"Buy my book about the Roussillon on Amazon UK in paperback or eBook or black & white version, and Amazon USA: paperback or eBook or black & white. OR BUY IT DIRECT FROM ME (UK & EU only). Also available in the US from Barnes & Noble in hardcover, paperback or eBook. For other countries, tap on the link above the cover (below)." Richard Mark James

17 July 2008

A night in Trouillas

Lunch @ Treloar

Domaine Treloar, located on the edge of the village of Trouillas in the central-southern Roussillon, has teamed up with their neighbour Domaine de la Perdrix to hold a six course 'degustation' dinner on Saturday 9th August. Each course will be matched with a wine produced by either estate, with the added bonus that André Gil at Perdrix was a chef in top Paris and London hotels in a previous life. All in all, sounds like a nice way to try eight different wines with some tasty food while talking to the people who grew and made them. The blurb says: "Aperitifs will commence at André’s cave at 7.30pm, followed by a short walk though the village to our refreshingly cool cave where the meal will be served." Tickets are limited and cost €28 per person booked in advance. For menu details and more information, contact Rachel and Jonathan at www.domainetreloar.com. Treloar is open for tastings, wine sales, tours and lunches on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday afternoons plus also Sunday afternoons throughout July and August; otherwise by appointment.

04 July 2008

New Wave Spanish wine awards 2008

This thought-provoking tasting, held in London in July 2008, was designed as a showcase for the top 100+ Spanish wines deemed award-worthy, which had already been selected from a considerably more marathon taste-off judged by a team of UK trade and press hardened palates. Although there were some great wines here - see my pick below - I have to say I was disappointed. Part of the problem was the perennial difficulty of keeping white, rosé and sparkling wines pleasantly cool in a warm room without killing them off with ice. So some of these styles would probably show better well-chilled with food: e.g. Castillo de Perelada Cava Rosado Brut (usually very fruity, refreshing and quite classy; £8.99); Tesco's 2007 Finest Albariño from Rías Baixas in Galicia, in the northwest (zesty, juicy and elegant; £6.19); or the two Rueda whites from Bodegas Antaño.
As for the reds, I wasn't the only one who found lots of very oaky, over-extracted and unbalanced (too powerful) wines that left me wondering whether some Spanish winemakers have really moved forwards. Especially from the trendy regions of Ribera del Duero, Priorat and up-and-coming Vino de la Tierra areas such as Castilla y León. For example, Abadía Retuerta's 2005 Pago Garduna (impressive competition wine but undrinkable; but I did like their less expensive one, see below), the 2004 Durius Magister (wood and alcohol) or Marqués de Grinon's cult Eméritus 2004 (trying to be grown up but so immature). And a few of the Catalan reds didn't deliver what I'd hoped for. Actually, call me old-fashioned but the best, certainly most enjoyable, reds on tasting were good old charming Rioja (although some quite expensive): so I've done a separate paragraph for those. As for the multitude of different sherries, it's been said before by winey types what high quality and relatively good value you get; but sadly does anybody else drink these unique wines? Hardly 'new wave' though. Anyway, I loved some of them! As ever, the rant is now over and out and, for what it's worth, here's what made the earth move for me.


Key: Producer Wine Grape variety Region - "Awarded..." £UK retail price and agent 100 point scale.

WHITE

Adegas d'Altamira
2007 Brandal
Rías Baixas (13%) - aromatic mix of grape juice and celery; a bit more weight on the palate than some of the others from this region (perhaps the slightly higher alcohol), giving it more length and presence with lively fresh acidity too. £8.99 Oakley Wine Agencies. 87-89
Pazo de Señorans
2003 Selección Añada Rías Baixas (12.5%) - complex greengage flavours enhanced by a very oily Riesling type profile, rounded and mature yet still with firm acidity underneath; it's good and certainly different but £40 a bottle?! Shipped by Vinites. 87-89
Marqués de Murrieta
2003 Capellanía Rioja (13.5%) - mature oxidised Fino sherry notes move on to nutty textured and very dry mouth-feel, intricate lingering flavours; drinking now, I like it but many won't! £14.50 Maisons Marques & Domaines. 89-91

ROSADO

Bodegas Victoria
2007 Pardina Cariñena (13.5%) - delicious strawberry and raspberry fruit, nice juicy v weighty mouth-feel then crisp dry finish; very attractive foodie rosé. £4.99 Anglo Peruvian Trading. 87
Bodegas Santo Cristo
2007 Viña Collado Campo de Borja - more 'serious' and biscuity in style, has a tad of dry tannin even v rich juicy fruit. £5.50 Burridges of Arlington St. 87

RED

Abadía Retuerta
2005 Selección Especial Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y León (14%) - lush blackberry and spice flavours layered with stonky, extracted tannins and rich fruit; but in the end it's balanced showing nice panache. £16.49 Liberty Wines. 89-91
Bodegas Fariña
1998 Gran Colegiata Reserva
Toro (13.5%) - mature savoury mint edged v berry fruit, at its best but has enough of that attractive savoury tobacco fruit and firm tannins to pull it off. £14.25 Bibendum Wines. 89
Jean León
2002 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva Penedés (13.5%) - nice savoury and leather tones with dried cassis fruit (and a tad of old wood?), still firmly structured v mature fruit and quite charming old-fashioned style. £13.95 Bibendum Wines. 87-89
Castaño
2006 Monastrell Yecla (14%) - not a fancy wine but finally, after too many hard woody fiery reds, something with nice black cherry and olive fruit, aromatic v chunky with attractive fruity finish. £5.49 Averys. Value. 87
Bodegas San Marcos
2007 Pilgrimage Mazuelo Extremadura (14%) - wild rustic fruit with black cherry/berry and light leather edges, powerful palate yet nice compensating fruit. £6.99 Guy Anderson Wines. 87
Bodegas Ochoa
2005 Graciano/Garnacha Navarra (13%) - chocolate oak up front, this has nice depth of smoky fruit, firm mouth-feel but it's more generous. "Best red under £10." £8.99 Pol Roger UK. 87-89
Bodegas Julian Chivite
2002 Colección 125 Reserva Navarra (13.5%) - also oaky but there's definitely something going on here, with its compelling herbal smoky tones; pretty rich v solid palate with power, fair class and balance. £20+ Berkmann Wine Cellars. 90

RED RIOJA

Bodegas Palacio
2005 Cosme Palacio (13.5%) - quite oaky and extracted although there's some attractive smoky ripe fruit lurking underneath, tight long finish. £8.49 Antonio Barceló. 89+?
2005 Palacio Crianza (13%) - drinking well now, has nice resin v rustic v vibrant fruit; oily texture yet solid rounded tannins. £6.99 Antonio Barceló. 89
2004 Cosme Palacio Reserva (13.5%) - again oaky and extracted but its pure concentration and depth of fruit win you over; very tight and fresh finish with some underlying class. £12.99 Antonio Barceló. 89-91
Contino
2005 Viña del Olivo (mostly Tempranillo + Graciano 14%) - seductive oak coating but this is rich and concentrated, elegant too despite its punch on the finish; that oak dominates at the moment but this is classy and has plenty of life ahead of it. £45 Hatch Mansfield. 90-92
2001 Viña del Olivo (mostly Tempranillo + Graciano 14%) - complex meaty and 'cheesy', very tasty palate showing class and elegance, maturing v still tight and focused. £45 Hatch Mansfield. 92-94
CVNE
2001 Real de Asúa (14%) - lovely smoky maturing fruit with very light cedar texture; lush v tightly focused mouth-feel, fine acidity and poise too. Yum. £45 Hatch Mansfield. 92-94
Bodegas Luis Cañas
2005 Hiru 3 Racimos
(14.5%) - impressive extracted style although it shows good fruit v very firm dry tannins; a bit of a monster but it's still better balanced than certain wines from certain regions. £60! Alliance Wine. 89
2002 Reserva Especial Amaren (Tempranillo 14%) - cheesy v vanilla oaky v fruity, powerhouse extracted palate, vibrant fruit v grippy tannins; the latter a bit much but overall this has style. "Best red of the show." £25 Laithwaite's. 90-92
Bodegas Viña Herminia
2004 Crianza
(14%) - quite tight and fine with cedar grained texture, revealing nice savoury fruit underneath. £8.49 Michael Hall Wines. 88-90
Bodega Ysios
2004 Reserva (13.5%) - lots of coco and choc oak but this has real class, concentration and power all together; very taut framework of fresh tannins and acidity, needs 5+ years to develop. "Joint best red over £10," so at £14.99 (Pernod Ricard UK has stockist info) better value than some of the dearer ones. 94
Bodegas Roda
2004 Roda I Reserva (14.5%) - attractive and intricate nose with 'cheesy' meaty notes; this is serious stuff with powerful solid mouth-feel v superb depth and class, savoury v liquorice finish; the alcohol is just a bit out of kilter but a great wine (I'd have graded it 95 otherwise). £35 Mentzendorff. 92-94
2004 Roda Reserva (14%) - again has that old-fashioned complex meaty cheesy nose; concentrated and refined palate, finishing firm yet elegant and well balanced. £24 Mentzendorff. 93-95

SHERRY-JEREZ

Bodegas Valdivia
La Rubia Manzanilla - pretty classic style showing fresh toasted almonds; very dry with nice refreshing yeasty tang. £7.50 50cl Laymont & Shaw. 87-89
Sacramonte Oloroso (20%) - Madeira-like intricate, weird and wonderful nose; intense roasted walnuts, super tangy and long although a bit 'hotter' than Lustau's (below). £15. 93
Hidalgo
Tesco Finest Manzanilla Pasada - an aged Manzanilla style, very crisp v oily and nutty with nice bite v weight; different. £6.99. 87-89
La Gitana Jerez Cortado Wellington VOS (17.5%) - 'lighter' alcohol, again nice walnut v almond v yeasty v caramel; dry intense long finish. £20 Mentzendorff. 90+
Lustau
Manzanilla Olorosa - attractive traditional dry Amontillado style with plenty of Brazil nut flavour; good bite and complex long finish. £11.49 37.5cl Laithwaites. 89-91
Waitrose Solera Jerezana Puerto Fino (16.5%) - roasted almonds mingle with an enticingly odd 'cheesy' complexity, a bit wacky; very dry v oily and nutty texture/flavour, delicious actually. "Best own label sherry." £7.49 = value. 90-92
Dry Oloroso (20%) - wow, what incredible flavours; powerful yeasty tangy characters v toasted hazelnuts and caramel; very long developing finish. £17 Laithwaites. 95
Beltran Domecq at Harveys
Fine Old Amontillado VORS (19%) - voluptuous haunting nose, rich and nutty v very dry and alive; lovely style, class and length. "Joint best dry Sherry." £20 Beam Global. 95
Palo Cortado VORS (19%) - caramelised hazel/walnut with fresher almond notes too; tight and tangy palate, once again classy and long v dry and intense. £20. 90+
Sandeman
Royal Esmeralda VOS Dry Amontillado (20%) - richer and more 'caramelised' than above, delicious tangy yeasty flavours set against walnut and Brazil 'sweetness'. £11 Stevens Garnier. 92-94
Fernando de Castilla
Antique Oloroso (20%) - more vanilla and caramel than some of the others; tight, tangy and complex though with enticing roasted nut flavours; also a bit 'hot' but it's very nice. £20 Boutinot. 90

01 July 2008

Delicata Wine Festival Malta

Any wine lovers finding themselves in Malta this summer or looking for an alternative wine-themed holiday, then this might be up your street. All Events Malta are offering (with prices starting at 582 euros perhaps a bit pricey but it sounds pretty deluxe) four or seven day packages from the 7th August 2008, which take in the island's Delicata Wine Festival. Further details from: www.alleventsmalta.com, office@alleventsmalta.com or call 00356 21332505.

16 June 2008

Côtes de Provence: Domaine du Grand Cros


Difficult to resist an email worded like this: "Sturdy young British winemaker, Julian Faulkner, is not afraid to show his feminine side with his 2006 rosé release. In fact this year he is pinker than ever with 6 different rosés on offer. You might think his feminine side (or his big ego) got the better of him, but he wants to take you on a journey of exploration of different styles and tastes for this hot and growing wine colour..." Julian's estate can be found in Carnoules located in the Var 'département' (that's the curved, sticking out bit between Marseille and the French Riviera), which is Côtes de Provence country wine-wise. Check out their site for more info: www.grandcros.fr (which even allows you to choose a Flash - which I find very irritating ("loading... loading...") - or non-Flash experience).
 When I examined the samples they sent more closely (2 of each one), there was something odd about the shades of rosé colour. So I asked the question: "Is it my eyesight or are the two different bottles of Jules and L'Esprit a slightly different shade of pink (one of each appears a little deeper)? But I can't see any difference on the labels - an alternative approach perhaps for those who prefer lighter or richer coloured rosé?!" And their reply was: "That’s exactly it! There’s more Syrah & Grenache, less Cinsault in the deeper colored rosé, whereas there’s more Cinsault and Grenache and less Syrah in the paler rosé. We distinguish them by the Lot Number, which you can spot on the neck of the bottle: LF for the paler and LM for the richer. We reckon the lighter is more aperitif and the other one more food rosé. Locally our clients tend to prefer a lighter rosé." So now you know: commendably quirky if not a tad confusing winemaking ideas... Tasted March/April 07:
 La Maîtresse Brut, sparkling rosé (traditional method 12%) - attractively red-fruity with light almond undertones, appley plus a touch of biscuit; refreshing off-dry finish. 87+
 2006 Jules, Côtes de Provence rosé (paler, Syrah Grenache Carignan Cinsault 13%) - zingy rose petal and redcurrant, light almond and cream v juicy fruit, tight crisp finish. 85-87
 2006 Jules, Côtes de Provence rosé (deeper) - very similar, can you tell the difference apart from the colour? Perhaps slightly fruitier and richer with fuller texture; otherwise dry, tight and zingy. 85-87
 2006 L'Esprit de Provence rosé (paler, Cinsault Grenache Syrah 13%) - juicy yet quite weighty and round v zesty tight finish; fuller, less 'fruity' & oily rose petal palate, seems a tiny tad less dry perhaps? 87
 2006 L'Esprit de Provence rosé (deeper) - zippier with redcurrant and raspberry fruit, oily and weighty v fresh and crisp; more cherry fruit and light tannin too, nice length and mineral texture. 87-89
 2005 Nectar rosé (Mourvèdre Carignan Syrah 13%) - a bit strange, very deep colour; lightly oaky backdrop v rich fruit, dry and crisp v toasty notes; not for everyone, better with food e.g. a spicy fish dish. 87

 Domaine du Grand Cros - update June 2008
 Julian Faulkner recently sent me a selection of new-release 2007 rosés - three differently named cuvées this time so I don't know if he's abandoned the 'variety of shades' winemaking idea (see above for explanation & background on the estate) - along with three of their red wines to try too. So without further ado, here are my notes and ratings for what it's worth. And why not go there and check them out yourselves next time you're cruising around Var country and along the coast? I really must do another Provence rosé tour sometime, on the way to next year's Cannes film festival perhaps if I get nominated for the Palme d'Or... Jules and Grand Cros are distributed in the UK by importer & wholesaler Noel Young wines, so I've included retail prices below in £Sterling. Certain lines are stocked by well-known stores e.g. Selfridges do the Esprit rosé. Contact Julian via the website www.grandcros.fr for US distributors.
 2007 Jules Côtes de Provence rosé (Grenache Cinsault Carignan 12.5%) - attractive pale salmon colour with floral aromatic white peach, redcurrant and gooseberry notes; zesty, very intense palate with crisp fresh bite; quite long, dry and stylish. £6.99 87
 2007 Nectar Côtes de Provence rosé (Syrah Grenache 13%) - similarly zesty aromatic intensity but more red-fruity, raspberry/strawberry-ish and weightier too (and not just because the alcohol's a little higher); quite rich and round-textured v fresh acidity and light bitter bite of tannins, definitely a reasonably 'wow' foodie rosé (e.g. quite good with something as strong as Roquefort & aioli pasta). Wasn't the Nectar a bit oaky before? Perhaps it's seen a barrel to give it that rounded mouth-feel although if so it's subtle. Having said all that, the second day open it had lost the edge off some of its excitement. £8.50 87-89
 2007 L'Esprit de Provence rosé (Syrah Grenache Cinsault 13%) - similar to the other two but more of the gooseberry & redcurrant intensity, with rose petal, violet and crunchy red fruits; very crisp dry bite yet floral and oily textured, quite powerful long and zesty. £7.99 89
 2006 Jules Côtes de Provence red (Grenache Mourvèdre Carignan Syrah 14.5%) - a touch stalky and 'reductive' (?) when first opened, although that went after a day or two; moves on to a creamier cassis palate with light liquorice notes; rather dry, firm and fresh on first tasting finishing a little bitter, although it has weight and some roundness too; softened up with airing and is reasonably elegant despite that quite high alcohol. Not sure, it's kind of fighting itself. £7.29 83-85
 2004 L'Esprit de Provence red (Syrah Carignan 14%) - pity, this bottle was slightly dusty/corky/musty (some of the other wines had plastic corks but not this one), as underneath there's some nice black cherry, cassis and liquorice fruit; smoky and quite lush v firm and fresh structure, showing good balance of fruit, power and elegance despite that lightly dusty finish. Have to try it again. £8.29 89+?
 2004 Jules Réserve red Côtes de Provence (mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, 12 months in French oak, 14.5%) - very attractive smoky cassis fruit with cedary, herby, black cherry and liquorice edges; big chunky solid palate showing good balance of fair alcohol, rich depth of fruit, grippy tannins and bitter/sweet twist; quite austere finish when first opened needing food and a couple more years to soften. £10.75 90-92


30 April 2008

Roussillon: Vignerons Catalans

Purists might well be purposefully tutting, while wondering why I’ve included possibly the largest producer in the Roussillon - it’s between them and the Rivesaltes/Salses cum Arnaud de Villeneuve wine factory, I think. Well, their huge winery certainly isn’t pretty to visit, sitting as it does on an industrial estate on the way into Perpignan; but their wines, and the people behind them, do merit a mention on a populist level. In addition to various bottles bought in local supermarkets and restaurants over the years, my first contact with ‘the people’ was when I tried a number of wines from their broad portfolio over dinner at the Villa Duflot restaurant in Perpignan back in 2006, where the Catalans' then export manager François Trouquet talked about their hopes and dreams.
The funky Fruité Catalan trio, launched in summer 2005 (read on for more info), has apparently sold over 1 million bottles to Sept. 06 and they'd like to exceed 10 million by 2010. Ambitious indeed: François described it as "a mission for the Roussillon" in true Blues Brothers style, even if it wasn't dark and he wasn't wearing sunglasses... To get there, they've ploughed in €4 million in the first year with at least another €5 mill to come.
FC is a "regional project" (forgive the marketing speak) to "help growers here in the Roussillon." There are 60 estates and 4 co-ops involved, who submit samples of the specified wines and then obviously bulk wine for the final blends if selected. As for the wines themselves, I found the 2005s better than the 2004s launched originally: the rosé is nice enough, fresh and crisp with light raspberry fruit; the white has benefited from more Muscat in it and red tastes a bit gutsier. VC are talking to UK supermarket buyers with a view to getting wide distribution at £4.99 or £3.99 on promotion. So we'll see. Peruse my article archive pages on the right to read a more detailed business article ("Roussillon's Identity Parade") published in 2007 including an interview with their Marketing Director, Christophe Palmowski.
Those cunning Catalans also since introduced (autumn 2006) two flowery butterfly, 2006 Primeur wines into French supermarkets (€2.95): see below and under "wines of the moment" (on WineWriting blog) too for other reviews from the stable.


And this is what I said originally about Fruité Catalan (posted 14/6/05): "In contrast, is this the new face of French wine? I stumbled across these wines in a supermarket outside Montpellier - couldn't miss them really, piled high with distinctive yet simple butterfly motif packaging and bright pinky purple capsules and plastic corks. The 'brand' sells here for €2.99, and the producer (Vignerons Catalans near Perpignan) is obviously doing some serious promotion, offering '3 for 2' backed up by billboard advertising. Perhaps this is the way to attract younger people to wine drinking (moderately, of course, given the increasingly draconian laws in France) - uncomplicated presentation and easy wine styles. I think they should make them a bit more interesting - the wines are perfectly OK, just lack a bit of substance..." Notes on the debut launch vintages:
2004 Fruité Catalan red Côtes du Roussillon (12.5%) - Easy drinking soft fruity, Beaujolais-esque style, straightforward summer BBQ red with broad appeal. 80
2004 Fruité Catalan rosé Côtes du Roussillon (12.5%) - Quite weighty restrained strawberry and raspberry fruit, juicy mouthful with dry-ish finish. Probably the best of the three, try with Roquefort risotto. 83
2004 Fruité Catalan white Vin de Pays Catalan (12.5%) - Fresh and zingy, quaffing citrus style, needs a bit more flavour but it's OK as a simple apéro. 80

Here's my pick of the ones we tasted on 4/9/06 in the restaurant mentioned earlier in addition to Fruité Catalan:
1995 Rivesaltes Ambré (16%) - strange choice to start with perhaps (strong and sweet), but this was good with the foie gras (right-off but irresistible)! Toffee and walnut flavours with smoky complex aromas and finish.
2003 Château Cuchous Côtes du Roussillon Villages (13.5%) - mint and spice notes mix with black cherry and earthy liquorice, soft yet powerful palate with rounded fruit and tannins; drinking now. 87+
2001 Caramany Haute Coutume 'Gneiss des Capitelles,' Côtes du Roussillon Villages (Syrah Carignan Grenache  13%) - smoky mint with light red pepper tones, 'cheesy' and intricate; soft and mature yet still has nice dry grip too, making it good with the lamb dish.
2000 Caramany 'Schistes de Trémoine'  Côtes du Roussillon Villages - a little richer and more rustic than above, more developed with soft shorter finish. 87

The 'brand extension' (to use the marketing babble) continues - tasted summer 2007:
2006 Terroir Catalan rosé Côtes du Roussillon (Grenache Syrah Mourvèdre  13%) - nice lively red fruits with light grip even, quite full and satisfying. Good but dear at €4.99. 85
2005 Caramany Côtes du Roussillon Villages (Syrah Carignan Grenache, 13%) - deep purple ("smoke on the water...") black colour, very fruity with white pepper and earthy notes, very light oak backdrop; fairly rich and ripe black & red fruits, firm tight & elegant finish. 87+
2006 Primeur Catalan Syrah-Merlot, vin de pays d'Oc (13%) - pleasant enough, Beaujolais nouveau type - but with more oomph - fruity quaffer; not really my taste, I prefer the white below. 75-80
2006 Primeur Catalan Muscat-Viognier, vin de pays d'Oc (13%) - the latest funkily packaged release from those cunning Vignerons Catalans is very floral and zingy with nice grapey apricot notes, crisp and refreshing; drink it cold "juste comme ça," as the French might say... 83-85

And an April 2008 "wine of the moment":
2007 Rasiguères Côtes du Roussillon Villages (14%) - full-on chunky black fruit and tannins, lively and fruity modern-styled red with liquorice edges, quite serious backbone and dry grip even so. €3.95 87


UPDATE November 2011
Taken from this post on new M&S southern French reds:
2008 Cuvée Extrême Côtes du Roussillon Villages (Syrah, Grenache, Carignan; 14.5%): spicy vs maturing nose, quite rich and big with a touch of 'old wood' grain, powerful and grippy vs sweet / spicy fruit finishing with meaty edges too. That 14.5 alc. is a little hot but this has plenty of flavour to counter it! £9.99 150 stores.

1870 avenue Julien Panchot, BP 29000, 66962 Perpignan Cedex 9. Tel: 04 68 85 04 51, www.vigneronscatalans.com

21 April 2008

Languedoc: Domaine de Martinolles, Limoux

UPDATED May 2012 - see link below.

Domaine de Martinolles

Located roughly between Limoux and Carcassonne outside the village of Saint-Hilaire (the abbey here is said to be where the Blanquette traditional method sparkling style was first conceived), you'll eventually find the Vergnes family's cellar, tasting room and holiday gite at the end of a twisty track off the 'main' road (you'll see a kind of embossed stone obelisk marking the entrance). Once you've passed through vineyards and olive trees, all you have to do is manoeuvre your car around a couple of snoozing dogs blocking the drive, after they've checked you out and given an approving 'woof'. Guardians of a fairly classic range, if you like, especially their Crémant (the Vergnes' obviously, although perhaps one of the hounds is a part-time winemaker).
I digress: these wines were tasted in April 2008 at the estate:

2006 Limoux blanc 'vieilles vignes' (Chardonnay 13.5%) - quite big, fat and toasty yet also has fairly rich rounded fruit and refreshing finish. €7.70 87
2005 Limoux rouge (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Syrah) - perfumed 'garrigue' tones with spicy plum and black cherry fruit, moves on to a bitter chocolate v liquorice palate with fresh but rounded tannins. €5.40 87
2006 Blanquette de Limoux (mostly Mauzac 12.5%) - shows a nice mix of fresh and crisp v biscuity and more exotic fruit; finishing with elegant dry length. €6.20 87
2005 Crémant de Limoux (Chardonnay Chenin blanc Pinot Noir 12.5%) - more generous and classier displaying fine oily toasty fruit v crisp, stylish and long finish. €8 90+

LATEST MARTINOLLES VINTAGES REVIEWED HERE (Limoux fizz report 2012).

11250 Saint-Hilaire. Tel: 04 68 69 41 93, www.martinolles.com.

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