with special guest star
Richard Mark James' blog: wine, travel, food, BYO restaurants, craft beer, stuff like that...

31 March 2011

Roussillon & Languedoc: "wine, food, people, places..." New blog by Richard Mark James

French Mediterranean Wine

This new blog (takes you to it, new window) will include all my Roussillon, Languedoc and other loosely 'southern' French themed material previously published on (work in progress...), plus the latest stuff, of course, posted as and when from now on. The idea is to create a lively stand-alone site dedicated to this wild wine region featuring:
Roussillon diaries: "My slowly mushrooming winemaker guide to French Catalonia stretching from Maury to Rivesaltes, Perpignan to Collioure and Banyuls-sur-mer via Les Aspres (that's the bit in the middle). 100+ winery blurbs and 950 wines tasted..."
Languedoc profiles: "A logical step to give these 100+ sampled estates their very own fifteen minutes of Languedoc fame... with 700+ wine reviews..." Originally split up into bite-size chunks like this: Coteaux du Languedoc "zones" - Corbières & Fitou - Faugères, Saint-Chinian & Minervois - Limoux, Cabardès & Malepère - Vins de Pays Oc etc. - Sommières & Nîmes.
Wine tasting & travel features: new / archive articles and posts originally published on or in Decanter and various other magazines and websites. As well as, to help enhance the French Catalan - Occitan - Mediterranean flavouring, any hot or quirky news items worth sharing, south of France restaurant and food tips, my French "wines of the moment" and all that jazz...

Languedoc "Millésimes" tastings

Coming soon: a series of pieces from the Languedoc, where I spent five days last week tasting 2010, 2009 and 2008 vintage (mostly, plus quite a few older reds) wines from several different appellations and some exciting producers too. With a touch of wild-side hiking (Pic Saint Loup), historical cycling (the Midi canal) and good eating (e.g. resto/wine bar tips in Montpellier and Carcassonne) thrown in too.
First up: Faugères focus, a load of old schist? (see above).

30 March 2011

Deja-vu blog posts

I've imported about 50 Roussillon & Languedoc themed blog posts from 2 and re-published them below this one, to enhance the French Catalan - Occitan - Mediterranean flavouring, appearing in their original date order.
And all 200+ winemaker "profiles" from my Roussillon "French Catalonia" pages and Languedoc winery guides, which were originally published on (1650+ wine reviews and growing...), will also be teleported onto this blog and posted individually approx. at the same point in time as before. To locate these, see "blog archive" month by month in the right hand column or A to Z listing of profiled estates in the "more wine words" section, where you'll already find lots of magazine and web articles as well.
All new Roussillon & Languedoc blurbs will now be published on this blog, along with any fresh and entertaining wine tasting & travel features on the region, news items, south of France restaurant tips, "wines of the moment" etc. As and when. So, please bear with me during the transition process...
Richard Mark James

White of the mo: Santamaria, Corsica

Domaine Santamaria 2010 white from Patrimonio (main variety: Vermentino, 13% alc.) - enticing milky lees notes vs appley then peachier fruit, lightly creamy palate vs zesty with refreshing bite vs rounder finish. Also tried their rosé and red, which were okay but their white’s the star.

25 March 2011

Languedoc: Domaine Barroubio, Saint-Jean-de-Minervois

I've enjoyed Barroubio's wines on numerous occasions; the first one directly below was tasted at the end of October 2008 during Les Grands Chemins 'Rencontres en Minervois' (annual wine, food and arts festival centred on the broodingly Mediaeval village of Minerve and surrounding area - that link goes to the website), at the Chai de Port Minervois - Homps (a wine shop that holds tastings too):
2007 Domaine Barroubio cuvée classique Muscat de Saint-Jean-de-Minervois (15%) - attractive style with typical floral grapey and orange peel notes; sweet v good "cut" and fair punch & intensity. Very nice with a local goats' cheese (didn't note its name...). Still, a bit dear at €9. 85+

And the 08 vintage tasted in March 2010 with pud at La Distillerie restaurant in Saint Marcel sur Aude (goes to review post of that fine establishment):
2008 Muscat St-Jean-de-Minervois - textbook style with lively aromatic Muscat fruit; not so sweet in the mouth thanks to its refreshing bite, nice with a light dessert such as raspberry mousse.

Most recently, there are several more Muscats (dry, sweet, grappa...) and a splendid 2010 rosé, tasted in March 2011, lurking on this blog here: Languedoc: Minervois & Muscat. Which concludes nicely that nice Mr. Barroubio is indeed one of the Languedoc's leading Muscat specialists! However, as I said, that lively rosé goes to show he's more than a one trick pony, although I wasn't that mad on one of his reds I tried over dinner in Carcassonne on the same trip, but it could have just been blown away by the hugeness of the cassoulet (that lardy classic duck and pork cooked in white beans and goose fat)!

More stuff at:

11 March 2011

Elegant but not arrogant Frog

The Arrogant Frog label, made by "the Humble Winemaker" aka Jean-Claude Mas of Domaines Paul Mas based near Pézenas in the Languedoc, has been around for a while and now adds up to quite a range of whites, reds and rosés from the wild south. I picked up a bottle of 2010 Elegant Frog Viognier the other day on offer at Sainsbury's for £5.99, which I guess is a branch-off, exclusive label kinda thing. I've tasted Mas' straight Viognier, and blends with Chardy or other varieties, over many vintages and the 2010 confirms they know how to make this not-everyone's-cup-of-tea grape sing nicely. Its slightly exotic perfumed side gives you enticing up-front apricot, peach and sweet-spice notes, which is countered by a zesty and white peppery edge; quite full and rounded too at 13.5% alcohol; yet has an underlying lively zing to it. Try with Chinese dishes - e.g. something stir-fried with ginger or spicy duck even - or a "medium strength" prawn curry. More info @ or
Loads more Mas HERE (on French Med from 2004 to 2011).