"Buy my book about the Roussillon wine region (colour paperback or eBook) on Amazon UK HERE or Amazon USA HERE. Or order it direct from me (UK & EU only). Also available in the US from Barnes & Noble in hardcover, paperback or eBook. For other countries, tap/click on the link over the cover photo (below right)." Richard Mark James

25 October 2008

Languedoc: Domaine de la Bouysse, Corbières

Domaine de la Bouysse

Martine Pagès and Christophe Molinier have been at the helm of La Bouysse since 1996, "following in grandpa's footsteps," as paraphrased from their website. Their AOC Corbières vineyards spread across two terroirs (if you can refer to such big areas using this elusive term) - Fontfroide and Boutenac - and they also make some nice white and red vin de pays varietals and blends.I've picked these two wines from a tasting laid on by the Corbières people at Château Boutenac in late October 2008:

2006 Corbières Roc-Long (Carignan Grenache Syrah) - a bit closed on the nose at first, moving on to attractive liquorice and black fruit palate with tobacco edges; quite rich v very firm and fresh framework, should be good in 6-12 months. 88+
2005 Corbières Mazérac (50% Carignan plus Grenache and sometimes a touch of Mourvèdre) - developing resiny fruit with liquorice and leather hints; quite full and powerful with dry chewy tannins yet maturing savoury fruit too; nice although feels like it's beginning to dry out? 87+

11200 St-André de Roquelongue. Tel: 04 68 45 50 34,www.domainedelabouysse.fr.

24 October 2008

Languedoc: Domaine Vordy, Minervois

The following wines are a couple of my pick from a variety of producers tasted at the end of October 2008, during Les Grands Chemins "Rencontres en Minervois" (annual wine, food and arts festival centred on the broodingly Mediaeval 'city' of Minerve and surrounding area - that link goes to the website), over dinner at the recommended Relais Chantovent in said awesomely old and haunting village (where I met and talked to Didier Vordy):

Domaine Vordy - Minerve vordy.monsite.wanadoo.fr
2005 cuvée Alice Minervois rouge (14%) - very spicy with ripe resiny wild fruits; powerful with light oak texture, closes up becoming firmer but very fruity too. 89+
2006 Liquoreux (late picked Grenache blanc & Terret, 80 grams/litre residual sugar, 14.5%) - quite complex honey, fig and quince notes/flavours v citrus and mineral freshness; nice balance and style, not too sweet nor too alcoholic not too old! 89+

23 October 2008

Languedoc: Domaine Tailhades Mayranne, Minervois

The following wines are some of my pick of a variety of producers tasted at the end of October 2008 during Les Grands Chemins "Rencontres en Minervois", an annual wine, food and arts festival centred on the broodingly Mediaeval village of Minerve (where Tailhades has a cellar cum shop), which has to be seen to be believed. Stunningly old and located...
Domaine Tailhades Mayranne - Minerve 
2007 Minervois blanc (Marsanne Maccabeo) - aromatic and floral nose v oily and quite powerful mouth-feel. Nice style. 85
2006 cuvée Elise Minervois rouge - attractive pure spicy Syrahfruit, good grip v depth of fruit with lively peppery finish. 87+

21 October 2008

Languedoc: Château Lacour Manoy, Corbières

Château Lacour Manoy

The Arnaud family has been nursing vines around here (near the village of Boutenac) for quite a while (originally set up shop in the 18th Century apparently). The present boss is André-Jacques, who's making some quite good reds as featured below, although admittedly I didn't like a couple of the others I tasted, and a reasonably attractive sweet white vin de pay. They also have two spacious holiday gites on the property - for info, click on their website lurking at the bottom of this blurb. I picked out these two wines, for your amusement, from a tasting organised by the Corbières people at Château Boutenac in late October 2008:

2002 cuvée Louis Domairon (50% old Carignan + Syrah Grenache) - vanilla notes lead on to savoury v resiny fruit with smoky edges; very firm mouth-feel (a little too perhaps), but it's got nice depth underneath even if essentially mature now. 87
2004 cuvée Louis Domairon - much richer and more concentrated with vibrant black fruits layered on spicy chocolate oak; promising I'd say with grippy v rounded texture. 89

11200 Montséret Tel: 04 68 433 959, www.aristidou.fr.

13 October 2008

Roussillon: Domaine Rouaud, Pézilla-la-Rivière

Jérôme Rouaud and his wife Sophie set up their domaine 6 years ago, farming nine hectares (22 acres) organically from the start; which means they got certified status from the 2005 vintage. Before that, Jérôme worked in the car industry in Paris (yawn) then for Nicolas wine shops; went to Bordeaux to study winemaking and viticulture, moved to the Roussillon to work as a winery assistant, and finally bought, ripped out and rebuilt an old cellar in Pézilla west of Perpignan.
Wines tasted June 2006:
2005 Têt blanc (Carignan blanc) - he has a few, rare white Carignan vines mixed in with the red ones. Mineral tones with light toast and creamy edges, fat mouthfeel v lively intensity v power too; interesting. 87+
2005 Frivole doux (Muscat petits-grains) - less residual sugar than Muscat de Rivesaltes with 33 grams/litre and 12% alc. Nice fresh grapey style, more medium dry really on its clean finish. 85
2004 Barbacane Grenache vin de pays Côtes Catalanes - attractive spicy black fruits with tobacco tones, ripe with soft tannins and attractive pure flavours. 87-89
2003 Côtes du Roussillon rouge (Syrah Carignan Grenache) - lovely dried fruits displaying liquorice and black cherry notes, appealing maturing spicy fruit with oily texture and background dry tannins; weighty length with lingering tobacco fruit. 89+
2004 Têt Pourpre Côtes du Roussillon Villages (Syrah Carignan Grenache) - more overt coconut oak immersed in delicious spicy fruit, blackberry/olive; full bodied with good depth v firm tannins, tight lively length, beginning to develop on the finish. 90+
2003 Tuilé (will go back into barriques before bottling) - intense peppery oxidised plum and tobacco aromas, rich and sweet v nice cut of alcohol.
2005 Frivole rosé vin de Pays Côtes Catalanes (purely so he can put Syrah Grenache on the label) - juicy red fruit style, quite chunky without being blowsy, nice fresh finish. 87
These wines are priced from around €5 to €10. More of them here and here.

Updates: the two reds below were tasted at the 2008 Millésime Bio wine show (Perpignan):
2005 Barbacane (100% Grenache) - smoky and rich style, a tad of awkward background wood that jars a little? Ripe v firm finish.
2006 Têt Pourpre, Côtes du Roussillon Villages (Syrah Carignan Grenache) - lush spicy fruit set on chunky rounded tannins, very tight and lively finish. 89-91

October 2008 - I called in at Jérôme's cellar to see what was new: they now have 13 ha of vineyards after buying and leasing a few more parcels on the slopes just outside Pézilla.
2007 Frivole 'light red' (Grenache Syrah) - slightly fruity liquorice v crunchy black cherry, a bit of dry texture; neither one thing nor the other really: 80+. The 2008 from vat had nicer fruit.
2006 Barbacane (Grenache 13%) - delicious Grenache fruit showing liquorice, spice and turning slightly tobacco-ish; good depth v grip and length, well-balanced and attractive. 89+
2006 Têt Pourpre Côtes du Roussillon Villages (Carignan Syrah Grenache 13.5%) - a touch of subtle spicy oak on the nose and palate, but this has lots of lovely black fruits with savoury edges; solid structured finish, needs 6 to 12 months to open up more. 90-92
2006 Ganaxe Rivesaltes Grenat (Grenache muté sur grains) - enticing dark fruit with peppery and meaty edges; nice balance of sweetness, crunchy fruit and dry tannins. 88-90


7 Rue du Portal d’Amont, 66370 Pézilla-la-Rivière. Tel: 04 68 92 46 59, mobile: 06 98 17 22 81; rouaud.vigneron.66@orange.fr.

11 October 2008

Chocolate week at Gauchos 13-19 October

I, probably along with thousands of others, didn't know it was National Chocolate week in the UK next week; so Gauchos restaurants are offering what sounds like a tantalisingly South American choc based pudding matched with apparently "Argentina's first fortified red wine." So why not pop in and try their Chocolate Tres Leches with a glass of Malamado Malbec made by merit-worthy winery Familia Zuccardi (a tad steep perhaps at £12, pud and wine together that is, although I'm a bit out of touch with London prices). More info from: www.gauchorestaurants.co.uk and www.familiazuccardi.com (wasn't working when I tried).


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