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18 January 2012

Languedoc: Château de la Negly, La Clape

Negly, with a sizeable 50 ha (125 acres) of vines surrounding its handsome yet workmanlike chateau, is owned by Jean-Paul Rosset, whose talented winemaker is Cyril Chamontin working with uber-consultant Claude Gros. Jean-Paul’s father used to grow grapes for the local co-op but he upped the quality stakes massively in vineyard and cellar from the mid 90s, and this is now one of the best estates on La Clape, out of quite a few very good ones it has to be said, if not the Languedoc (he types pushing the proverbial boat out). Their tasty reds age well too, as you'll see from my glowing notes on the 1998 'Falaise' below... I love what they cram into a glass, typical of that quintessential 'Clape' style showing concentrated warm ripe fruit with deliciously natural wilder edges (garrigue if you like, it's what the French call it) and heady Med 'sweet/savoury' mix. The first two were sampled and 'assessed' at a tasting in London a few months ago:

2008 La Falaise (Syrah Grenache Mourvèdre Carignan) - aromatic herby black cherry and liquorice notes, peppery and rich mouthful with powerful structured palate; lovely mix of concentrated fruit and firm chunky tannins, tight long finish too. Excellent. £17-£20 Thorman Hunt & Co, Bancroft Wines (London).
2007 La Porte du Ciel (15%) - dense dark colour, savoury maturing leather tones vs coconut oak vs very concentrated lush dark fruit, solid yet nicely textured tannins with very long powerful but balanced finish, still very much alive. Yum. €75 although apparently they only make a couple of hundred cases or so! Alexander Krossa Wines (based in the Languedoc selling mostly to Germany and a few other markets now as well e.g. the UK: profile on him with lots more wines to follow. I copied the photo off his site, by the way...)
1998 La Falaise – wow! That wild Clape nose comes through loud and clear, like burnt lavender plus lovely smoky mature fruit, delicious wine you just want to have more of... (tasted March 2011).

James Nicholson (Northern Ireland) also stocks a wide range of Negly wines including older vintages.

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