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20 March 2013

Roussillon: Le Bout du Monde, Lansac

Edouard Laffitte was a co-op winemaker in Estézargues (a wee town between Avignon and Nimes) before he bought six or seven disparate hectares of vines at “the end of the world” as he calls it - the name of the estate that is, rather than some mythical spot evoked by Wim Wenders' movie or U2's title song from it - near Lansac, which is found a few kilometres southwest of Maury down the meandering little road heading towards Trilla or Caramany. Edouard has three granite-laden plots here in Lansac in fact - where he shares the former co-op cellar bought by Loïc Roure of Domaine du Possible (profile to follow) - two nestling on that much talked-about flaky schist characteristic of the Rasiguères area (and said to work especially well for Syrah), and nearly two more near Cassagnes a little further south peppered with trickier to pronounce 'gneiss' (“gn...” rather than “nice” I believe: it's a kind of striped metamorphic rock, man). These plots lie at from 150 to 400 metres (500 to 1300 feet) altitude, which helps lend a slightly cooler edge to those hot summer days and nights and hence “limit the alcohol,” as Edouard states is his aim on his website domaineleboutdumonde.sitew.com (where I took the photo from); and the vineyards are organically farmed. Apparently the wines aren't fined or filtered, as is fashionable perhaps in 'natural' circles, but this non-technique doesn't appear to have done any harm to the wines I've tried.
His London area distributor is Les Caves de Pyrène, and the wines are also available from e.g. Ellis Wharton Wines in Cornwall. A US importer is Selection Massale in California. Where to find him in situ: 13 Avenue des Platanes, 66720 Lansac. Mobile 06 77 50 94 22, edouard.laffitte@laposte.net

2011 L'Echappée Belle (Syrah) – peppery and 'inky' with cherry and liquorice notes, fruity palate with soft tannins, nice pure and spicy style.
2011 Tam Tam Côtes du Roussillon (mostly Syrah from schist + Carignan/Grenache) – richer and more intense with more liquorice than pepper flavours, firmer mouth-feel yet still has attractive tannins and tasty youthful fruit. UK £15
2011 Hop' La (Carignan, Grenache, Syrah) – 'tarter' and tighter profile initially with lively palate and nice fruit showing quite dark vs savoury vs spicy finish. US $18
2011 L'Ecume des Jours (Lladoner Pelut, Carignan) – again it's lively and spicy with sweet vs tart fruit mix, less expressive on the finish mingling lush vs bitter twist. Not so obvious. US $19
2011 Avec le Temps (Carignan) – spicy blueberry fruit, fresh bite and length vs sweeter liquorice side, spicy quite intense finish.
2009 La Luce Côtes du Roussillon (mostly Grenache) – more developed with 'volatile' tones, quite rich and concentrated with peppery punchy mouth-feel, attarctive 'sweet/savoury' finish and length.

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