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


Exploring the 7Cs – Day 7


Since moving down to Margon it has been evident to me that many of my favourite bottles have been based around Carignan. A variety which received so much scorn for many years is now fighting back. The excellent wine writer Michel Smith has been in the vanguard by writing a series of articles called Carignan Story on the les5duvin blog, championing the variety and the people who produce great bottles of it. Moreover he is producing some himself in the Roussillon. (The blog is a must follow incidentally).

I shall start with Mas Coutelou this time as Flambadou is the star of the 2013 vintage at the domaine and is a wine which ages brilliantly as a memorable 2007 testified during a vendange lunchtime. If you opened the link to Michel’s Carignan Story you will have already seen his support for this wine too.

A magnum (even better!). From Amicalementvin website

Jeff himself rates Cyril Fahl’s Clos du Rouge Gorge as one of the outstanding Carignan wines and based on my tasting in November (see Day 5) I would not argue. Domaine d’Aupilhac in Montperoux is another which has championed Carignan, blended in some cuvées or on its own in Le Cargnan which is a lovely wine showing the leathery, dark fruit flavours of the grape.

I must mention the wine ‘Les vignes qu’on abat’ of Domaine La Marfée produced in Murviel lès Montpellier, a deep, dark joyful wine which needs a little patience in cellaring.


Other lovely Carignan bottles tasted include Cébene‘s Belle Lurette and Treloar‘s Le Maudit, plus the cuvées Les Premiers Pas and Fontanilles from Les 2 Anes. Domaine Sainte Croix (see Corbieres, Day 3) produces a couple of Carignan – led wines Magneric and Le Carignan, both express the wild garrigue of the Corbieres hillsides, lovely wines. In the Minervois, Chateau Maris also produces lovely Carignans such as Anciens and (again) Le Carignan.


Finally, I should mention a domaine close to me in Gabian, Cadablès run by Bernard Isarn is starting to produce some really good wines not least the Carignan led Champ de Pierres.


These are all wines I would heartily recommend, but that’s not the end of the story.

Carignan Blanc is fairly unsual in the region but two of my favourite white wines come from this grape and both from Caux where we started. Mas Gabriel‘s Clos Des Papillons is dry, fruity and clean, with a rich texture that fills the mouth, simply delicious. Le Conte De Floris produces Lune Blanche which is just as good and I was happy to find some bottles in the wine bar in Pézenas recently. So Carignan, red and white, is a variety to investigate. Dare I mention that Jeff produces another very good example of Carignan Blanc? Well I did leave him out of my 7Cs so I think it’s only fair.


So those are my 7Cs, villages, areas and grapes which are all a source of great wine pleasure. I could have added more with St Chinian as just one example. Proof that Languedoc Roussillon is a region of great variety, a region of great excitement as winemakers rediscover and redevelop the character of wine in this fabulous part of France. Any feedback is always welcome.

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Exploring the 7Cs (Day 1)

Excellent map of Languedoc Roussillon wine areas by Quentin Sadler whose blog can be found at

Version francaise

After 6 months in the Languedoc Roussillon I have been thinking through my experiences and impressions about the wines of the region. I shall be publishing them one at a time over the next seven days. I have had a few conversations about wines recently centred around some villages, areas and grape varieties and I noticed they had one thing in common, all 7 began with the letter C. I shall be posting one each day over the next week.


This village in the fairly new AOP of Coteaux du Languedoc – Pézenas seems to be the centre of some very good winemaking. I have mentioned Mas Gabriel, owned and run by Peter and Deborah Core, several times in the past as it has long been one of my favourite domaines in the region.

3 terrasses


A recent Gold medal at Millésime Bio for Clos des Lievres 2012 was richly deserved and a sign of the improvement they are making to both their vineyards and wines.

Their property was once part of Domaine La Garance, whose wines also have an excellent reputation, though I have thus far only drunk the white vin de table which was delicious in a natural style. I know that the Cores and Leon Stolarski rate them highly, and I trust their judgements.


The wines of the Conte De Floris were amongst the highlights of Millésime Bio (see my notes) seemingly light in body but powerful and long lasting, delicious wines. I was delighted to find some of the domaine’s wines in Le Vintage, a wine bar in Pézenas to stock up.

I have also enjoyed a couple of wines from Lacroix Vanel based in the village. The estate whose wines I really want to get to know are those of Fontedicto a natural wine domaine whose owner uses horses to plough. I am told they are very good wines. So this small village is home to a number of very good domaines, Caux is a centre of excellence.