Friday, May 13, 2011

WINES of the WEEK, 13 May 2011

It had to be Languedoc this week. These three were tasted at Stone, Vine & Sun’s aptly named Beautiful South tasting the day after I judged at the prestige Wines de Languedoc competition, both events held at Sud de France’s swish Cavendish Square premises in London.

2010 La Begude L’Exotique, Haute Vallée de l’Aude, France

I’m not sure whether I should be mentioning this, because there’s very little of it, but who could resist a Languedoc grüner veltliner? (No, not exactly a permitted grape variety anywhere in France.) It’s actually 80% grüner, blended with 20% chardonnay which was barrel-fermented in old oak. The result is delightful – aromatic and peachy with a silky texture and appetisingly fresh, green pear and citrus/lime flavours and finish. 13% abv. I’d drink it as an aperitif to make the most of it. Domaine Begude is owned by James and Catherine Kinglake – Brits.

£11.25, Stone, Vine & Sun

2007 Domaine des Trinités Languedoc, France

An unoaked blend of 70% grenache, 20% syrah and 10% carignan with a nice touch of maturity. Dry, spicy and garriguey, with dried-fruit and red-cherry flavours and soft tannins. Very soothing and relaxing. And inexpensive. 14% abv. I wasn’t wowed by the Trinités viognier, but there’s a very good, more expensive red cuvée called Les Deves (50% grenache, with syrah, carignan and some mourvèdre), which Stone, Vine has at £11.75. The estate is owned by Simon Coulshaw (English), who trained at Plumpton, and his Spanish wife.

£8.50, Stone, Vine & Sun

2008 Domaine du Méteore Saint-Chinian Clos du Bijou, France

First vintage of Méteore’s Saint-Chinian, from vineyards just over the border from Faugères, the estate’s home appellation. A smoky, mineral, peppery blend of unoaked grenache, syrah and carignan, 50:35:15, with lovely, full, red-berry fruit, fine tannins and elegant, spicy length. 14% abv. A triumph.

£9.50, Stone, Vine & Sun