. 1 €21.65!
Domaine Carrière Audier "St-Martin de Vieussan" 2008 (Mourvèdre/Syrah) – a touch oxidised and turning very savoury already, chunky tannins vs some nice fruit but that baked character rides through it. Could just be a dud bottle? €7.90
Cave de Roquebrun "Terrasses de Maynard" 2009 (60% Syrah, 20% Mourvèdre, 20% Grenache) - quite oaky vs lively spicy dark fruit, minty edges vs touch of choc/vanilla adding texture to its big yet rounded tannins, closes up on the finish. A tad clunky perhaps but has good substance etc. 1-2

And from the previous edition of the “Millésimes en Languedoc” tasting sessions in 2010, there were two rather good 2009 vintage reds from two estates not present this time:

Domaine Pin des Marguerites "Pétale Pourpre" 2009 Saint-Chinian-Berlou (Carignan, Mourvèdre, Grenache, Syrah) - peppery garrigue tones with "sweet" blackberry and olive; minty floral blueberry mouthful with "chalky" tannins, fresh bite and quite elegant finish. €11 90
Domaine La Grange Leon "Audacieux" 2009 Berlou (Syrah, Carignan, Grenache, Mourvèdre) - "Black Forest gateau" nose with violet and liquorice notes; concentrated lively mouthfeel with appealing bite, tannins and lingering menthol flavours. €8 90+


Looking back through all six wines, interesting to note perhaps that my favs are from Berlou? Discuss in less than ten words below...

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