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Showing posts with label Pic Saint Loup. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pic Saint Loup. Show all posts

21 February 2014

Languedoc & Roussillon: "wines of the mo"

Picked out from a South of France (goes to 'Sud de France Top 100' site, some of these wines were competition winners) tasting I did a few weeks ago for the www.niwsi.co.uk in Belfast, these wines were probably my favourite half-dozen from an interesting and diverse line-up, just for the pure pleasure of plonking a few tasty words out there in the blogosphere...

Domaine Denois 'Sainte Marie' Limoux blanc 2010 (single site "high-altitude" Chardonnay, barrel-fermented/aged) - the best of the three whites we tasted, I found it pretty much as I remembered it as per this note here (including more info on JL Denois and the wine). Touch of class. €15 cellar door.

Château de Cazeneuve 'Cynarah' Pic Saint-Loup 2011 (Cinsault, Syrah, Grenache) - attractive juicy ripe black cherry and liquorice fruit, soft tannins and rounded mouth-feel with a touch of earthy spice and mint. £12.95 the Wine Society. Previously on Cazeneuve.

Domaine Modat 'Comme Avant' Côtes du Roussillon Villages Caramany 2010 (Grenache, Syrah, Carignan from some of the oldest vines; half of it aged in new oak for 16 months) - a popular choice, I've already reviewed it here where you'll find more about the producer too. Nice mouthful of Med red, a tad expensive though. James Nicholson £14.95 / €21.80.

Pic by Ros Wilson
Château de Lastours 'Grande Réserve' Corbières 2008 (Syrah, Carignan, Grenache, Mourvèdre: oldest vine selection 30 to 40 y.o; 75% of the blend aged 1 year in French oak) - attractive maturing smoky savoury and dried fruit side vs concentrated and still fairly firm structure, well balanced too. c. €18. More Lastours here.

Laurent Miquel 'Bardou' Saint Chinian 2008 Grande Cuvée (mostly Syrah from selected sites on the Cazal Viel estate, 14 months in French oak - 55% new) - another pretty serious red I'd tasted previously (goes to my special supplement on St Chinian inc. profile on Miquel and notes on several wines), showing a fair bit of oak but it's concentrated and structured with nice fruit. £16 Excel Wines, €20.99 Dunnes.

Domaine Cazes Rivesaltes ambré 2000 (100% Grenache blanc fortified to 16% abv, aged 7+ years in old tuns, 118 g/l residual sugar) - classic style with enticing oxidized walnut/pecan notes, complex flavours with nice sweet vs tangy and savoury finish and a bit of 'cut'. Liberty Wines approx retail £15 half-bottle. Lots more old Cazes here.

31 December 2012

Languedoc: Château La Roque update

The 2011 vintage is the first "officially" organic at this now quite famous Pic-Saint-Loup estate: click here to view profile (written a few years ago), those latest 2011 white, red and rosé wines sampled and reviewed, plus links to previous stuff featuring older vintages too...

31 March 2012

Languedoc: Clos des Augustins, Pic Saint Loup

While browsing through my long-lost 'little red book' (it is, velvety too) recently containing a fair chunk of last year's tasting notes scribbled on the hoof, I was surprised to rediscover these wines from leading Pic Saint Loup estate Clos des Augustins, which never saw the digital light of day. Until now, that is. Augustins is owned and run by the Mézy family with son Frédéric (hence "le gamin" below meaning kid) now in charge, whose efforts have led to the vineyards becoming officially certified organic this year. He’s also been implementing some biodynamic measures to soil and vines, which have almost reached 30 ha (75 acres) in undulating surface area spreading around the wee village of Saint Mathieu de Tréviers. There are some nice pics @ closdesaugustins.com in one of those Flash slideshows that you can't copy from!

2010 Les Bambins white (Marsanne, Roussanne) - nice creamy lees-edged style vs tighter crisper palate and closing up on the finish (should be drinking well now though). Good.
2010 Joseph white (Chardonnay, Marsanne, Roussanne) - was still quite toasty when I tried it, although rich and juicy too vs more structured finish; very promising, needing 6+ months in bottle to open up.
2010 Les Bambins rosé (Cinsault, Grenache) - attractive zesty ‘Provence’ style rosé, has fair extract vs zing with long perfumed finish. Delicious quaffer.
All these reds are appellation Pic Saint Loup:
2010 Les Bambins (Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre) - bright cherry and spicy liquorice with subtle wild herby side, good fruit vs light grip, fairly tight finish showing nice concentration too. Good stuff.
2009 Le Gamin (Syrah, Grenache) - spicy and rustic hints with ripe dark fruit and minty edges, more savoury and firmer mouth-feel with big/long finish; wow, very good.
2006 Sourire d’Odile (Syrah, Grenache) - maturing meaty leather tones, solid concentrated palate with again minty flavours then turning more ‘sweet/savoury’, still quite tight with attractive acidity/tannins vs maturing fruit. Lovely.
2006 L’Ainé (mostly Syrah) - a touch more oak suffused with savoury notes, pretty dense and extracted yet has a lot of substance, still seems young really with those big grainy rounded tannins vs lovely depth of fruit underneath. Towards excellent.

Clos des Augustins wines featured previously on this blog: 2004 and 2003(“Languedoc & Roussillon top wines over €10 tasting” posted 2007), 2008(“Languedoc vintage report” posted 2009). Which confirm this winery has been "delivering" (to use marketing babble) high quality over the years and continues to do so!

18 July 2011

Languedoc: Mas Bruguière, Pic Saint Loup

Guilhem, Isabelle, Xavier and Majorie Bruguière’s serenely nurtured 12 hectares (30 acres) and wine cellar are found down the road from Domaine de l’Hortus not far from the village of Valflaunès. The family farming and winemaking history goes back to the dawn of time – well, since the 13th Century and the Revolution respectively anyway – and the Bruguière name has become rather cult among Pic Saint Loup and Languedoc aficionados. I tasted these three wines with Xavier at the first ‘natural’ wine fair held in London, meaning they do vines organically, naturally (ho ho), and "prefer not to fine or filter" their quite sublime wines, it has to be said. See right-hand column for more on 1-2-3 ratings/rantings. UK importer: Yapp Brothers. mas-bruguiere.com
Photo = Xavier and Majorie Bruguière.

2010 Les Mûriers white Coteaux du Languedoc (Roussanne, Marsanne) – fresh and tight style vs milky edges and apricot fruit, nice texture and refreshing length. £12.50 2
2009 L’Arbouse red Pic Saint Loup (Syrah, Grenache) – lovely spicy cherry and cassis fruit, peppery vs ‘sweet’ profile with dry yet nicely textured tannins, tight fine finish. £11.50 2
2008 La Grenadière red Pic Saint Loup (65% Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre) – similar floral spice notes and tightly textured tannins, more intense though and firmer too, tasty elegant and long. £16.50 2-3
More Pic St. Loup here, or find other PSL estates by browsing the winery A to Z (right-hand column).

23 April 2011

Languedoc: Pic Saint Loup

This time, I only tasted red Pic Saint Loup wines (there are PSL rosés too; the whites are classed as AOC Languedoc or vin de pays, don't ask why…) starting with a very mixed bag of half-a-dozen 2008s, which all lacked charm and/or ripeness or substance or were overdone oak-wise, except one wine by usually star winery Château La Roque: their "Cupa Numismae" 2008. And these reds are mostly expensive too, which brings out the cynic in me regarding PSL's perceived trendy status and convenient location close to Montpellier, i.e. where all the money is in the Languedoc! Moving on to 2009, well, this tasting table included a couple more attention-grabbing reds and, overall, this vintage was looking better although also more difficult to taste with a few of the line-up not showing much at all, as I noticed with the 2009s from other areas. As for 2010, taking a flyer on three samples noted here, it looks like one to watch; looking forward to trying many more 2010s next year!

RMJ lurking behind Lincoln S in the bush hat, pretending to do some exercise. Photo by Ryan O from facebook.com/lovethatlanguedoc
This is the next instalment in a continuing series of reports and winery profiles drawn from five intensive days spent at the “Languedoc Millésimes” tastings in the region (21-25 March 2011). We also met and talked to a few PSL winemakers and tried the odd bottle of their older vintages too. Jean Orliac of Domaine de l’Hortus led our merry band on a well-earned, hearty and occasionally verging on dangerous hike out in the field (see photo with yours truly lurking in the background). We trekked a little up and along the edge of part of the eponymous peak itself and the Hortus massif on the other side of the valley, where you get an inspiring view of a meandering slice of the PSL appellation and the lie of the land, sandwiched as it is between these two extended wild rocky limestone cliff-faces. It’s a beautiful spot for a concerted bit of ‘wine tourism’, with several good wineries packed into this rugged landscape lying less than 20km to the north of Montpellier. There are also organised walking trails and food & wine events, as well as a directory of places to stay and eat in the area on www.pic-saint-loup.com

I’ve used my ‘new-fangled’ scoring system of one, two or three ‘ticks’ (good, very good, fabulous); or just plain 1 to 3 for the wines below. Euro prices are cellar door per bottle inc. taxes, added after the event.
Château La Roque "Cupa Numismae" 2008 (65% Syrah, 35% Mourvèdre; converting to organic/biodynamic) - maturing savoury notes on a dark cherry backdrop, quite subtle although has a cetain lush side vs grainy texture and light grip, elegant length vs power. Nice 2008. 2 €15
Château La Roque "En Garde" 2008 (85% Mourvèdre, 15% Grenache) - light grainy oak vs maturing 'sweet & savoury', lightly leafy / cedary; bit more extracted than above, is quite concentrated but just less charming. €28
Domaine les Grandes Costes 2008 (Syrah/Grenache) - red pepper dominates the nose and palate, unripe or reductive? Bitter finish. €17.50
Bergerie du Capucin "Larmanela" 2008 (Syrah/Grenache) - complex maturing herby cherry nose, again very firm and heavy-handed on the palate. €17.80
Domaine Desvabre "Prestige" 2008 (Syrah/Grenache/Carignan) - a bit lean. €8
Mas de L'Oncle "Les Amours" 2008 (Syrah/Grenache/Cinsault) - oak masking a rather lean and hard wine. €11
Domaine Saint Daumary "Asphodele" 2008 (Syrah, Grenache, Carignan, Mourvèdre) - has a bit more to it but still oak heavy. €15 
Château de Lancyre "Vieilles Vignes" 2009 (65% Syrah/35% Grenache) - dark and brooding nose, delicious sweet herbs and black cherry, minty and peppery too, pretty firm vs lush depth of fruit. 2-3. Much better value too at €9.50 vs the quality.
Château de Lascaux 2009 (60% Syrah/40% Grenache; organic) - nice pure fruit and spicy notes, firm mouth-feel but quite nice tannins, dry vs sweet profile, power and good length. 1-2 €9
Château de Lascaux 2009 ?? (no more info available) - mintier perhaps, firmer grip, more difficult to taste.
Vignerons de la Gravette "Tourtourel" 2009 (65% Syrah/35% Grenache) - quite simple fruity then grippy.
Bergerie du Capucin 2009 "Dame Jeanne" (55% Syrah, 30% Grenache, 15% Mourvèdre) - quite savoury/meaty nose, turns sweeter with black cherry, again firm tannins vs bit of punch. 1 €9.80
Domaine Desvabre 2009 (80% Syrah/20% Grenache) - not much nose, quite nice fruit with minty edges, some oily texture vs firm but rounded, quite nice fruit flourish to finish. 1 €6
Domaine de la Salade Saint Henri 2009 "Aguirre" (SGM) – gets the prize for most entertainingly bizarre producer name, but the wine was too oaky and extracted for me. €15
Château L'Euzière 2009 - sweetish fruit vs oak and solid tannins, lacks charm. Disappointing for them.
Domaine de Villeneuve "Fol Envie" 2009 (80% Syrah/20% Grenache) - heavy bottle, heavy oak! Bit charred, probably is some rich fruit underneath but at the moment it’s not expressing itself... 

Les Coteaux du Pic "Les Déesses Muettes" 2010 - attractive enough fruit vs grip and nice texture, lacks a bit of flavour perhaps but is young and closed up. 1 €6
Ermitage du PSL "Guilhem Gaucelm" 2010 - nice perfumed pure spicy black cherry Syrah nose, juicy and chunky with attractive tannins vs seductive ‘sweet/savoury’ fruit. 1
La Roque 2010 - perfumed, quite concentrated and structured, power grip and lush dark fruit, closes up. Promising. 2-3
Other vintages/wines
Ermitage du PSL "Guilhem Gaucelm" 2003 red – rich smoky maturing truffle-y nose and palate, mature now really and a bit soupy/leathery, but nice enough old-fashioned style. 1
Ermitage du PSL “Sainte-Agnes” 2008 white – milky and toasty showing light oak although well done; quite fat, rich, honeyed and weighty, lacks a bit of freshness but quite attractive food white anyway. 1
Mas de Martin “Cuvée Ultreia” 2004 (14.5%) – not convinced they’re in PSL but pretty close to it anyway, this was a rather classy 2004 (an overlooked/shadowed vintage at first, now beginning to show well in a classic way, balanced and tasty rather than “great” or “impressive”). Lovely nose, maturing vs inky/leafy tones, nice liquorice vs crunchier fruit and firmer fresher finish vs drinking well now. 2

01 February 2010

Languedoc: Clos Marie, Pic-Saint-Loup

Clos Marie

This intriguing little number also appears under "wines of the moment," winter 2010. Tempting enough to go and find out more about this quite cult estate the next time I head up to "wolf peak," north of Montpellier...
2006 Cuvée l'olivette Pic-Saint-Loup (Grenache, Syrah,Mourvèdre) - smoky and lush showing nice depth and weight, pretty chunky tannins adding dry texture and bitter twist/bite; fair oomph and grip vs dark cherry liquorice and tobacco, needs a year or so to come together fully. Turns a tad rustic and leather-tinged with very firm framework, but its solid trad Languedoc style seduces you in the end. A bit dear though @ €12.50. 88

Latest on Pic-Saint-Loup (report April 2011).

13 October 2007

Languedoc: Château La Roque, Pic-Saint-Loup

Updated Dec 2012 - see below.

The elegantly imposing country château is the first thing that hits you coming up the dusty gravelly drive: it is indeed made from rock, although the estate's actually named after an eponymous 13th Century noble family. Old rock too: the tasting cellar vault is part of a restored, former Medieval post-house, I'm told. La Roque is a long-standing ambassador for the Pic-Saint-Loup appellation, which is found not far north of Montpellier scattered around its namesake peak (650 metres/2000 feet high), although the Languedoc capital feels a long way off given how quickly the terrain transforms into untamed scrub-land and pointy cliff-faces.

La Roque's specialities include their often superb Cuvée Mourvèdre, a challenging variety in this area but rewarding in certain sites in the right hands*; Syrah-based Cupa Numismae and Clos des Bénédictins, an unusual barrel fermented white. The property was taken over by Jacques and Marion Figuette in late 2006 (I didn't have the cheek to ask them how much €...), who sensibly appear happy not to make any major changes and have kept prices fairly reasonable, for such a sought-after name: €7 to €13 a bottle across the range.
*Previous owner Jack Boutin planted 9 ha/22 acres (out of 42) of Mourvèdre, which faces due south on steep pebbly terraces at approx. 200 m/650 ft altitude. Another local Mourvèdre fan is Jean Orliac at Domaine de l’Hortus (Valflaunès), who has 11 ha ("and increasing" as he told me back in 2005) in one similarly elevated vineyard sitting smack-bang between Pic St-Loup and Mont de l’Hortus.*

I tasted these Ch. La Roque wines with Marion Figuette in October 2007:
2005 Tradition blanc (Rolle Roussanne Marsanne) – oily honeysuckle tones, nice texture and maturing fruit v lightly crisp elegant finish. 85-87
2006 Clos des Bénédictins blanc (Rolle Roussanne Marsanne) – toastier and creamier yet very floral with exotic white peach tones; zingy v fat with attractive balance and style. 87-89
2004 Tradition rouge (Syrah Mourvèdre Grenache) – tangy cassis and cherry fruit, lightly creamy palate with firm fresh bite, drinking well now in fact. 85-87
2005 – a touch richer and more concentrated than above with attractive cherry and liquorice fruit, followed by dry grip and good length. 87-89
2003 Cupa Numismae (60% Syrah 40% Mourvèdre) – smoky and slightly animal showing lush dark cherry and blackberry/olive notes, a bit of spicy oak adds texture to a solid firm palate; good balance of ripe v structured and maturing v a few years ahead of it. 89-91
2004 – more fragrant floral and spicy (the Syrah comes out more), more delicate mouth-feel yet still juicy lush and firm with elegant length. 89-91
2005 – closed and chunky, attractive concentration and rounded fruit, powerful tannins at the moment which should unfurl nicely.89-91
2003 Cuvée Mourvèdre (90% plus 10% Grenache) – 'sweet' herbs liquorice and black olive, ripe with resiny development, quite delicate actually (considering the hot vintage) v dry tannins and lovely length. 90-92
2005 – smokier and a tad toastier yet still 'sweet' herbal and liquoricey, delicious fruit concentration and fine tannins on a commanding, mouth-coating finish; yum, give it a couple of years to really shine. 92-94

UPDATE: latest La Roque wines here (PSL report April 2011). 


34 ha (85 acres) of vineyards are now certified organic since vintage 2011, hence these wines below are their first 'official' samples aired and tasted earlier this year at Millésime Bio wine show in Montpellier.

Languedoc Pic Saint Loup
2011 white - nice creamy yeasty edges with exotic fruit notes, aromatic and floral too then crisp fresh finish. Good.
2011 rosé - rose petal aromas with creamy red fruits, quite full and rounded with oily notes and nice fruity vs crisp finish.
2011 red (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre) - enticing aromatic spicy minty fruit, fairly rich and fruity with a meatier side too, concentrated vs softer mouth-feel. Should be good.

Older vintages in this post including 1998, 2001, 2002, 2003 Cuvée Mourvèdre; from a visit in 2005.

Château La Roque, 34270 Fontanès. Tel: 04 67 55 34 47, contact@chateau-laroque.eu, www.chateau-laroque.fr


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