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10 May 2011

Languedoc: Pézenas

From roujan.blogspot.com
Lying roughly between Béziers and Montpellier, the Mediaeval town of Pézenas' main claim to fame is as a one-time hang-out for playwright Molière and his merry theatre troupe in the 1650s; and is now the focal point of a new Languedoc village-appellation for red wines. There were a few good and very good ones to try here, which confirmed the positive vibes I've got from tasting some of these wines before. However, apparently several Pézenas producers submitting samples accidentally entered their wines under the straight Languedoc AOC category, which I didn’t taste this year so obviously didn’t get the complete picture. It appears that people like Domaines Paul Mas, Les Aurelles (their 2008 and 2009 “Aurel” were filed on a different table, although I did find a 2010 sample and I tried their 2005 one evening over dinner) and St. Jean de Bébian (ditto, except for a 2010 sample) were missing from this line-up…
Once again, the serene setting was Château de Flaugergues (profile to follow) during the annual “Millésimes en Languedoc” tasting sessions in late March 2011. I’ve used my ‘new-fangled’ scoring system of one, two or three ‘ticks’ (good, very good, fabulous); or just plain 1 to 3 for the wines below. Euro prices are cellar door per bottle inc. VAT, added after the event.

Remparts de Neffiès - Domaine Pech Rome “Clemens” 2008 (60% Grenache, 15% Carignan, 15% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre; 14.5% alc.) - maturing perfumed minty cassis and black cherry, turning savoury with nice fruit, grip and fresh bite, subtle and long. 2-3 €12
Domaine Pech Rome “Opulens” 2005 – aromatic sweet/savoury fruit, ripe vs grippy texture with well-balanced elegant finish. 2
Allegria "Tribu d'A" 2008 (70% Syrah, 30% Mourvèdre; 14.5% alc.) – again attractive aromatics with grainy wood too, bit dried out vs some subtle fruit? €9
Domaine du Clos Roca 2009 (40% Carignan, 10% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 20% Mourvèdre; organic) – meaty/savoury tobacco touches vs rich dark fruit, chunky tannins dominate at the moment vs solid fruit core; very tight and unrevealing finish with punch. 1-2 €7.90
Domaine Turner Pageot "Le Rouge" 2009 (80% Grenache, 20% Syrah; biodynamic) – ester-y cherry fruit, extracted and firm style although has some nice smoky notes and dark ‘tar’ side; needs time perhaps although those tannins are a bit hard. 1 €11
Château Condamine Bertrand 2009 (50/50 Grenache/Syrah) - scented oak and wild berries with herby touches, pretty intense cassis then darker fruit, tight and fresh vs firm but attractive texture, punchy and long but quite fine. 2 €16
Alignan du Vent Cépages "Hadrien" 2009 (70% Syrah, 30% Grenache) - vibrant chunky spicy black cherry, pretty grippy vs lively fruity and punchy too; maybe a touch ‘overdone’. 1 €6.90
Domaine Magellan 2009 (50/50 Grenache/Syrah; 14.5% alc.) - enticing sweet berry vs tobacco fruit, firm vs sweet mouth-feel, lighter touch than some of the others, nice style. 1-2 €12
Domaine Les Aurelles “Aurel” 2005 (2/3 Mourvèdre + Syrah/Grenache) – very white peppery with resiny/savoury edges, quite concentrated vs elegant, nice style and drinking well now. 1-2
“Aurel” 2010 (cask/tank sample) - rich dark and spicy, nice big mouthful, concentrated and chunky tannins, lovely fruit and oomph. 2-3
St. Jean de Bébian 2010 (cask/tank sample: SGM) - oaky/malo-lactic notes dominating, a bit clunky and awkward at this stage, need to try it when finished and ‘together’.

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