Learning about wine, vines and vignerons whilst living in the Languedoc


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Whilst in France I had intended to update the blog every week at least and then there was a 2-3 week gap. Apologies, I contracted Covid whilst there and was confined for a week so didn’t get to do one or two things I had hoped to as well as my brain being a little fuddled. Fortunately I recovered (just in time to return to the UK), so one or two updates on recent posts.

Bottling the Coutelou 21s was completed with some of the bigger cuvées such as Classe as well as the one which I am keen to acquire, the new Flower Power. The tanks are, therefore, empty and await this year’s harvest. Matteo and Jeff were busy rearranging steel tanks and topping up barrels when I called just before leaving. Meanwhile Jeff took delivery of a new concrete egg which involved a lot of machinery and manoeuvring to get in place next to the previous one. A two tonnes vessel to be placed on the upper floor was a complicated operation, Flora took a video which you can see here.

I can also update my post on tasting the 2021 wines. In addition to the wines I tasted with our Australian visitors I was fortunate to be present when the owners of Michelin starred restaurant Cyril Attrazic came with some of their chefs and sommelier and Jeff opened one or two other bottles. They were mainly there to taste the spirits of Vins et Spiritueux Coutelou but over a very enjoyable lunch we also tried a new bottling of 5J, the 2016 Carignan Blanc aged in oak barrel for five years. Concentrated, a slight oak character with a tiny amount of planned oxidation but ultimately it is the fruit which wins through those influences to deliver a long lasting wine of real quality. A special bottle. We also enjoyed a new white cuvée TSCC, made from young Terret Blanc, Servant, Clairette Blanc and Clairette Rose vines. There’s a white fruit profile and then a lovely late acidity lifts that fruit, very refreshing. Only 400 bottles were made as this is a small, young plantation in Segrairals. Macabeu B5 -21 is the Macabeu I mentioned, aged in barrique for six months after fermenting in the first concrete egg. Jeff was so pleased with this wine that he ordered that second one. Finally, Apérodrome an apéritif made from white wine infused with gentian and orange peel. Very dry and concentrated it is at its best when mixed with sparkling water and proved to be a delicious, refreshing summer drink. The spirits such as an almond alcohol and gentian spirits were loved by Cyril and the team.

In the post Vineyard Views I explained how Jeff was expanding Peilhan vineyard including a drinking hole for wild animals and birds. He has also bought a parcel next to the Vigne Haute Syrah in La Garrigue vineyard. This will, I understand, be planted with more Syrah on the north facing slope. The land has been cleared and compost has been delivered ready to use. Jeff is concentrating on a few vineyards such as Peilhan rather than having his work spread over a large number, more efficient altogether.

Meanwhile in the month I was there the grapes began to swell and grow. Compare some from the beginning of June to the beginning of July.

It is the summer break for the domaine now, preparations will soon begin for the vendanges which will be quite early this year, the Spring heat having advanced growth and ripening. I hope to be back for some, if not all, the vendanges and will, of course, update you about how things are going.

Author: amarch34

I'm a recently retired (early!) teacher from County Durham in North east England. I am going to be spending most of the next year in the Languedoc leaarning about wines, vineyards and the people who care for both.

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