amarchinthevines

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


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Exploring the 7Cs – Day 6

Cinsault

Version Francaise

 Four or five years ago I drank a bottle of ‘L’Oeillade’ of Mas Des Chimeres, a domaine near Lac Salagou. Oeillade is a local name for Cinsault (possibly a forerunner of Cinsault) and the wine is a light, dangerously gluggable red which was an excellent wine for the summer when I drank it. That makes the wine sound simple but it has complexity too. Incidentally, I tasted the Chimeres range at Millésime Bio and enjoyed them a great deal. Look out for Domaine La Fontude in the same area which is also making lovely wines including Cinsault.

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Mas De Chimeres range including L’Oeillade

That Cinsault wine surprised me as I associated the grape with rosé wines and indeed that is how most winemakers use it in the region. However, since then I have come across more red Cinsault bottles which have excited me. Les Chemins De Traverse is produced by La Baronne in Corbieres (see Day 3) whilst L’Oiselet is a lovely wine made by Yannick Pelletier in the St Chinian area. Incidentally all of  Yannick’s wines are absolutely terrific. Truly a viticulteur to look out for and buy if possible, you would not regret it. Just today (March 30th) I also tasted a really good Cinsault from Julien Peyras called ‘Gourmandise’, part of another excellent range of wines, again look out for him.

All of these Cinsaults are deceptively easy to drink but have complexity too.

I must also add two Cinsaults produced by Mas Coutelou. 5SO is a light version ready for drinking and delicious it is too, including the newly bottled 2014 which I can confirm is excellent.

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Then there is Copains a Cinsault which is again apparently easy to drink but carries real weight and will be at its best in years to come, and if you think I might be being biased read this review from the excellent blog by David Farge (Abistodenas).

Cinsault is a variety enjoying a renaissance as winemakers realise its potential and vinify it to be something more than just a quaffing wine. There is room for both types of wine so give them a go.


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Exploring the 7Cs – Day 3

Corbières

Version francaise

Cabrières, Corbières and there is also Cabrerolles in the Languedoc, easy to get confused. The Corbières is a hilly, wild area to the west of Narbonne and has long been known for its cheap, big, fruity simple wines. However, I have tasted a number of very good domaine based wines in recent months and visited some too. There seems to be a new wave of producers who are raising quality in the region.

Chief amongst these is Maxime Magnon, a winemaker whose reputation is very high with other winemakers in the region and beyond. Based on just one wine tasted personally I could see why there is a buzz around his name and I hope to taste more soon. Another exciting domaine I got to know through a bottle in the well known O Tonneau restaurant in the seaside village of Peyriac de Mer. Domaine Des 2 Anes is based in that village and I was able to taste ore of their range at Millésime Bio, very exciting too. Natural in style and really well made wines, rich with power and elegance.

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Wines of Les 2 Anes, one of my favourite domaines

Le Grand Guilhem, La Baronne and Sainte Croix (gold medal winners at Millésime Bio) are all domaines whose wines excited me at Millésime Bio (see notes here and here) and are worth seeking out.

Another domaine introduced to me by Dominic George at Le Wine Shop in Pezenas is Aonghusa, I have tried 3 of the wines and they are all full, rich and have a hint of spice and of the wild garrigue in the area’s hills. Owned and run by an Irishman, Pat Neville, Aonghusa has quickly become my house wine. I really like the wines so thank you Dominic!

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Aonghusa Laval 2012, delicious

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Aonghusa’s Bentouly 2012

 

My final recommendation would be Pech Latt which I visited last October, a remote domaine near Ribaute producing lovely wines including some interesting sweet wines from Grenache. Long standing organic producers Pech Latt is areliable source of good wine.Picture

There are also some good white wines from Les Cascades though I found the reds a little oaky for my taste, other than the entry level which is good. This can be a region difficult to master but there appears to be a group of producers who are succeeding in doing so and improving the profile of the Corbières. For me this is the most improved region in the Languedoc. The sleeping giant is awakening.

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Peyriac de Mer

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Lagrasse, in the heart of the Corbieres