Posts Tagged ‘Minervois’

Tasting Samples with Josefa Concannon of Louis/Dressner Selections

A few weeks ago I happened to be at MacArthur Beverages when Josefa Concannon of Louis/Dressner Selections was visiting the store.  She was pouring six different samples which I was fortunate to taste.  The Louis/Dressner portfolio is quite interesting and certainly has a strong following.  I am pleased to see an increased selection of their wines in Washington, DC so was more than happy to taste through Josefa’s samples.   Though it was fun to taste Francois Cazin’s Cour-Cheverny made from the Romorantin grape I preferred the 2011 Domaine du Closel, Jalouise, Savennieres and 2011 Chateau D’Oupia, Heretiques Rouge, Pays d’Herault.  The former has an average Wine-Searcher price of $20 and the later $11.  That makes for two very attractive wines at strong prices.  Please find my brief notes below.


2009 Francois Cazin, Cour-Cheverny
This wine is 100% Romorantin sourced from 40-year-old vines and an 80-year-old parcel.  It was fermented in concrete tanks then aged on the lees for four months in barrel followed by 12 months in concrete tanks.  Alcohol 13.5%.  In the mouth there was white fruit which was slightly weighty, dry, and mildly ripe.  It had good texture.


2011 Domaine du Closel, Jalouise, Savennieres
This wine is 100% Chenin Blanc sourced from 15-20 year old vines which were aged 12 months on the lees.  Alcohol 14.5%.   The nose had aromas of mildly ripe berries.  In the mouth there was a softer start followed by grippy flavors of white fruit and stones supported by good acidity.  The flavors build in the mouth showing nice weight.  I enjoyed this.


2011 Chateau D’Oupia, Heretiques Rouge, Pays d’Herault
This wine is 100% Carignan sourced from 40+ year old vines with 50% barrel fermented and 50% carbonic maceration.  Alcohol 13%.  There was a good nose of expressive berries.  In the mouth the flavors were cooler and grapey before becoming racy.  The acidity and fruit were integrated providing a well-rounded wine with good energy.  I enjoyed this too.


2010 Chateau D’Oupia, Tradition Rouge, Minervois
This wine is a blend of 50% Carignan, 40% Syrah, and 10% Grenache sourced from 50+ year old vines.  The nose was a little more serious.  In the mouth it was a touch more vibrant and assertive.  The the flavors were light the middle was expansive.  It showed a touch more tart acidity and presence of structure.


2011 Clos de la Roilette, Fleurie
This wine is 100% Gamay.  The nose was grapey with greenhouse aromas.  In the mouth there were red and black fruit which were grapey on the tongue tip.  The grapey tannins mixed with pepper and graphite.


2011 G. Descombes, Morgon
This wine is 100% Gamay which was fermented in cement tanks with underwent semi-carbonic maceration with indigenous yeasts.  There was a good nose of black berries.  In the mouth the flavors were a little tart with grapey fine tannins, Gamay like, and weight which lay on the tongue.  There was pepper and a dry structure.

Two Grenache Based Wines From 2009

September 21, 2012 Leave a comment

Both of these wines are predominantly Grenache with a small amount of Syrah.  The Domaine de la Grand Ribe is quite generous in its profile with a bit of heat showing through.  Just make sure you serve it cool and you can delight in all of the flavors for only $12.  The Chateau Coupe Roses is more of my style, albeit at almost twice the price.  I really like the earthy fruit and the effortless integration of the structure which will allow it to develop for several years.  Give them both a go!  These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

2009 Domaine de la Grand Ribe, Cuvee Centenaire, Cotes du Rhone Villages – $12
Imported by Monsieur Touton.  This wine is a blend of mostly Grenache and Syrah from 75+ year old vines.  It underwent malolactic fermentation.  Alcohol 15%.  The light nose reveals dark, red fruit. In the mouth there is ample citrus-like red fruit which is both strangely fresh and a bit heady.  The texture is nice with some grain.  There are notes of pencil graphite and wood with good acidity, spices in the finish followed by powdery red and blue fruit with spice in the aftertaste.  This drinks best at a cool temperature.  *** Now-2019.

2009 Chateau Coupe Roses, Granaxa, Minervois – $22
Imported by Vintage ’59 Imports.  This wine is 90% Grenache and 10% Syrah fermented with indigenous yeasts then aged for one year in second and third year oak barrels.  Alcohol 14%.  The color is a medium ruby with dark-cherry.  The nose reveals candied-strawberry aromas.  In the mouth there is beautiful red, earthy fruit, gentle concentration, and powdery, textured flavors.  The wine is weighty with acidity coming out on the sides of the tongue towards the middle.  There are berry flavors in the finish followed by juicy-fruit in the aftertaste.  Drinkable now but should really be cellared.  *** 2014-2022.

Two Wines from Hecht & Bannier

February 29, 2012 1 comment

Hecht & Bannier are a negociant which has specialized in the red wines of Southern France since 2002.  They select only wine that has completed fermentation which they bring back to their facility for blending and aging.  Since they do not maintain contracts they may freely change their sources on an annual basis.  The cuvees are typically a blend of 5-10 sources.  For aging they prefer to use larger barrels blended with some tank aged wine to preserve the fruit.

The 2007 vintages of Hect & Bannier, Minervois and Cotes du Roussillon Villages were rock-star wines in two ways: the Minervois was flat-out incredible but the Cotes du Roussillon Villages combined the generosity of the vintage with the warmth of Roussillon to produce a wine turned up to 11.  These new selections are quite different.  The 2008 Minervois omits the Mourvedre that was in the 2007 which I sorely miss in this vintage.  It is a good wine with nice dried-herb notes but it failed to excite me.  The 2009 Cotes du Roussillon Villages adds some Lledoner Pelut in a style that showcases restraint and structure for aging.  I quite like it and recommend you cellar a few bottles.  These wines are currently available at MacArthur Beverages.

2008 Hecht & Bannier, Minervois – $17
Imported by Frederick Wildman and Sons.  This wine is mainly Syrah followed by Grenache and “[s]ome drops of Carignan.”  It was aged 30% in tank, 30% in 225L barrels, 20% in demi-muids,  and 20% in 400L barrels.  The nose was bright with tart red fruit.  In the mouth the flavors start with red fruit mixed with dried herbs.  With air the flavors become moderately expansive before they mix with a fair amount of acidity and some tannins. This needs a year or two to come together.  ** 2014-2017.

2009 Hecht & Bannier, Cotes du Roussillon Villages – $22
Imported by Frederick Wildman and Sons.  This wine is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, Mourvèdre and Lledoner Pelut.  It was aged 40% in demi-muids, 30% in tank, and 30% in stock vat.  There is a light nose of black fruit.  In the mouth the blacker fruit has a cool aspect, restrained ripeness yet shows good depth.  With air bit of minerals come out, some ink, and garrigue in the finish.  With air a tea note develops along with subtle spices and lipstick, with a touch of spiciness in the finish along with glimmer of heat.  Give this wine a few years to settle down.  *** 2014-2019.

The Lovely 2010 Chateau Coupe Roses, La Bastide

February 9, 2012 Leave a comment

It has been a particularly busy and tiring week so last night I just wanted an honest and interesting wine.  Upon pouring a glass my nose was immediately engaged with my mouth quickly confirming that this wine was delightful.  The Cuvee La Bastide is the introductory cuvee of the four red wines produced by Chateau Coupe Roses.  For those curious, you may find some background information in my review of the 2009 Cuvee Vignals.  I highly recommend that you purchase a few bottles this weekend.  I suspect a glass at lunchtime might make you smile.  Available for $13 at MacArthur Beverages this is a lovely value imported by Roy Cloud.

2010 Chateau Coupe Roses, La Bastide, Minervois – $13
Imported by Vintage ’59 Imports.  This wine is a rough blend of 47% Carignan, 47% Grenache, and 5% Syrah that was tank raised.  There is a medium strength nose of gritty fruit and floral notes evocative of the countryside.  In the mouth there is a darkness to the blue fruit which has lovely sweet spice, a pepper and cinnamon component reminiscent of “Big Red”, and powdery tannins.  With air the nose becomes quite floral with tropical aromas and perfumed flavors in the mouth.  This good wine drinks well now (give it an hour of air) or over the next five years.

2007 Hecht & Bannier, Minervois

September 14, 2011 1 comment

Hecht & Bannier is a negocient that specializes in producing wines from the Languedoc-Roussillon that are “the reference for quality in the region with a unique range of appellation wines.”  Four selections from the 2007 vintage received Parker scores of 90-94 points.  Back in April the Cotes du Roussillon-Villages became available so I quickly snagged a bottle then posted a review.  MacArthur’s recently put out bottles of the 2007 Hecht & Bannier, Minervois so once again I zipped over to snag a bottle.  I also grabbed another Cotes du Roussillon-Villages for comparison.

Vineyard Used by Hecht & Bannier, Image by Frederick Wildman & Sons (Flickr)

These wines are imported by Frederick Wildman & Sons and available at MacArthur’s.  The Minervois will set you back $17 and the Cotes du Roussillon-Villages $22.  They are both tasty wines and reasonably priced.  The Minervois was our favorite of the two, showing delineated fruit amongst the smooth body of the wine.  The Cotes du Roussillon-Villages is primarily Grenache (and I am an unabashed Grenache lover) but  the ripe nature spoke of both a ripe region and vintage.  The cherry/Kirsch notes, herbs, and cool minerality are all lovely but the restraint of the Minervois did a better job of showcasing the fruit.  While the bottle of Minervois was finished first I would still recommend both wines.  I really look forward to the 2009 vintage.

2007 Hecht & Bannier, Minervois
This wine is a blend of mostly Syrah, some Grenache, and a splash of Carignan and Mourvedre.  It was aged for two years in 30% tank with the rest in both new and old demi-muids and barrels.  This took several hours to open up.  The medium nose is Syrah driven with notes of pepper.  In the mouth there is creamy fruit all of the way through with herbs and sweet tannin flavors.  In the finish there are spices and fine tannins.  This is a rich wine but the black/blue fruits are lively and in no way cloying.  This should drink well for the medium-term. ***(*) Now-2022.

2009 Chateau Coupe Roses, Cuvee Vignals, Minervois

July 15, 2011 1 comment

Francoise and Pascal Frissant, Image from Vintage 59

Chateau Coupe Roses is worked by Francoise and Pascal Frissant.  Their vineyards are located in La Causse and Le Petite Causse.  There are 40 hectares of small parcels most of which surround the medieval village of La Caunette.  With vineyard altitudes ranging from 750-1350 feet, this is the second highest area in Minervois.  This is very beautiful land with gently sloping vineyards that abruptly meet the Gorges de la Cesse.  The soils are arid, stony, and contain some chalky bits.  There is a deep layer of clay-like soil that captures maganese rich water.

Gorges de la Cesse, Image by brigeham34(flickr)

The Cuvee Vignals is a blend of ~60% Syrah, ~30% Grenache, and ~10% Carignan.  It is made entirely in tank.  According to the Vintage 59 website Francois Serre has been the consulting enologist at Coupe Roses since 1991.  He is also consults for Chateau Rayas, Chateauneuf-du-Pape.

La Caunette, Image by Gerard Farenc (flickr)

The wines of Chateau Coupe Roses are imported by Vintage 59 and available at MacArthur’s.  This bottle is well worth the $17 or $18 cost.

2009 Chateau Coupe Roses, Cuvee Vignals, Minervois
This wine really has a lovely nose of roses.  On the second night the nose reveals aromas of dark red fruits combined with perfumed scents of roses.  This medium-bodied wine is almost supple in texture, with good garrigue throughout.  The flavors take on a linear delivery that mixes in grapey tannins.  This is lower in alcohol and very easy to drink.  Consumed over two days I feel it drank better on the first night when it was more spritely.  *** Now-2015.

2009 Domaine Anne Gros & Jean-Paul Tollot, La 50/50

This estate was recently created by Anne Gros and Jean-Paul Tollot. Both of them are experienced wine growers with estates in Burgundy. Anne Gros has an estate in Vosne-Romanee and Jean-Paul has an estate in Cote d’Or. They purchased 14 hectares of vineyards in Cazelles, Minervois due to the soil diversity and the varieitals available. They have also built a new winery. Their first vintages is 2008. The 50/50 is a blend of 30 year old Carignan, 40 year old Cinsault, and 18 year old Grenache. The vineyards are at an altitude of 220 meters. It is matured in stainless steel tank.

I tasted the 2008 vintage of the 50/50 a few months back and was underwhelmed. At $18 there are plenty of other available wines that are of more interest from the 2007 and 2009 vintages. So when the 2009 vintage of the 50/50 came out I grabbed a bottle. It too is available for$18 at MacArthur’s. The 2009 is a step up from the 2008 and unabashedly shows its upbringing in tank with all of the grapey flavors. It is a good wine with some potential but I think there is stiff competitoin at the $18 price point. If you are curious to try this new wine then skip the 2008 and buy the 2009.

2009 Domaine Anne Gros & Jean-Paul Tollot, La 50/50, Vdt France
This wine has a light nose of purple, grapey notes and red fruit aromas. There are some initially ripe, red fruit that then turns tart/sour as the flavors morph into puckering, grapey fruit. There is some sweet, spiced fruit mixed in with red berries. There are fine+ tannins that cling to the side of the mouth. There are lots of adult grapey flavors, some spice, and an assertive character. It becomes chewier with air as a bit of heat escapes in the finish.

Cahors, Corbieres, and Minervois, Tasted 06 June 2008

I’m more of a Rhone and Roussillon fan but I’ll give anything a try. The Haut-Monplaisir and Fontsainte at $12 and $10 are good introductions. While I would probably buy other wines at that price, I would not hesitate to try the higher-end cuvees.

2005 Domaine La Berangeraie, Cuvee Maurin, Cahors – $15
This wine which is 100% Malbec is hand harvested, hand sorted, de-stemmed, and aged in concrete. I found slightly tart red fruits in this light-bodied wine. This more austere wine has thin fruit that gives way to medium tannins and a light finish. The wine is Ok but not my style. I’d rather drink Dona Paula Malbec at this price point.

2005 Chateau Haut-Monplaisir, Cahors – $12
This 100% Malbec wine is micro-oxygenated and made in cement vats. The grapes come from 44.5 acres located on the highest terrace. This wine is a dark purple/violet in the glass. There is a light nose of dark fruit. In the mouth I found blue/purple fruit, inkiness, that makes way to a brighter and tarter midpalate. It finishes with drying, lip-coating tannins. This is an easy to drink Cahors.

2005 Domaine de Fontsainte, Corbieres – $10
This wine is made from 70% Carignan, 20% Grenache, and 10% Syrah. The grapes are hand-picked, placed whole in vats for temperature-controlled carbonic maceration and aged for 6 months in French oak barrels. The wine is light-ruby with a purple tinge. A light nose of earthy, fresh red berries. Tart raspberries in the mouth, that is structured and enlivened by acidity. This light to medium-bodied wine has a slightly mouth-watering finish, that gives way to structured light tannins in the aftertaste. This is an affordable, decent, modern Corbieres.

2005 Chateau Coupe Roses, Cuvee Vignals, Minervois – ~$15
This wine is made from Syrah, Grenache, and a small amount of old-vine Carignan. Light to medium opaque in the glass. A light nose of blue fruits mixed with syrah scents. With air the blue fruits are mixed with pepper, followed by a lean body and a finish of mouth-coating fine tannins. This refreshing wine is light to medium-bodied with a light, persistent finish. The Syrah character develops with air.

Five Wines From France

December 20, 2007 1 comment

Here are some notes on a few wines that I have drunk lately.

2004 Domaine de Font-Sane, Gigondas
I bought this because I really like the 1998 Cuvee Futee. I was not disappointed at all by this regular cuvee. Black and blue berries mixed with minerals that flavor this supple wine. It is calmly authoritative. While a pleasure to drink now, I will hold on to my other bottles.

2005 Mas Carlot, Les Enfants Terribles, Costieres de Nimes
I believe this is great quality for the price. It is a Syrah/Mourvedre blend with good blueberry and herb flavors. Pretty nose, mouth-filling with a satisfying finish, hard to believe it is $11.

2003 Domaine de Chamans, No 1, Minervois
This was an interesting wine that I did not like. A Syrah/Carignan/Mourvedre blend. My bottle had a unique and assertive nose of sugar-coated raspberry hard candies (with soft center) that I had a hard time getting around. While I like this kind of candy, I apparently don’t like my wine to smell like it. From what I did taste, it was well made with a touch more stuffing than the Les Enfants Terribles.

2003 Chateau d’Or et de Gueules, Costieres de Nimes
This was nice but I preferred the Les Enfants Terribles at the same price. This is a Syrah/Carignan/Mourvedre blend. More of a red-fruits wine with more finesse and brightness.

2004 Coume del Mas, Schistes, Collioure
This was recommended to me. A Grenache/Carignan blend with a gorgeous color in the glass best described as inky, deep-blue and red-garnet. Young in that the nose is slow to reveal itself and tastes of hidden pleasures yet to come. It is medium-bodied with concentration, supple to drink with a slowly expanding finish. A great deal at $14.