That excellent wine emporium, Les Caves de Pyrene is always a good source of wines from the south, and their portfolio tasting a couple of weeks ago did not disappoint. What follows is what they were showing, a nicely eclectic range of delicious things.
Mas Montel, Pays d’Oc, 2016 La Petite Syrah - £9.40
Light red colour. Soft peppery fruit on nose and palate. Easy simple Syrah with a fresh finish.
Moulin de Gassac 2016 Pinot Noir - £10.70
You could call this the second label of Mas de Daumas Gassac, from local grapes that they buy, rather than grow. Pinot Noir is particularly tricky in the south, but this works very nicely, with soft dry, raspberry fruit on the palate. Medium weight, with no great depth, but elegant with a fresh finish.
NV Crémant de Limoux, Les Hautes Terres, Joséphine - £23.65
Quite a rounded leesy nose with some yeast autolysis, and an underlying nuttiness from a few months ageing in barrel. Gilles Azam was a pioneer of barrel-aged Creémant, inspired by the champagne producer, André Salosses. Good depth on the palate with nutty notes. A Crémant with character from an up-and-coming producer.
2016 Minervois, Arbalète, Domaine Jean-Baptiste Senat - £15.60
A blend of Grenache and Syrah. Medium colour. Quite rounded ripe fruit on the nose, and on the palate, supple with a streak of tannin. Some ripe cherry fruit from the Grenache Noir.
2016 Clos du Gravillas, Emmenez-moi au bout de Terret. - £17.70
As you might surmise from the name, the grape variety is Terret, which is beginning to enjoy something of a revival in the Languedoc. It has the great advantage of producing good acidity in hot growing conditions. This wine has a firm stony nose, and on the palate, there is indeed a lot of acidity, with firm stony mineral notes. Very pure.
2016 Vin d’Oeillades, Thierry Navarre – £13.35
Thierry Navarre is the leading independent wine grower of the village of Roquebrun, which is one of the crus of St. Chinian. He is particularly enthusiastic about some of the neglected grape varieties of the Languedoc, such as Oeillade, which is related to Cinsaut. The colour is light red, with lovely perfumed, fragrant fruit on the nose and more elegant red fruit on the palate, with a stylish finish.
2014 Faugères Tradition, Clos Fantine -£17.60
Corinne Andrieu at Clos Fantine is one of the more natural wine makers of Faugères, and I will say that this wine has a slightly ‘funky’ note. There is a hint of VA, but here is also some intriguing fruit. I suspect the bottle probably needed more aeration than it was getting at the tasting.
2015 Pic St Loup, L’Orphée, Mas Foulaquier - £18.15
A youthful Pic St Loup with fragrant elegant fruit on the nose and a rounded supple palate, with less tannin than some.
2015 Languedoc blanc, Domaine d’Aupilhac - £18.35
Sylvain Fadat is one of the leading growers of the small village of Montpeyroux and makes his white wine from a blend of Vermentino. Grenache blanc, Clairette and Ugni blanc. The colour is quite golden, and the wine is ripe and rounded on the palate with some intriguing leesy notes on the nose. A fresh elegant finish.
2016 Côtes du Roussillon, Domaine des Foulards Rouges, Frida Rouge - £25.45
From equal parts of Grenache and Carignan. Quite a rounded spicy nose, with quite a full-bodied palate, in an elegant way. A refreshing note on the palate. Surprisingly juicy. A youthful finish.
In conclusion, a lovely range of wines. it was one of those tastings that I really enjoyed.