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01 May 2015

Languedoc white

Following on from my previous post (read it here or scroll down) with some info and comments on the catch-all Languedoc appellation, featuring a dozen red recommendations tasted last week in the region; the spotlight is now turned on to my selection of Languedoc AOP white wines from the blind line-up. A few observations: there are some enticing blends here, and I was particularly taken by wines majoring in the Vermentino variety in the mix. A true Med white grape that could prove to be one of the most exciting in the Languedoc, along with Bourboulenc, Picpoul, Roussanne and Clairette for instance. 2013 was obviously a lovely vintage for whites - many of these were still tasting quite young - and the 2014s are naturally very zingy and fresh: another good white vintage by the looks of it. Generally, I'm pretty impressed by the progress made on the white Languedoc front (more to follow on Picpoul de Pinet and whites from other appellations). € prices are cellar door: the whites tend to be similar to or dearer than the reds though, probably a yield / production cost thing (or fashion marketing...).

A Languedoc white with fresh oysters from the Bassin de Thau?
Calmel & Joseph 2013 (Marsanne, Roussanne, Grenache blanc; no oak) - Zesty mineral style, still tight and crisp for a 2013, developing honeyed notes vs 'chalky' texture, quite elegant and nutty on the finish. €7 value.
Prieuré Saint-Jean de Bébian 2013 (Roussanne, Clairette, Picpoul, Grenache blanc; 12 months in barrel on the lees with stirring) - Nice zesty lees character, quite tight and complex with long zingy bite vs shades of richer exotic fruit. Good although dear: €27.
Mas Granier 2013 Les Marnes (Roussanne, Grenache blanc, Viognier; 80% of it spent 10 months in oak) - Bit of oak on the nose and palate, but nice and creamy too vs tight and crisp mouth-feel, not too toasty finishing more elegantly despite fair weight as well. €9.30
Domaine des Lauriers 2013 Cuvée Baptiste (Vermentino, Picpoul; no oak) - Tight and unrevealing at first (too cold probably) with hints of grapefruit, finishing with a 'firmer' texture even; should be very good. €7.54
Clos de l'Amandaie 2013 (Grenache blanc, Roussanne; 10 months on lees) - Similarly closed up and crisp to start, developing banana and nut flavours, very tight and zingy finish; needs a few months still. €10
Clos Sorian 2013 (Roussanne, Marsanne, Grenache blanc) - Nice ripe 'Chablis' style, in the sense of showing greener vs creamy characters, tight vs weighty palate, drinking well now. €9.90
Le Plan de l'Homme 2013 Florès (Roussanne, Grenache blanc; organic) - Hints of toast? (the tech sheet implies no oak though), buttery fruit vs fresh and mineral mouth-feel, quite structured actually with fair class and length. €9
Saint-Martin de la Garrigue 2013 Bronzinelle (Grenache blanc, Marsanne, Roussanne, Picpoul, Terret; no oak) - Lees-y and zesty nose and palate, maybe still needs a few months to open up but it's very intense and characterful. €9.80
Chemin des Reves 2013 La Soie Blanche (Vermentino, Roussanne, Marsanne, Grenache blanc, Viognier; 1/3 in barrel) - Gummy with light vanilla and coco tones, zesty with banana notes vs a bitter twist, has fair oomph too; almost trying too hard but it works! €15
Domaine du Grand Crès 2013 Le Blanc (Roussanne, Viognier; 9 months on lees) - banana and exotic fruit vs a little bite, oily and rounded with savoury finish; seemed a bit flabby tasted on its own but went well with a mackerel starter at lunchtime! €9.60
Jeanjean/Domaine du Causse d'Arboras 2013 '320' (Vermentino, Roussanne, Marsanne; organic, 14% abv) - Quite intense and lees-y with subtle almost grainy tones (no oak though according to the tech sheet?), tight elegant and classy finish despite a bit of weight and richness, turning more exotic and spicy vs that lighter 'mineral' touch. Expensive but they don't produce much apparently: €28 or approx £17.99 UK retail.
Le Clos du Serres 2013 Le Saut du Poisson (Grenache blanc, Roussanne, Vermentino; one-third in barrel for +12 months) - Ripe banana fruit then crisper and more intense on the palate, yeast lees tones adding to a lively finish. €14
Mas Saint Laurent 2013 Montmèze (Picpoul, Roussanne, Terret; aged on fine lees) - Ripe buttery and oily then crisper tighter finish, very nice style for the money. €7
Domaine de Mortiès 2013 (Roussanne, Vermentino, Viognier; organic, aged on lees) - Enticing mix of oily and exotic vs 'mineral' and zesty mouth-feel, bitter twist but good balance and length. €13
S. Delafont 2014 (Vermentino, Marsanne, Bourboulenc, Grenache blanc, Roussanne, Viognier; biodynamic/organic) - Nice and juicy vs lightly oily texture, tight and zesty finish with a bit of character too. €8
Virgile Joly 2014 Le Joly blanc (Grenache blanc, Roussanne; organic) - Closed up at first, turning to banana and exotic peachy notes vs lees-y and intense, very crisp and long, needs time. Reasonable price too: €7.20.

And a trio of other Languedoc whites tried with food:
L'Emothion d'Encoste 2013 blanc (12.5% abv) - attractive ripe and creamy characters with a little richness and exotic fruit vs lighter finish, drinking nicely now.
Château Hospitalet Grand Vin blanc 2013 La Clape (Vermentino, Roussanne, Viognier; 8 months in barrel with lees stirring) - a little oaky at first but it's rich and lees-y with enticing oat and nut flavours, powerful but not over the top. Good with lobster ravioli in a bisque (as you do). Typical 'grand' Gérard Bertrand price: €25.
Château d'Anglès Grand Vin blanc 2012 La Clape (Bourboulenc, Grenache blanc, Roussanne, Marsanne; barrel fermented and stirred on lees for 6 months) - also quite oaky to start but was great with grilled langoustines (aka scampi or Dublin Bay prawns), quite fat and lees-y with creamy oily texture and nice mature savoury finish. €16

Next up: Rosé...

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