Monday, 28 May 2012

3 more new Languedoc wines

Over the last week or so, I have been enjoying tasting and writing notes on a variety of new wines from two of my very favourite Languedoc growers. As always, it is an arduous task, but somebody has to do it! Here are three more................

100% barrel-fermented Roussanne. A very pale, limpid straw colour. Delicately perfumed and fresh, offering aromas of orange, nectarine and honeysuckle, with a sprinkling of oregano and basil, very subtle oak nuances and a distinct whiff of mineral/wet stone. Roussanne normally tends to have a rich, slightly oily texture to the palate, but this one is beautifully fresh, fruity and crisp, like biting into a just-ripe nectarine or dessert apple, with soft, citrussy acidity and a streak of stony minerality, which makes for a rather delicious and refreshing orange peel and sherbert tang on the surprisingly long finish. This is a new cuvée from Chateau La Dournie and whilst I have no idea whether it is built for ageing, I'm not sure there is any point - for it is just too delicious not to drink now! 13.0% abv. £11.75.

Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah. Guy Vanlancker never fails to make delicious wines, even at the "lower" end of the scale, and this is a classic example of his craft. Fairly deep in colour, with a tiny rim, but a surprisingly elegant and enticing nose - bags of plum and bramble fruit, with something richer and darker like toffee or dried figs, but also a hint of balancing orange freshness. A distinct whiff of aromatic garrigue herbs and a touch of black olive tapenade add savoury elements to what - at this price level - is really quite a complex wine. The palate too has plenty of succulent red and black fruit flavours, again with a hint of toffee and fig, balanced by ripe, supple tannins and ample acidity. This really is quite a contemplative wine - the sort that has you sticking your nose in the glass and keeps you coming back for another drop or two. And how many wines at well under a tenner can do that, these days? Textbook Minervois. 14.0% abv. £8.90

40% Syrah, plus Grenache, Carignan and Cinsault, aged for 18 months in old oak barrels. Deep purple core with a dark ruby rim. This really is a gloriously perfumed wine, with multi-layered black cherry, bramble and raspberry aromas, accompanied by damp earth, polished wood, leather, fine eau de vie and subtle notes of violet and peony. And whilst slow to come out of its shell, it gets more and more complex after a few hours in the decanter (and positively sings on day 2). The intense summer heat in the vineyards high above La Liviniere means that optimum ripeness is accompanied by relativelly high alcohol, but this is no Parkerised monster. For whilst evidently full-bodied and ripe, it possesses more than a little complexity and real elegance, with a multitude of fresh - rather than baked - red and black fruit flavours, infused with garrigue herbs and again a touch of earthiness. A combination of remarkably fine, supple tannins and juicy, orange-tinged acidity completes the package. The finish is long, spicy, warming, life-affirming - and truly worthy of contemplation. As a winemaker who forever struggles to make ends meet, Guy Vanlancker has not bought any new barrels for over 10 years. But this wine really doesn't need to be dressed up in a cloak of new oak - it is winemaking without a safety net, and with his skills laid bare, Guy has once again fashioned a remarkable wine. And at this price, it really is a steal. You can drink it now, with pleasure, but it should also age nicely for a good few years yet. 14.5% abv. £11.50.

All of these wines, together with the ones I mentioned in my previous post, are now available in the Leon Stolarski Fine Wines online shop - and I commend them to you very highly!

Incidentally, you can now receive notice of new entries on my blog by email. Just add your email address to the box on the right-hand menu (just underneath my mugshot) and click the 'submit' button. You will then receive a notification immediately I post a new entry on the blog.


Daryl Owens said...

Glad to see I dont have to rely on the Facebook alerts now Leon!



Leon Stolarski said...

Hoped you would see that, Daryl, Thanks for the nudge!

Vinogirl said...

All three of these wines sound fab!