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12 January 2010

Languedoc: Château Camplazens, La Clape

Susan and Peter Close's award-winning estate lies at the top end of La Clape (more on that under Pech-Redon) about as far as the "road" goes before you reach an air force base. You can get there via the little village of Armissan or follow signs for Hospitalet then "base aérienne." Either way, the road does a long winding loop and it's a nice peaceful drive. Susan and Peter, originally from northeast England although they then lived in the States for 20 years, bought Camplazens in 2000 after looking extensively around the wine world for that perfect spot. They invested a fair sum in rebuilding the winery and replanting part of the vineyards including Syrah, Viognier and Marselan, a very promising crossing of Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache; as well as recently adding olive trees and new machinery to bring an old well back to life and be self-sufficient in water. Yann Claustre is their winemaker and estate manager, who's worked for the Closes since the beginning.

I tasted these wines with them at the property in January 2010:
2007 Viognier vin de pays d'Oc (13.5%) - exotic and fat vs juicy fruit, attractive ripe oily texture with light toast/spice tones; soft rounded and creamy then a more floral and greener finish. Nice style. 87
2007 Marselan vin de pays d'Oc (13%) - smoky liquorice vs herbal cassis aromas; similar flavours showing lush vs crunchy fruit, wild and spicy too with attractive rounded tannins; liquorice vs fresh bite, very tasty sweet vs savoury aftertaste. 87-89
2008 Syrah vin de pays d'Oc (13%) - appealing peppery black cherry fruit, soft and ripe yet floral and pure; good depth of fruit vs light tannins, a bit of bite and weight too. 87+
2007 La Garrigue La Clape (Syrah, Grenache, Carignan 12.5%) - lovely scented wild herbs and spicy berry fruit; quite lush vs touch of grip, fairly elegant style and subtle length with lingering fruit vs spice. 89+?
2007 Sélection Schwander La Clape (Syrah, Grenache, Carignan 13%) - he's their Swiss importer by the way, the wine is their "Reserve" level I think. Similar profile although more intense, spicier, wilder and richer; lusher vs crunchy fruit, delicious style and depth, again shows balanced length with subtle power. 90+

11110 Armissan. Tel: 04 68 45 38 89,

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