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Richard Mark James' wine and travel blog

20 October 2011

Languedoc: vibrant variety of whites

Following on from my succinct yet poignant Roussillon: white wines post below this one, the general excitement surrounding quality, range of styles and now availability (in the UK anyway) of attractive whites also extends to the Languedoc, of course. So, here's right royal mix tasted and enjoyed in recent times including three lively Picpouls from the Thau Lagoon area, a few richer complex barrel-fermented/aged wines from the hills and a luscious Muscat with its toe tranquilly dipped in the Med. Mind you, there aren't any bargains among this lot; the least dear is an £8 one from M&S. The Languedoc does neatly churn out quite a lot of successful tasty varietals though, such as crowd-pleasing Chardy and increasingly good Viognier, it has to be said.
2010 Maison du Languedoc Picpoul de Pinet, JeanJean - nice juicy style from this ever-growing family wine group, with waxy honeyed notes then crisp vs fuller oilier finish. £10 D&D Wines International.
Lots more JeanJean here.
2010 L'Enfant Terrible Picpoul de Pinet, Domaine la Grangette - tighter and zingier, peachy fruit vs aromatic green fruits and melon, attractive length and style. £10.49 Hallgarten Druitt.
2010 Picpoul de Pinet Les Vignerons de Florensac (12%) - enticing yeast-lees notes on the nose, very steely and zesty mouth-feel with gala melon fruit, nice crisp 'chalky' bite too. £7.99 Marks & Spencer (100 stores).
More Picpoul de Pinet here - as you'll see, generally I wasn't hugely impressed by the 2010 vintage from this region, which usually makes some of my favourite unoaked dry whites in the Languedoc.
2010 Les Mûriers Coteaux du Languedoc, Mas Bruguière (Roussanne, Marsanne) – complex mix of tight and structured palate vs rich exotic fruit, subtle and quite unrevealing at the moment but very promising. £12.50 Yapp Brothers.
More Mas Bruguière wines and profile here.
2009 Les Aurièges vin de pays Haute Vallée de l'Orb, Domaine de Clovallon (Chardonnay, Viognier, Clairette, Petit Manseng) - quirky varietal melange produces a fairly exotic and lush wine, chunky texture vs 'mineral' bite, power vs a little freshness. Good stuff. £15.75 Terroir Languedoc. Note on their lovely Pinot Noir here.
2009 Cigalus pays d'Oc Gérard Bertrand (Chardonnay, Viognier, Sauvignon) - pretty rich toasty and creamy, concentrated and honeyed with punchy finish, quite classy though with good substance, bite and fruit vs still a bit toasty. Should develop well. £20 Bibendum.
More GB wines inc. vertical of Cigalus white.
2008 Pierres d'Argent Coteaux du Languedoc Chateau de Lascaux (Vermentino, Roussanne, Marsanne) - intricate maturing mealy buttery aromas & flavours vs crisp and 'mineral'. Lovely style, very good. £15 HG Wines.
2008 L'Incompris vdp d'Oc, Domaine du Mas Neuf / JeanJean (Muscat petits grains) - intense Muscat characters, sweet and punchy vs crisp underneath, delicious fruit pudding style. Grown on an amazingly isolated vineyard surrounded by pine forest sandwiched between the Med, nearby lagoons and a sheer limestone cliff face (the Massif de Gardiole). £25 D&D Wines.
2005 Virgile white vdp de l'Hérault Domaine Virgile Joly (Grenache blanc) - nutty Fino nose and palate, intense 'mineral' style with a bit of weight and roundness. Not everyone's cup of tea but it's still got hints of class. Expensive though at £27, Dudley & de Fleury Wines.
Click here for more Virgile Joly.

2 comments:

  1. My reading of this is that the hand crafted wines from small independent producers (Bruguière, Clovallon and Lascaux especially) sweep the board here.

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  2. Yes, but predictably they're the dearest ones! What's that about getting what you pay for...

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