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23 July 2013

Languedoc: Domaine Sainte-Croix update, Corbières

Or the 'Hautes Corbières' as those folk who live up on the real high ground around here like to say, in the sleepy wee village of Fraissé-des-Corbières about a dozen kilometres inland from the La Palme lagoon or a short stretch to the northeast of Embres-et-CastelmaurePrevious words on and wines from Domaine Sainte-Croix on this blog can be found, from 2009 and 2010, HERE with further updates here (Corbières report May 2011) and here (2009 vintage showcase penned June 2010). I talked to owner / grower / winemaker / sales / everything 'team' Jon and Liz Bowen earlier this year at the dazzling premiere (well, the cinema seats were red at least) of Ken Payton's Languedoc wine documentary 'Les Terroiristes du Languedocin downtown Montpellier, which features Jon and Liz among a dozen like-minded small estate wineries, and at Millésime Bio organic trade show the next day. Including a touch of sampling, goes without saying, their newly released 2011s mostly that, in line with this vintage generally speaking in the south, were fresh, elegant, somewhat closed up and not looking very approachable then; needing more time to express themselves but a promising year perhaps, subtle rather than blockbuster...

Liz & Jon Bowen from facebook.com/LesTerroiristesDuLanguedoc
2011 La Serre white (Grenache blanc & gris) - nutty appley notes with lightly oxidized edges, a tad too 'volatile' and tart in the end. I've liked this white much more in previous vintages (see links at the top).
2011 Rosace des Vents rosé (Carignan, Syrah; 12.5% abv) - rounded 'oily' textured style rosé with subtle red fruits and rose petal notes, rounded vs fresh on its attractive finish.
2012 Aramon (an old, almost disappeared variety) - reductive tones to start, moves on to floral berry and violet notes, juicy and refreshing with nice ripe vs crunchy mouth-feel.
2011 Le Fournas (Carignan, Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre) - funky and chunky layered with ripe blue / black berries, attractive 'fresh' tannins and acidity vs dried berry fruit, tight elegant finish.
2011 Pourboire Nature (Carignan, Syrah) - more baked and savoury on the nose, concentrated palate with fresh undercurrent, a touch lean perhaps but it's subtle and long again.
2011 Carignan old-vine (planted in 1905, plus "a tiny bit" of Grenache and Mourvèdre; tank sample) - savoury vs ripe profile with light oak grain, slightly cooked berry fruits, again it's tight, fresh and very long; rather 'unobvious' when I tried it although intense.
2011 Celèstra (80% Grenache + Mourvèdre; 14.5% abv) - quite rich and fruity with grainy coconut tones, chunky and firm mouth-feel with nice meaty edges, has fair oomph yet still with that elegant touch, closes up on the finish. Should be very good.

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