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10 April 2009

Roussillon: Domaine de l'Éléphant, Vingrau/Opoul/Espira-de-l’Agly

This newish, apparently Indian-owned estate (hence the name) is made up of vineyard parcels in three lofty village sites (between 250 and 300 metres = c. 900 feet altitude) around Vingrau (spectacularly pictured), Opoul and Espira-de-l’Agly. Resident winery manager Philippe Cambie is working with the well-known consultants Michel Tardieu and Renaud Chastagnol and is implementing organic farming and "low-intervention" winemaking techniques. One to watch perhaps, although they've embarked on a silly-money pricing strategy from the start at €28 and €36 for these two wines respectively, tasted at the Fenouillèdes wine fair in April 2009. Their US importer is Bourgeois Family Selections in North Carolina (hover over pic. for web details). Update to follow.

2007 Estima Vinifera white (Grenache gris/Grenache blanc/Macabeu) - lightly toasty with creamy yeast-lees undertones, exotic fruit vs fresh bite and 14% weight although it's well balanced / handled. 87
2007 Elephant red (Grenache/very-old Carignan) - rather vanilla & coconut oaky but underneath it seems intense and rich with cassis and liquorice flavours; shows subtle concentration perhaps and lush texture vs refreshing and quite stylish finish. Just bottled when I tried it so we'll see if that oak blends in over time... 87-89


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Header image: Château de Flandry, Limoux, Languedoc. Background: Vineyard near Terrats in Les Aspres, Roussillon.