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27 February 2012

Languedoc: Syrah, Minervois, La Rouviole & Borie de Maurel

Léonor family lurking among barrels
I suddenly felt a little comparative theme come on when I rediscovered notes on two wines tasted last year from these almost neighbouring wineries in Minervois (well, one in Siran and t'other in Félines-Minervois a couple or so of km away). Both of them are made intriguingly from 100% Syrah, which is 'allowed' in this appellation area but not in any other one in the Languedoc (apart from IGP/vin de pays wines), as far as I can think of off the top of my head. Syrah homogenisation or style/quality statement? And does it really matter, varietal vs blended appellation wine, as long as it tastes good and has character? Mull it over and you decide...

Domaine La Rouviole 2007 Coup de Théatre, Minervois (Syrah) - 100% Syrah in fact, giving nice pure floral spicy cherry fruit; powerful extracted palate yet reasonably well-balanced with it, concentrated vs firm tight finish still for a 07. Very good although quite pricey at £16.99 (Hallgarten Druitt, UK).
DLR is found in the Minervois La Livinière subzone (although this wine isn’t labelled up / 'classified' as such) and has been owned by the Léonor family since the 1950s, who’ve restored its hillside vineyards over the years to become one of the area’s leading estates. The terrain sprawls over 40 ha in total (100 acres) including swathes of wild scrubland and olive trees as well as vines. Their wines are also available in Germany, Belgium, Canada, Poland, Switzerland, Japan, Singapore. More info @ larouviole.fr.

Domaine Borie de Maurel 2008 Sylla, Minervois (100% Syrah) - ‘reductive’ herby notes/style to start with, tight and firm mouth-feel vs concentrated and nicely textured tannins actually, still young and closed up although promising. Another dear wine though at £27.95 (Terroir Languedoc, UK).
Owned by Michel and Sylvie Escande since 1989, who were also leading lights behind the creation of the La Livinière subzone kick-started in the late 90s, and aided and abetted by son Gabriel. BDM’s 35 ha (85 acres) of vineyards lie on the 'Petit Causse' on the edges of the Montagne Noire hills, some of them up to 300m altitude (1000 feet). They opened their own on-site "bar" in 2008 serving wine by the glass or bottle (theirs naturally) with "Occitan tapas" and home-grown vegetables.
More @ boriedemaurel.fr including poetic words, if you read French, and pretty photos such as "the windmill" above. And click here for notes on the latest BdM vintages and news from Michel:
Languedoc: Minervois, red white rosé 2010 and 2011 (tasting and touring report July 2012).

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