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Showing posts with label Latour de France. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Latour de France. Show all posts

08 July 2022

Roussillon - the north: 27 reds to knock your socks off (part 1).

This spicy variety of reds features some of my top picks from a Wines of Roussillon tasting in London (in June), and other recommendations from recent wine shopping. These include reds from the 2019, 2020 and 2021 vintages, as well as a few older, more mature and sometimes special bottlings. They were made by different-sized wine producers across the northern Roussillon - Les Pyrénées Orientales is the département name - or 'French Catalonia' as I coined in the subtitle of my book on the region.

22 August 2013

Roussillon: Domaine de Sabbat, Latour de France


Sylvain Lejeune (pic. taken from www.domainedesabbat.fr) founded his own 10 ha (25 acre) estate in 2008, having worked at several wineries in France from Bordeaux to Burgundy to Provence. The vineyards lie in different spots on very varied terrain - schist, marl and clay-chalk soils - near the brooding villages of Maury, Tautavel and Vingrau across the wildly pretty Agly Valley; Sylvain's winery/cellar and home are in nearby Latour de France though. He claims to follow organic regulations but isn't certified (time yet to put on that straight-jacket), and he makes a red Rivesaltes Grenat VDN style and a rosé too. The 'Spring 1900' label refers to a small plot of senior citizen LLadoner Pelut, a Catalan variety closely related to black Grenache, used for this particular red blend. And let's not forget helping-hand Pilou the dog, aka 'Doudou', who's apparently "priceless when it comes to making decisions..." € prices are online for delivery in France.

2011 white Côtes du Roussillon (mostly Grenache gris, Grenache blanc & Macabeu; fermented and aged in cask for 12 months) - fairly toasty yet has exotic fruit too, rounded nutty palate, quite rich and juicy with creamier side then an elegant 'mineral' touch to finish. €14
2010 red Côtes du Roussillon Villages (80% old-vine Carignan, 20% Syrah; aged in cask for 8 months plus six in tank) - nice dark 'tar' and liquorice vs crunchy berry, fresh and lively mouth-feel with light grip and a little power too. Attractive style drinking now. €12
2010 Printemps 1900 Côtes du Roussillon Villages (2/3 Grenache & LLadoner Pelut, Syrah & Carignan; 12 months in cask + 6 in tank) - more blackberry/cherry, dark and peppery; chunkier lusher and firmer too, concentrated with attractive tannins; closes up on its promising finish. €16
2009 Printemps '1900' - savoury hints with wild herby/floral character vs dried black fruits, a touch more chocolate oak texture, more powerful; still quite firm and tight with similar concentration. Typical 09 perhaps, less obvious. €16

10 January 2013

Roussillon: Château de Gaure part 1

This kind-of Roussillon estate kind of in Latour is actually a collection of vineyard plots spread across the varied village sites of Latour, Estagel, Calce and Cassagne; bought by Pierre Fabre who owns the real Château de Gaure (acquired in 2004) over the hills in Aude country between Limoux and Carcassonne. Drawn in by the Roussillon's rugged hypnotic charms, as many new investors and settlers are here, Pierre decided to buy and create a second vineyard bearing his name a couple of years later, to produce primarily red wines (although there's some Macabeu and Carignan blanc mixed in with the 'black' varieties) to supplement the all-white range he makes up in Rouffiac d'Aude. This 'expansion' brought the total area under vine to 32 ha/80 acres, certified organic since 2010. Pierre also works closely with his winemaker Marc Bertrand and consultant JA Bloc.

From www.chateaudegaure.com
Their 'Pour mon Père' cuvée is a slightly different blend each year depending on the vintage, although always based on old Carignan, Grenache, Syrah & Mourvèdre. Which is probably one reason why they use the 'Vin de France' moniker, although, if it's made and bottled in Limoux (there isn't a cellar in the Roussillon), they're probably not allowed to call it Cotes du Roussillon or Latour de France anyway! Pierre's an accomplished artist too, hence his labels feature colourful reproductions of certain of his favourite paintings. He seems keen on showing people around the winery; in the Aude at least, there's nothing but lovely old vines and pretty backdrops in 66 country... Contact him on 04 68 10 63 89 or 06 43 47 36 85 if you're touring the area, or email pierre.fabre@skynet.be.

2010 Macabeu white – intriguing Fino-esque 'oxidative' edges and attractive nutty flavours/bite, subtle richness and texture too with aromatic honeyed characters underlined by toasty oak tones and crisp acidity as well. Good+
2009 Pour mon Père red (Latour) – lush ripe dark fruit with 'funky' edges vs crunchier 'mineral' side; nice balance of grip, power and freshness too. Good to very good. €15
2009 Aldérica red (mostly Mourvèdre) – toasted and grainy coconut notes, peppery and structured palate, closes up on a tight firm finish. Needs a bit of time to come out of its shell.

Château de Gaure part 2 with words and white wines from Pierre's Limoux vineyards...

08 October 2012

Roussillon: Latour de France open-day 11 November

Sounds like a taste-tastic day out, where you can sample wines from and talk to 14 estate winemakers/owners (most of them organically inclined actually) in the picturesque setting of ye olde village of Latour de France on Sunday 11th November (it's not too far from Perpignan). €5 entry fee gets you a special tasting glass (you can keep it) and access to all these cellars; there's an evening meal with wine laid on too for €25, which you have to book in advance. More info on their Facebook page. The gig includes these wineries (highlighted means a link to profile on this blog): Domaine Tribouley, Domaine de Sabbat, Domaine Rivaton, Domaine Respaut, Domaine des Mathouans, Domaine Giocanti, Domaine Fabresse, Domaine Calimas, Domaine de Bila Haut (Michel Chapoutier), Domaine de la Balmière, Domaine de l'Ausseil and Clos du Rouge Gorge. Best done on foot or by bike or on horseback perhaps...

21 August 2012

Roussillon: Domaine Jean Louis Tribouley, Latour de France

Jean Louis Tribouley
Jean Louis Tribouley
From Weygandt Wines site
I've bumped into Jean Louis a few times over the years at various tastings and goings-on in the area, but most recently in Montpellier at the 2012 edition of Millésime Bio wine show and the Real Wine Fair in London. These charming encounters reminded me what tireless enthusiasm he has for his wines, what he does to create them and this way of life. Smiley easy-going JL started up his own estate about ten years ago, after a stint working for Gauby as seems to be the fashion as some kind of almost mandatory 'real-wine' apprenticeship for several of the region's best growers, or best-known at least.
Jean Louis decided to farm his vines and grapes organically from the word go – how could you not having spent time with Gérard Gauby, who wouldn't tolerate anything else! - and is also keen on applying biodynamic methods, as well as a 'low-or-no' sulphite rationale. His 14 ha (35 acres) of vineyards are spread out between fairly remote spots in Latour, Maury and Calce. The most recent acquisition was a few mixed plots of elderly Grenache gris and Macabeu used for his white wines; and most of the reds are based on a healthy dollop of sexy old-vine Grenache and/or Carignan. US distributor is Weygandt Wines (Washington DC) or K&D Wines (NYC), and Indigo Wine in London. There's no website/blog, but you could try emailing on jean-louis.tribouley@orange.fr. Or if you want to call in: 9 Place Marcel Vie, 66720 Latour de France; tel. 04 68 29 03 86.


2011 white (Grenache gris, Macabeu; unfinished sample) – a touch of toasted oak underlined by exotic banana and pineapple fruit, yeast lees edges bring out its attractive quite rich vs crisp and tight features. Good stuff.
2010 Marceau white Côtes Catalanes (mostly Macabeu grown on schist soil) – similar profile to above but creamier/buttery and layered with unusual flowery notes, minty even; rich vs crisp palate, very good actually.
2010 Les Copines Côtes du Roussillon (Grenache, Carignan) – intense and 'inky'/rustic nose with rich vs crunchy fruit profile, turning to enticing leather vs liquorice notes, concentrated spicy finish with a touch of dry grip. Good.
2009 L'Alba Côtes du Roussillon (Carignan, Grenache, Syrah) – reduced/awkward nose, moves on to roasted red pepper hints vs very dark fruit and lightly toasty chocolate tones; quite wild and powerful with underlying lush intense finish, again shows a quirky mix of rustic-edged, peppery and charred almost (but it's not the oak)! Exciting though. US $20.
2009 Les 3 Lunes Côtes du Roussillon Villages – a touch 'finer' with the same kind of attractive ripe dark vs spicy and earthy mix, again concentrated and intense on its long finish. Very good+.
2009 Cuvée 1901 – quite rustic, wild and/or 'bretty' but has lovely intense roasted 'garrigue' characters too; not so sure this one's for me but...

Tribouley tasted and talked about previously on this blog:
Roussillon trip 2005 (including his 2003 Alba).
Probably more to follow...

23 July 2012

Roussillon: Domaine de l'Ausseil update, Latour de France

Latour de France overlooking Grenache gris vines  Domaine de L'Ausseil
Latour de France watching over old Grenache gris vines
Domaine de L'Ausseil
Previous wines and words on Domaine de l'Ausseil can be found here (April 2007 and April 2009). Owner/grower/winemaker Jacques de Chancel was, as sure as flowering follows budding, at the 2012 vintage version of Millésime Bio wine fair (held in Montpellier earlier this year) with the latest vintages gleaned from about 10 organic ha (25 acres) of mostly old vines scattered around the handsome timeless village of Latour de France (photo). Among other things, Jacques told me that, in addition to organic-only treatments in their vineyards, he's also focusing on using "very little - less than 10 milligrams per litre - or no SO2" (sulphites in winemaking: without wanting to get too chemical, 10mg/l is roughly 10% or less of what could be in a 'regular' bottle, depending on the wine/winemaker). €uro prices below are cellar door (in France obviously) to give you an indication: more info @ www.lausseil.com.

2011 P'tit Piaf white - very Muscaty with orange peel vs floral grapey notes, ripe and rounded vs crisp and juicy. Nice easy style. €6.50
2011 P'tit Piaf rosé (Mourvèdre, Grenache, Syrah) - zingy 'mineral' touches with yeast-lees undertones, crisp dry finish. Nice style again. €6.50
2010 Papillon (Grenache gris/blanc, Macabeu, Muscat) - rich nose with complex 'volatile' edges, lovely spicy vs honeyed palate with lush and lees-y vs intense 'mineral' finish. Very good dry white. €13
2008 La Capitelle Côtes du Roussillon Villages Latour de France (Carignan, Syrah, Grenache) – lush vs savoury style red, again has that intriguing wilder side and lovely concentrated fruit; developing quite fast but it's still very good. €9.50
2007 Les Trois Pierres Côtes du Roussillon Villages Latour de France – reductive/herby vs ripe and aromatic Syrah dominant profile (?), meaty and concentrated with chunky tannins, developing complex flavours with powerful finish. Lovely red. €14
2011 Prise de Bec red (Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre) – lively black cherry/berry and cassis to start, soft vs dry texture, attractive quaffer finishing with peppery liquorice notes.
2011 Du Vent dans les Plumes(Carignan based) – quite rustic / bretty even (?) and spicy, although the former works here thanks to its rich vs crunchy mix of flavours and textures; concentrated too with thick yet supple tannins. Very good actually despite that initial nose.

01 April 2009

Roussillon: Domaine de l'Ausseil, Latour de France

Latour de France overlooking Grenache gris vines, Domaine de L'Ausseil
Latour de France overlooking Grenache gris vines
 Domaine de L'Ausseil
First of all, a few words to accompany Anne and Jacques de Chancel's inspiring bird- and bug-labelled (designed by Anne) wines. The 'company flyer' (a more than adequate A4 photocopy actually) begins thus: "Searching for a spot of terrain to make wines we like, we landed, almost by chance, in January 2001 in Latour de France..." Can't blame them, it's beautiful and very northern-Roussillon around here: a dry fractured rocky patchwork of windswept old vineyards.
Talking of which, nearly half of Ausseil's (means bird in Occitan - this area marks the ancient border between Catalan and Oc country) 12.5 ha/30 acres is planted with 70-100 year old Carignan; followed by Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Grenache Gris, Macabeu and some Merlot too. 2007 marked the beginning of the quest for organic certification, as they were already in to working the soil (instead of drenching it in nasty chemicals) and using natural compost (smelly but effective).
This first lot of wines were tasted at the Fenouillèdes wine show, held in April 2007 in Tautavel:
2005 Libellule vin de pays des Côtes Catalanes blanc (mostly Macabeu) - interesting appley intensity leads to a rounder creamier palate, mineral freshness v quite fat mouth-feel. €8 87+
2005 Papillon vin de pays des Côtes Catalanes blanc (mostly Grenache Gris) - spicier and honeyed, milky edges on a quite crisp and fresh length; lots of character and style, a tad of light oak but well-handled. €14 90
2005 P'tit Piaf rosé vin de pays des Côtes Catalanes (Mourvèdre) - fresh and aromatic yet meaty too v raspberry and cream fruit, zingy structured length. €4.90 87+
2004 Cot Côtes Côtes du Roussillon rouge (mostly Carignan) - perfumed and floral nose leads to a quite rustic soupy palate, rich with appealing fruit and light grip; a little too smoky in style but still good. €7 87
2004 La Capitelle, Latour de France Côtes du Roussillon Villages (Carignan Syrah Grenache) - tighter finer wine, lush yet floral black cherry and liquorice, nice peppery edges, firm fresh finish. €8 90-92
2003 La Capitelle, Latour de France Côtes du Roussillon Villages (Carignan Syrah Grenache) - more fruit forward than the 04 with violet and black cherry notes, liquorice v savoury palate, dry firm and powerful suffused with rich maturing fruit. €8 90
2004 Les Trois Pierres, Latour de France Côtes du Roussillon Villages (50% Syrah) - 100% barriques and it shows: more toasted chocolate on the nose, quite extracted and choco palate yet lush and firm; dry finish, closes up. €14 89-91
2003 Les Trois Pierres, Latour de France Côtes du Roussillon Villages (50% Syrah) - attractive herbal black cherry aromas, the oak is much more in the background, again solid framework v lush fruit. €14 90
2003 Drôle d'Oiseau, Latour de France Côtes du Roussillon Villages - rather barrel heavy, charred extracted palate, a bit too much. €24!


Spring/summer 2009 update: I caught up with Jacques in the lovely village hall in Tautavel, host to the groovy Fenouillèdes wine fair in April 2009. A few of his latest vintages ran as follows:
2007 Papillon white - still floral and zesty vs nutty creamy flavour/texture, fresh acidity vs fatter side on the finish. 85-87
2007 du Vent dans les Plumes Côtes du Roussillon Villages - very peppery menthol notes, spicy and intense; quite rustic too moving on to liquorice fruit vs power and fairly soft tannins to finish. 87
2005 La Capitelle Latour de France - smoky and meaty with dark plum fruit underneath, again peppery turning more savoury and leathery; power and grip vs melting tannins and rich fruit. 89-91
2005 Les Trois Pierres Latour de France - oily "vinous" nose and body vs tighter firmer mouthfeel than above; again shows nice "sweet & savoury" development vs juicier fruit too, fine grained tannins even if quite stonky. €14 90+?


LATEST AUSSEIL VINTAGES AND NEWS HERE (update July 2012).


18 Boulevard Carnot, 66720 Latour de France. Tel: 04 68 29 18 68 / 06 76 81 03 48, chancelj@free.fr, www.lausseil.com.

Roussillon: Domaine de la Balmière, Latour de France

I first met Laurent Marquier back in very cold January 2005 (and has been every winter since, it feels like...) - see below below for my previous tasting notes on his wines - when we lovingly trampled over a peaceful little spot on his wild vine-land. He and his wife Claudia now farm 14 hectares (35 acres) spread around the old-as-time village of Latour de France. I've tried Laurent's wines a couple of times since, most recently at the Fenouillèdes wine show in April 2009 and in November 2010, and the message is pretty consistent: he's making some quite exciting wines! Here they are:
2007 white (both Muscats) - turning quite oily, mineral and nutty vs lively citrus still; quite concentrated with maturing complex finish, not very "Muscaty" and all the better for it. 87+
2005 Tradition Latour de France Côtes du Roussillon Villages (Syrah Mourvèdre Carignan Grenache) - smoky and developed with lush fruit vs herbal edges, attractively "soupy" and spicy with a bit of grip on the finish; nice now actually. 87+
2006 Espoir - similarly smoky nose but finer and more concentrated, peppery too with plenty of character, fruit and chunky tannins; nice black olive / spicy finish, good stuff. 89
Latest note on that wine HERE (Nov 2010).

2005 Latour de France (mostly Syrah) - more balsamic with dark olives and a touch of wood spice vs rich smoky fruit; again dry and firm texture vs big rounded mouthfeel, complex with "sweet & sour" finish. 90+
2008 Tradition (tank sample) - delicious berry fruit vs chunky rich tannins, very promising.
2008 Latour  (from barrique) - similar lush fruit with vanilla overtones not surprisingly, very solid palate but "sweet" tannins and very peppery; yum.


And a few earlier vintages, tasted in May 2006 (click here for more wines from that show):
2005 Muscat sec - very lively mineral style with crisp citrus fruit v lightly rounded finish. 87
2005 Côtes du Roussillon rosé - floral white peach and redcurrant fruit, attractive dry finish and length. 87
2005 Latour de France CdRV (1/4 each of Grenache Carignan Syrah Mourvèdre) - lovely peppery ripe black fruits and olive, firm dry mouth-feel with generous rounded texture. Promising. 88-90

And in 2005 (more on that here):
2003 Latour de France - Smoky and rustic offering attractive fruit, good concentration and lingering balanced grip. 89-91

2004 Muscat - a bit closed on the nose, gummy extract with crisp citrus depth. 87

La Balmière, Route de Montner "El Mouli", 66720 Latour de France. Tel: 04 68 29 00 04 / 06 77 91 88 15, www.domainedelabalmiere.com.

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