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28 April 2010

Languedoc: Mas de l'Ecriture, Terrasses du Larzac

Pensive Pascal Fullá - écriture means writing, as you might have guessed from his quill pen logo, so perhaps there's a latent wine author, philosopher or composer behind the winemaking here (and he was a lawyer in a previous life) - bought this estate in 1998 and made his first vintage the following year. It's located in the unassuming village of Jonquières (among a clutch of talented names, it has to be said), and about half of the 10 hectares (25 acres) of vines have been replanted. The varietal make-up is fairly typical, although with quite a bit more Mourvèdre (20%) than most growers in the Languedoc (but not so unusual in this area), Syrah (35%), Grenache (27%), Carignan (12%) and Cinsault (6%). Ecriture lies at the feet of the dramatic Larzac hills, where the grape-bearing earth is mostly composed (although not solely by any stretch) of clay-limestone with plenty of stones on top. When I called by in rather warm late April 2010, Pascal told me he's carrying on the "organic spirit" in the vineyard and, since he's never used synthetic pesticides from the beginning and focused a lot of attention in the field, is now over a year into heading towards "Ecocert" certification.
On the winemaking and ageing front, since we were probably talking about oak (uh oh, geek alert), Pascal clarified that "each variety is aged on its own in the appropriate barrel." For example, he's increasingly using those larger demi-muids (600 litres) "...with about 20% renewed each year. It depends on the vintage and tasting rather than putting the same variety in the same type of barrel each year... for about 12 months, then the wines are blended and bottled." And back in the vineyard, Pascal commented on what I spotted and called "gobelets palissés" (trellised bush vines): "you retain the character of a bush vine but with better leaf surface area and you can treat the bunches if necessary (as the leaves can flop over them)." The result: delicious yet subtle (a word that crops up in each of my tasting notes, by the way) Med reds, even if a little pricey at e.g. £12.50/£19.95/£29.95 in the UK... then again "you gets what you pay for," as they say. Mas Ecriture wines are well distributed around the world: try Terroir Languedoc or Dudley & de Fleury in London, Royal Wine Merchants (NY) or Cynthia T Hurley (MA) in the US and Cottage Vineyards in Hong Kong.

2006 Emotion Terrasses du Larzac (GrenacheCarignanSyrah,Cinsault 13.5%) - this wine makes up about 2/3 of production. Shows lovely fragrant dark cherry, liquorice and light white pepper notes; attractive lush fruity palate with a bit of weight, elegant bite and fine dry tannins; warming and fruity yet well balanced with "sweet/savoury" finish and subtle length. Drinking quite well now although should improve nicely over 1-2 years.87-89
2005 Les Pensées Terrasses du Larzac (more GrenacheSyrah,Cinsault, Carignan 13%) - riper "sweeter" more floral nose with liquorice and spice vs wild herb and blueberry hints; fairly rich and concentrated with tasty "sweet/savoury" fruit, subtle power with light grip adding to its delicious length; almost "mouth-watering" even (not a term I'd usually apply to a red) leaving you wanting more! 89-91
2005 L'Ecriture Terrasses du Larzac (more Syrah, Grenache,Mourvèdre 13%) - again has that enticing "garrigue" edge vs ripe berry/cherry fruit, perfumed and peppery vs darker liquorice profile; feels weightier on the palate and a tad firmer, although still has attractive balance and subtle fresh length; lush dark spicy fruit with meaty edges, nice chunky tannins with lovely mix of concentration vs ripe/rounded vs elegance. 90-92+

Lots more info @ masdelecriture.fr/blog-vignoble. Rue de la Font du Loup, 34725 Jonquières. Tel: 04 99 57 61 54.

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