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22 June 2009

Domaine Mas Mouriès, Languedoc/Sommières

First, a touch of geography to set the scene for this, at the time, newly explored ground in my swelling Languedoc winery series. The pleasant village of Sommières forms the heart of one of those recently created sub-zones in the far (north)eastern corner of the "old" Coteaux du Languedoc appellation (the "Coteaux" bit is supposedly going to be dropped although still widely used...), lying roughly inbetween Montpellier and Alès and to the west of Nîmes. You're probably more familiar with the latter city, being a popular tourist destination standing at the crossroads between Languedoc and Provence. From www.mas-mouries.comThe Costières de Nîmes wine appellation spreads out across a quite broad area south of Nîmes and, although technically in the Languedoc region, growers here have always aligned themselves wine-wise more closely to producers in the Rhone Valley (that famous river does indeed flow past not too far from here on its way into the Med). "Confused? You will be..." Anyway, all that really matters is that there are several very good producers in this elongated area, who appear to have enough in common for me to shove them together under "Languedoc 6: just when you thought it was over..."

Domaine Mas Mouriès
Solange and Eric Bouet are the affable couple behind off-the-beaten-track Mas Mouriès (see picture above), made up of a few pretty old farmhouse buildings surrounded by about 30 hectares (75 acres) of vineyards lying on gentle hills just outside the miniature village of Vic le Fesq. As well as making arguably one of the Languedoc's best red wines fit for ageing (Les Myrthes, see my notes below), they're also trying to preserve the estate's diverse natural environment of green trees and wild flowers, herbs and brambles by farming organically. I called in on Eric in June 2009, had a pleasant stroll around the vineyard and tasted the following wines (and re-tasted some of them in July 09):
2008 Coteaux du Languedoc rosé (Cinsault Grenache Syrah 13%) - aromatic floral red cherry notes, fresh and crisp vs lightly creamy mouthfeel with simple tasty redcurrant finish. €5 80-85
2007 Vin de Pays white (Grenache blanc Ugni blanc Sauvignon blanc) - gummy and mineral vs quite rich and oily, attractive texture and weight balancing its underlying freshness vs exotic "fat" characters. Very nice white and great value at €6. 87-89
2003 Vin de Pays white (13.5%) - developed, rounded, nutty and oily vs dried apricot notes; quite a kick to it and full-bodied mouthful, interesting old white style although beginning to fade a bit.2007 "M" Coteaux du Languedoc (Syrah Grenache Cinsault) - lovely perfumed dark cherries and ripe blueberries / cassis, turning more liquorice with light smoky wild herb tones; lively and tasty with a tad of fresh bite, supple vs dry tannins and a bit of weight; aromatic crunchy juicy vs "sweet" fruit, turning more savoury and spicy on the finish. €7 87-89
2004 Les Myrthes Coteaux du Languedoc (two-thirds Syrah plus Grenache) - smoky forest floor and leather maturing notes, complex turning more "tar" like vs wild herbs vs subtle sweet oak; fine dry tannins, a bit of power but very well balanced with cassis vs liquorice vs savoury fruit and lovely coating and texture, elegant stylish finish. Drinking now although will keep for another 5 years easily with its impeccable balance of fruit, oak, tannins and alcohol. €15 92-94
2003 Les Myrthes - actually a bit closed up to start with light cedar vs ripe cassis on the nose; much chunkier with bigger tannins and maturing leather notes, surprisingly tight and closed on the finish with grip and concentration. In the end, it's a tad unbalanced towards alcohol and tannins but still has very seductive savoury fruit finish. €15 89-91
2001 Les Myrthes - maturing leather, liquorice and dried fruits/herbs with rich cassis vs savoury undertones, delicious and complex; sumptuous dark tasty and lush vs elegant and quite mature, attractive texture still with a hint of fine dry tannins; there's still life in it yet. €20 92-94
2000 Amarante (precursor to above) - tobacco/leather and mature unpasteurised cheese (!), dried cassis and wild herbs vs liquorice and "tar"; sweet & savoury style with fine balance, again well developed with less structured, more melted-in tannins but still delicious maturing minty vs liquorice fruit and lovely length. 92-94
Aster (2007 sweet white "vin de table", 14.5% and 104 gr/litre residual sugar) - intriguing floral wild honey nose plus super ripe apricots and marmalade, rich oily and spicy fruit with "mushroom" botrytis notes; good balance with refreshing acidity, rhubarb jam vs waxy and spicy texture, quite subtle despite its sweetness; attractive odd-ball kind-of Sauternes/Montbazillac style with a bit less acidity.

Mas Mouriès, 30260 Vic Le Fesq. Tel/fax: 04 66 77 87 13, bouet.eric@wanadoo.frwww.mas-mouries.com.

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