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01 April 2009

Roussillon: Domaine de la Balmière, Latour de France

I first met Laurent Marquier back in very cold January 2005 (and has been every winter since, it feels like...) - see below below for my previous tasting notes on his wines - when we lovingly trampled over a peaceful little spot on his wild vine-land. He and his wife Claudia now farm 14 hectares (35 acres) spread around the old-as-time village of Latour de France. I've tried Laurent's wines a couple of times since, most recently at the Fenouillèdes wine show in April 2009 and in November 2010, and the message is pretty consistent: he's making some quite exciting wines! Here they are:
2007 white (both Muscats) - turning quite oily, mineral and nutty vs lively citrus still; quite concentrated with maturing complex finish, not very "Muscaty" and all the better for it. 87+
2005 Tradition Latour de France Côtes du Roussillon Villages (Syrah Mourvèdre Carignan Grenache) - smoky and developed with lush fruit vs herbal edges, attractively "soupy" and spicy with a bit of grip on the finish; nice now actually. 87+
2006 Espoir - similarly smoky nose but finer and more concentrated, peppery too with plenty of character, fruit and chunky tannins; nice black olive / spicy finish, good stuff. 89
Latest note on that wine HERE (Nov 2010).

2005 Latour de France (mostly Syrah) - more balsamic with dark olives and a touch of wood spice vs rich smoky fruit; again dry and firm texture vs big rounded mouthfeel, complex with "sweet & sour" finish. 90+
2008 Tradition (tank sample) - delicious berry fruit vs chunky rich tannins, very promising.
2008 Latour  (from barrique) - similar lush fruit with vanilla overtones not surprisingly, very solid palate but "sweet" tannins and very peppery; yum.

And a few earlier vintages, tasted in May 2006 (click here for more wines from that show):
2005 Muscat sec - very lively mineral style with crisp citrus fruit v lightly rounded finish. 87
2005 Côtes du Roussillon rosé - floral white peach and redcurrant fruit, attractive dry finish and length. 87
2005 Latour de France CdRV (1/4 each of Grenache Carignan Syrah Mourvèdre) - lovely peppery ripe black fruits and olive, firm dry mouth-feel with generous rounded texture. Promising. 88-90

And in 2005 (more on that here):
2003 Latour de France - Smoky and rustic offering attractive fruit, good concentration and lingering balanced grip. 89-91

2004 Muscat - a bit closed on the nose, gummy extract with crisp citrus depth. 87

La Balmière, Route de Montner "El Mouli", 66720 Latour de France. Tel: 04 68 29 00 04 / 06 77 91 88 15, www.domainedelabalmiere.com.

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