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14 April 2011

Languedoc: Clos Bagatelle, Saint-Chinian

Updated September 2013 - click here to read - featuring their delicious 2000 vintage La Gloire de Mon Père...

Clos Bagatelle, originally the name ("lieu-dit") of a smaller plot of land here, now stretches to around 60 hectares (150 acres) on the outskirts of St-Chinian 'town' itself and some vines in St-Jean de Minervois as well presumably, as they also appear to make a sweet fortified Muscat from this lesser-known appellation lying a little to the west. I’ve tried their wines on three occasions in the last four years and have been consistently impressed; and tasted the first three wines noted below over lunch with Christine Deleuze in Montpellier in March this year during the “Languedoc Millésimes” marathon tasting week. Christine runs the estate with her brother Luc Simon, whose family has been here since the 17th Century apparently.

I’ve used my ‘new’ scoring system of one, two or three ‘ticks’ (good, very good, fabulous); or just plain 1 to 3 here. Euro prices below are cellar door per bottle inc. taxes. More info @ closbagatelle.com (currently "under construction"). Some CB wines are available in the UK from terroirlanguedoc.co.uk (£12-£20), redrobewines.co.uk (£6.95-£8.50) and gauntleys.com (£8.50-£9.50); and tedwardwines.com in New York City.

Donnadieu "Camille et Juliette" rosé 2010 (Syrah, Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvedre 13%) - again a pale "rosé de presse" style (they’ve stopped doing saignée rosé), subtle and crisp with red vs creamy fruit, tight and quite steely finish. 1+ €6.50
Bagatelle white 2010 (Roussanne, Grenache blanc, Carignan blanc, Vermentino, Chenin) - milky leesy edges with light toast vs juicy and quite rich mouth-feel, attractive mineral/celery/aniseed tones vs weight on the finish. 2
Veillée d’Automne red 2008 (13.5%) - a tad baked with nice cherry/berry fruit though and wild herby edges; quite rich vs freshness underneath adding an elegant touch vs a bit of power too, turning mature/savoury vs sweet strawberry/cherry. 1+

And tasted in March 2009: Terre de mon Père 2009 (Syrah/Mourvèdre/Grenache) - similar profile to their floral, sweet-cherry and cassis-laden Mathieu et Marie 09 (better value too at €6.20 and 2) but chunkier and grippier; still has that delicious intense minty thing vs rich and long dry finish. €20 2+
And April 2007: La Gloire de Mon Père 2004 (13%) - very rich tar v floral Syrah? notes, chunky and lush v firm tannins; coffee and liquorice flavours linger on an earthy v 'sweet' finish, long and full. €20 3

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