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15 April 2011

Languedoc: Picpoul de Pinet 2010

Well, what can I say? Picpoul de Pinet, that reliably tantalising 100% varietal (Picpoul or Piquepoul) appellation lying between Pézenas, Mèze and Marseillan (centred on the village of Pinet) just inland from the watery ‘Bassin de Thau’, is usually one of my favourite dry whites from the south. As you’ll see if you take a look at my report on the 2009 and 2008 vintages; but, on evidence of (admittedly only) nine 2010s up for tasting, I was very disappointed this year. Many of the wines just seemed to lack that real zesty crisp bite you’d expect or corresponding depth of fruit and character. So, I guess 2010 wasn’t a great vintage here then? Very generally, this appears to be the case for white wines across the region? Answers on a postcard please (preferably featuring plump oysters from the Thau lagoon or touristy pics of nearby Sète)…

"You'll need plenty of Picpoul de Pinet to get all those oysters down." From www.languedoc-wines.com
The sampling occasion was the “Languedoc Millésimes” marathon tasting week (21-25 March) in the splendid setting of Château de Flaugergues (profile to follow) in Montpellier. 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 are cellar door per bottle inc. taxes.
Les Costières de Pomerols "Cap Cette" - gummy lemony notes with lees edges and intensity on the palate, juicy and crisp vs oily touches; not very long or complex but nice enough.
Les Costières de Pomerols "Beauvignac" (12.5%) – similar profile with melon tones, more honeyed and concentrated too with crisper bite and longer finish; still lacks a bit of real zing though. 1 €4.15
Château St. Martin de la Garrigue – a bit flabby, it is rich I guess and that lees bite comes back but... €8.20
Château de Pinet / Vignobles Gaujal de Saint Bon - livelier nose and palate, already turning oily and again a tad flabby vs lack of refreshing acidity? €6.90
Château de Pinet – again it’s disappointingly dilute and lacking character. Usually a star producer. €6.30
Domaine Félines Jourdan - aha. Nice gummy melon and lemon nose, quite full vs juicy mouth-feel, chalkier finish than the others although lacks that real zip I associate with this top producer. Fair length though and good value. 1+ €5.50
Mas des Mas – zestier with lemony and yeast-lees intensity on nose and palate, attractive crisp bite and chalky finish. The best one in this line-up. 2
Les Vignerons de Florensac "Lessac" – a little green and lean vs palate weight. Zingy though.
Les Costières de Pomerols "Prestige Beauvignac" (12.5%) - toasty oak and rich honeyed fruit, far too charred in character though. Not sure about this barrel-fermenting trend for P de P?

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