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04 February 2009

Languedoc: Domaine Saint Andrieu, Montpeyroux

Domaine Saint Andrieu

The Giner family is a big fan of the Mourvèdre and Carignan varieties (and not forgetting Grenache and Syrah of course); for example, their meaty smoky Les Marnes Bleues contains around three-quarters of the former and one-quarter the latter. Other traditional-styled, slightly rustic yet elegantly balanced red blends include La Séranne and L'Yeuse Noire; all sourced from a variety of plots totalling 17 ha planted at between 130 and 330 metres (425 to over 1000 feet). Charles Giner made his first vintage in 1995, although has been growing grapes since replanting new land with his wife in 1980 and taking over much older family vineyards at that time (now 50 to 70 year-old Carignan).
Their wines age very well and start to show real complexity after about five years; the charming Charles takes great pleasure in tasting and talking about them with you in their cave-like old cellar (as we did in February
 2009: see my notes below). It’s worth driving - or better still walking - around the Montpeyroux area, by the way, to take in its remote beauty, with vineyards mixed in among swathes of wild herbs, flowers and bushes; as well as visiting other estates such as Domaine Boisantin (Charles’ daughter Anne Jeffroy actually); and the village co-op also makes good everyday wines.

2005 Vallongue Coteaux du Languedoc Montpeyroux (mostlyCarignan) - aromatic blueberry and cassis aromas, interesting herbal tones too; quite soft and savoury with maturing dried fruits v a bit of grip, quite elegant with subtle tannins. 85
2003 La Séranne (CarignanMourvèdreGrenacheSyrah) - smokier and more leather tinged with cooked fruit notes; weightier (14%) with more solid tannins yet nice mature fruit and still quite fine, despite it being a hot-vintage 2003. 87-89
2002 Les Marnes Bleues (MourvèdreCarignan) - shades of animal and dried black olives but also enticing 'sweet' fruit, complex smoky and mature; firmer and tighter, very attractive now yet still alive for a 2002 (less good vintage). 87+
2001 L'yeuse noire (45% Mourvèdre + Syrah, Carignan, Grenache) - more intricate and toasted/rustic with fig, dried cherry and liquorice notes; elegant, concentrated and mature with rounded v firm structure, power v finesse. 89-91
2002 Domaine Boisantin L'Embellic (Grenache, Syrah, Carignan) - developing 'volatile' meaty balsamic nose with 'sweet' berries, mint and liquorice; similar balance and style, firm v fruity, drinking now as it won't get much better. 87

Earlier vintages here ("Meet the winegrowers tasting," Montpellier 2005: scroll down to Montpeyroux).

La Dysse, 1 Chemin d’Aigues Vives, 34150 Montpeyroux.
Tel: 04 67 96 61 37;

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