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Posts Tagged ‘Minervois’

Solid values from the south of France

October 2, 2015 2 comments

I apologize for the long silence.  I was caught down in the rabbit hole of research only to end up with a cold.

The Chateau d’Oupia, Les Heretiques has graced our tables as a house wine many times in the past. The 2014 Chateau d’Oupia, Les Heretiques, VdP d’Herault is the latest vintage which continues to be released at a very low price.  I found it a little soft for my preference but have no fear for only $12 you may purchase the rather good 2013 Chateau d’Oupia, Minervois.  This wine blends vibrant acidity with black fruit, minerals, and even racy hints.  It will drink well for the next couple of years so you can stock up.  These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

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2014 Chateau d’Oupia, Les Heretiques, VdP d’Herault – $10
Imported by Louis/Dressner. This wine is made from 100% Carignan sourced from 40+ year old vines. Half the fruit was fermented in barrel and the other half by carbonic maceration.  Alcohol 13%.  There was a soft entry with tart fruit before a lower-acidity profile of mulberry and red fruit became noticeable on the tongue.  It did have a bit of a dry-cola grip and some liveliness.  This might last a bit but really is a daily wine for now.  ** Now.

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2013 Chateau d’Oupia, Minervois – $12
Imported by Louis/Dressner. This wine is a blend of 50% Carignan, 40% Syrah, and 10% Grenache sourced from 50+ year old vines.   Alcohol 13.5%.  This wine started with a bit of vibrant acidity driving the increasingly black and mineral flavors.  There was some midpalate relaxation as the wine took on weight.  With air it showed good focus and even became a touch racy.  *** Now – 2017.

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There is no school like old-school: the wines of Chateau Maris

November 13, 2014 Leave a comment

Robert Eden took over Chateau Maris in 1996.  With his business partner Kevin Parker, they set about restoring the tired vineyards using biodynamic principles.  The estate now has 79 acres of vines that are certified by Demeter, Biodyvins, and Ecocert.  In keeping with these principles the fruit is fermented with indigenous yeasts, the wines are not corrected, and they are bottled unfined and unfiltered.  The 2012 Chateau Marvis, Old School Rouge, Minervois is specifically produced to preserve the freshness of the fruit.   Our particular bottle drank great over two nights with textured fruit, minerals, and rustic structure.  There are few wines that have both personality and potential for development at $12 per bottle.  This is one of those few so be sure to purchase it by the case!  The 2012 Chateau Maris, Continuite de Nature, Minervois La Liviniere is notable not only for the use of a vineyard planted in 1922 but the vineyard’s location in the Minervois cru of La Liviniere.  I did not know this cru even existed!  In moving from young Syrah to old Carignan the wine offers up ripe, fresh fruit without any seams at all.  I must admit I fell for the seductive quality of the wine and did not give it proper time to open up.  In order to better gauge this wine I would give it a proper decant or wait until the new year.  This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.

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2012 Chateau Maris, Old School Rouge, Minervois – $12
Imported by Verity Wine Partners.  This wine is a blend of 85% Syrah and 15% Grenache sourced from 20 year old vines planted at 850 feet of elevation.  The fruit was fermented in concrete vats using indigenous yeasts and underwent malolactic fermentation.  Alcohol 14.5%.  There were controlled ripe and textured black fruit flavors before the wine took on a mineral hint.  The wine was balanced by acidity with some roast notes and a drier finish.  There is generally a lot of flavor in the mouth with a good aftertaste.  With air this subtly rustic wine shows structure for short-term aging, some glycerin and density.   **(*) Now-2018.

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2012 Chateau Maris, Continuite de Nature, Minervois La Liviniere – $27
Imported by Verity Wine Partners.  This wine is a blend of 90% Carignan and 10% Grenache sourced from vines planted in 1922 at 1200 feet of elevation.  The fruit was fermented in canonical wooden tanks using indigenous yeasts, underwent malolactic fermentation, then was aged for 12 months in 10% new French oak barrels.  Alcohol 15%. There were ripe, fresh and sweet (not from residual sugar) fruit flavors that mixed with cinnamon baking spices and some roast in the finish. The flavors have good energy.  The structure is there but it is very approachable now, almost seductive, and should be drunk sooner than later.  ***/***(*) 2015 – 2020.

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Four Robust Reds

September 8, 2014 Leave a comment

Just a quick post today as I spent the morning on history related correspondence.  While all of the wines featured in today’s post are satisfying selections the 2011 Domaine Jean Baptiste Senat, La Nine, Minervois stands out.  From the deep aromas to the downright tasty flavors this is a wine to purchase by the case. This complex blend is hard to resist at this stage but should see further development through the winter.  Do not miss out!   These wines were purchased at Weygandt-Wines.

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2011 Domaine Alary, Vieilles Vignes, Cotes du Rhone Villages Cairanne – $20
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is a blend of 60% Grenache, 25% Syrah, and 15% Carignan.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose bore robust and raw aromas.  In the mouth the young fruit had ripe flavors, tartness, and ripe, spiced tannins.  It developed a nice inky aspect.  **(*) 2015-2020.

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2012 Domaine Le Clos du Serres, Les Maros, Terrasses du Larzac – $22
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is a blend of 60% Grenache, 20% Cinsault, and 20% Carignan. Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose revealed a mixture of cranberry and other red fruits.  In the mouth were pure flavors of black, tart fruit.  The tartness was more of an edge with the wine showing less intensity and better balanced on the second night.  The wine had a little ripeness, clean flavors, spot of acidity, and some tannins.  Drinking well now.  *** Now-2016.

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2011 La Bastide Blanche, Rouge, Bandol – $25
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is a blend of 76% Mourvedre, 16% Grenache, 5% Syrah, 2% Cinsault, and 1% Carignan.  Alcohol 15%.  The nose was meaty with deep fruit aromas.   In the mouth the clean fruit slowly expanded to take on racy, intensely  mineral flavors.  The tight and fine yet ripe tannins coated the gum.  With air the wine show density but kept a freshness that made it approachable now.  There was a red fruit and meat note in the finish.  This should develop for some time.  *** Now-2026.

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2011 Domaine Jean Baptiste Senat, La Nine, Minervois – $22
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is a blend of 40% Grenache, 30% Carignan, 10% Mourvedre, 10% Cinsault, and 10% Syrah.  Alcohol 14%.  There were deep, attractive aromas.  In the mouth were earthy, berry flavors; simply lovely flavor.  It was a little savory with a rather moderate structure.  This attractive wine developed a flavor of black fruit with cream before the savory, mixed blue fruit of the finish.  Attractive.  ***(*) Now-2019.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.