Languedoc-Roussillon Sud de France Annual Tasting

Manchester
14 October 2015

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This was a tasting at the town hall in Manchester organised by Sud de France, which represents the combined wine offer of Languedoc-Roussillon to the trade and to consumers.

The region of Languedoc-Roussillon is the world's largest vineyard, with an ideal climate and diverse landscape.  A lot of bulk and "ordinary" wine is made here, but it's also a region where a lot of work has gone on bringing in cutting edge production techniques to improve quality and (to a lesser extent) innovation.  

As with last year's tasting, the quality of the wines was notable.  Normally at a larger tasting like this, I'll come across a few wines that are frankly avoidable - at all costs.  Now, there was nothing especially spectacular at this tasting, and indeed there was a great deal of pretty ordinary stuff, but pretty much every single bottle I'd be happy to open and drink again, even the Paul Mas wines, which were by far the weakest of the lot: it might be significant that their wines are on many supermarket shelves.  

It will be evident from the same-iness of the tasting notes below that the wines were, for the most part, much of a muchness, but I think that's a sign of the overall quality: lots of varietally correct, well-made wines.  They might not excite wine enthusiasts and snobs, but so be it. There's lots of very good drinking here, at reasonable prices.

three glasses with Sud de France logo etched on them, one with red wine, one with white wine, one with rosé, even the 

Map of Languedoc Roussillon showing appellations

Anne de Joyeuse

www.annedejoyeuse.fr

Anne de Joyeuse was established in 1929 and through its 500 growers controls some 2,200 hectares, producing primarily red and white AOP Limoux as well as varietal wines in the IGP Pays d'Oc.  

  • 2014 Anne de Joyeuse Chardonnay Original, IGP Pays d'Oc
    50% aged in stainless steel, 50% in oak for 6 months, ⅓ in new oak, ⅓ in 1 year old, ⅓ in 2 year old barrels.
    A slightly spirity, extracted feel to the nose. Nice, easy palate. Carrying that little bit of oak very well. 86/100
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  • 2013 Anne de Joyeuse Merlot Original, IGP Pays d'Oc 
    A touch of smoky oak on the nose. Good, round palate. But not sufficiently more complex to the same producer's Camas Merlot to make it worthwhile. 86/100
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  • 2013 Anne de Joyeuse Cabernet Sauvignon Original, IGP Pays d'Oc
    6 months in oak.
    A good, if straightforward nose. Correct and straightforward palate. But to pick between this and the same producer's Camas Cabernet Sauvignon, the latter offers better value. 86/100
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  • 2013 Anne de Joyeuse Malbec Original, IGP Pays d'Oc
    6 months in barriques.
    Initially a dusty nose with big black fruits, but then there's a streak of fresh raspberry. Very smooth and velvety. Very attractive. Very good character. Works very nicely. 89/100
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  • 2014 Anne de Joyeuse Chardonnay Camas, IGP Pays d'Oc
    A good, light chardonnay nose. Decent palate. Straightforward. Innocuous but pleasant. 84/100
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  • 2014 Anne de Joyeuse Sauvignon Blanc  Camas, IGP Pays d'Oc
    Bright, light, fresh sauvignon blanc nose, though not especially characterful. Lovely palate. Really rounded and packed with sauvignon blanc character. Really rather good. 87/100
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  • 2014 Anne de Joyeuse Viognier Camas, IGP Pays d'Oc
    A bright, fresh, clean nose with good viognier character. Good full palate. Nice expression. Good character. 86/100
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  • 2014 Anne de Joyeuse Pinot Noir Camas, IGP Pays d'Oc 
    A lovely, bright red fruit nose: juicy classic pinot noir fruit.
    Very good palate. Very clearly PN. Nice character. Soft, fresh, fruity, with a nice bit of structure. For a simple wine, this is great stuff. 88/100
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  • 2014 Anne de Joyeuse Merlot  Camas, IGP Pays d'Oc
    Fresh, bright, clean nose. Unexciting palate. Straightforward and simple. 85/100
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  • 2014 Anne de Joyeuse Cabernet Sauvignon Camas, IGP Pays d'Oc
    Bright, fresh, black fruit with a hint of cedar-cigar box. A classic fresh cabernet sauvignon. Nothing earth shattering, but just straightforwardly good and proper. 87/100
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  • 2014 Anne de Joyeuse Malbec Camas, IGP Pays d'Oc
    Black plum, currant and tobacco on the nose.
    Lovely palate. Open and expressive.
    Easy, but with a bit of character. 88/100
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  • 2014 Anne de Joyeuse Chardonnay Ampelosaurus, IGP Pays d'Oc
    Aged in foudres.
    Lovely nose with just a very gentle touch of oak.
    Lovely, rounded palate. Really quite classy.
    A very nice wine. 89/100
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  • 2014 Anne de Joyeuse Pinot Noir Gargantuavis, IGP Pays d'Oc
    Aged for six month in oak foudres.
    More straightforward on the nose than the same producer's Camas Pinot Noir. Light and fresh initially. Then a bit more roundness and fullness. Light structure. Really growing on me. 89/100
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  • 2012 Anne de Joyeuse Very Limoux Chardonnay, AOP Limoux 
    100% chardonnay from 20 year old vines, producing around 50hl/ha. Fermented in barriques.
    Big oaked chardonnay nose, but not overdone. Round, full palate. Big with some pleasant beurre noisette flavours. 87/100
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  • 2011 Anne de Joyeuse Very Limoux Rouge, AOP Limoux 
    50% merlot; 20% syrah; 20% malbec; 10% cabernet franc. Aged for six months in oak.
    An interesting nose: earthy, sweet black fruit. Silky smooth palate. Very focused fruit. Interesting but not fascinating. 87/100
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  • 2012 Anne de Joyeuse Chardonnay La Butinière, AOP Limoux 
    There is lots of big, toasty oak character dominating the nose. Very good, rounded, plush, rich chardonnay. Excellent minerality. 88/100
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  • 2011 Anne de Joyeuse La Butinière Rouge, AOP Limoux 
    50% merlot; 20% côt; 20% syrah; 10% cabernet sauvignon. Aged for 12 months in oak.
    Very good nose - good black fruit with good structure and depth.
    Very good palate. Really good mouthfeel. Lots of character. Rather good. 88/100
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  • 2012 Anne de Joyeuse Lassalle, AOP Malepère
    40% merlot; 30% cabernet sauvignon; 30% cabernet franc from 20 year old vines producing c. 45 hl/ha. Elevage in stainless steel.
    Lovely nose. Nice and complex with layers of aromas. Black and mainly red fruits, with a hint of plasticene.
    Attractive, plush, mouthfilling palate, but retaining a light, fresh elegance. Very interesting layers of flavours. Lots of finesse. 90/100
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Les Caves Richemer

www.richemer.co.uk

Les Caves Richemer in Marseillan is a merger between the wine co-ops of Agde and Marseillan.  Their c. 450 winemakers have around 1500 hectares of vineyards between the Thau lagoon and the Mediterranean.  The wines seem mainly to be bottled under the Henri de Richemer name.  The Terre & Mer cuvée is made from older vines.  Apparently, the Caves' speciality is the Terret grape, but none were on show today.

Richemer range

  • NV Henri de Richemer Terret Blanc Terre & Mer Blanc de Blancs Brut
    Méthode traditionelle.
    A big, full nose with lots of character. A characterful, rather interesting palate. Interesting with full fruit flavours. Very long. 90/100
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  • 2014 Henri de Richemer PiquepoulIGP Côtes de Thau 
    Bright, clean, fresh nose.
    Bright, fresh palate. Clean, but not overly crisp.
    Quite a rounded piquepoul. 88/100
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  • 2014 Henri de Richemer Chardonnay, IGP Côtes de Thau
    A fairly rich, buttery nose.
    Good, rounded palate. Nicely made. Nicely balanced until a touch of hardness appears on the finish. 85/100
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  • 2014 Henri de Richemer Sauvignon IGP Côtes de Thau
    Quite a restrained gooseberry nose.
    Light, rounded palate. Very good balance. Very drinkable. Nice restraint. 85/100
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  • 2014 Henri de Richemer Viognier, IGP Côtes de Thau
    Rich nose with ground nuts and dried apricots. Fresh, very balanced palate. Good depth and viognier character. 87/100
  • 2014 Henri de Richemer Marselan Rosé, IGP Côtes de Thau
    Very pale salmon pink.
    An undistinguished nose, with maybe a hint of strawberry.
    Decent enough palate. Light and fresh. Would be deliciously refreshing on a summer's day. 84/100
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  • 2014 Henri de Richemer Cabernet Sauvignon, IGP Côtes de Thau
    Plush black fruits on the nose. Silky palate. Nicely made. Attractive, yet simple. 85/100
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  • 2014 Henri de Richemer Merlot, IGP Côtes de Thau
    Very attractive, sweet, rounded black fruits on the nose. Simple and clean sweetish black fruits on the palate, with a slight menthol hint. 85/100
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Cerise Cannelle

A relatively new producers' organisation, established in 2011, which was presenting wines from two domaines: Château Aiguilloux in the Corbières and the Domaine des Pradels Quartironi in St Chinian.

  • 2014 Château Aiguilloux Complicité Rosé, Corbières
    70% cinsault; 15% mourvedre; 15% syrah
    Delightful nose of an old-fashioned sweet shop. Lovely freshness in the mouth. A very slight hint of sweetness make it very drinkable. 88/100
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  • 2013 Château Aiguilloux Fantaisie, IGP Pays d'Oc
    80% grenache; 20% syrah.
    Attractive, simple, direct nose with fresh black fruit.
    Light, fresh and tasty. Good balance. Good, easy drinking. 87/100
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  • 2013 Château Aiguilloux Aventure, AC Corbières
    50% carignan; 25% grenache; 20% syrah; 5% mourvedre.
    An attractive nose with black and red fruits, and some herbal spice.
    Lovely, velvety, rounded palate. Very attractive indeed. 88/100
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  • 2012 Château Aiguilloux Cuvée Anne-Georges, AC Corbières-Boutenac
    50% carignan; 30% syrah; 20% grenache
    Black fruits and fresh sawn timber on the nose.
    Very attractive palate. Velvety, rich, plush, with loads of fruit - but nicely refined fruit. Very good indeed. 91/100
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  • 2012 Château Aiguilloux Cuvée des Trois Seigneurs, AC Saint Chinian
    65% carignan; 25% grenache; 10% syrah

    A rather simple nose with some black fruit character. Very good, rounded, open palate. Bright, fresh middle. More tannins and acidity towards the finish. 86/100
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  • 2013 Domaine des Pradels Quartironi Saint-Chinian Blanc
    60% grenache blanc; 40% roussanne

    Very pleasant nose, with some good character. Nice, clean, refreshing palate. There's a bit of richness behind too. A good wine. 86/100
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  • 2013 Domaine des Pradels Quartironi, Chateau Quartironi de Lars Haut Coup de Foudres, AC Saint-Chinian
    50% syrah; 30% grenache; 10% mourvedre; 10% carignan

    An attractive nose with plush black fruits. Nicely distinguished palate. Pretty impressive. Really good mouthfeel and very good character. 89/100
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  • 2011 Domaine des Pradels Quartironi, Château Quartironi de Lars La Cuvée Campanil, AC Saint-Chinian
    55% syrah; 45% grenache. Aged in demi-muid.

    There's some oak immediately evident on the nose. There's also a bit of stink and some big black fruits.
    A smooth, velvety mouthfeel. Very attractive wine. 88/100
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  • 2009 Domaine des Pradels Quartironi, Château Quartironi de Lars La Cuvée Haut Priou, AC Saint-Chinian
    55% syrah; 45% mourvedre

    Attractive nose. Quite tight, closely knitted black fruit.
    Good, open palate. Fairly hefty tannins on the finish. Impressive in its own way, but for me made in too much of a look-at-me-I'm-impressive style. Might come round with time, but I'm not sure. 87/100
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  • 2013 Domaine des Pradels Quartironi, Aux Vieux Gobelets, AC Saint-Chinian
    65% carignan; 30% grenache; 15% syrah

    Bright, attractive nose with very precise, focused black fruits.

    Good palate. Some smoky tobacco and black fruits in the mouth. 87/100
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Château Belvize

Château Belvize is a 30 hectare estate, established in 2000, located in the Aude region, between the villages of Bize and Mailhac.  Wines are certified organic.

  • 2014 Château Belvize Minervois Cuvée Classique
    A blend of marsanne and bourboulenc.
    An interesting nose with vanilla and mirabelles. Good palate. Nicely rounded and integrated. 87/100
  • 2013 Château Belvize Minervois Blanc Cuvée des Oliviers
    A blend of marsanne and vermentino.
    An attractive nose, if a bit undistinguished.
    Good round palate. Nicely done. But nothing remarkable. 86/100
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  • 2012 Château Belvize Minervois Cuvée des Oliviers
    A blend of syrah and grenache.

    Precise, clean black fruit without particular distinction on the nose.
    Rounded, rich, mouth-coating palate. Has a touch of elegance and a hint of greenness which lifts it beyond ordinary. 87/100
  • 2013 Château Belvize Minervois Cuvée des Oliviers
    A blend of syrah & grenache noir.
    A big characterful nose with black fruit and green (bell) peppers.
    Smooth, easy, silky palate. Rather rustic tannins on the finish. 86/100
  • 2012 Château Belvize Minervois Cuvée Spéciale Panama
    (The owner's wife is from Panama, hence the name of this blend of syrah and grenache.)
    A big nose, with plenty of oak evident.
    Equally big on the palate too. Full of ripe fruit and freshly sawn timber. A bit overblown, unless you like this sort of thing. 86/100
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Château des Coccinelles

Château des Coccinelles, established in 1908, is located between the two most famous bridges in the south of France: the bridge at Avignon and the UNESCO world heritage site of the Pont du Gard.

  • 2013 Château des Coccinelles Syrah Coccinelles, IGP Pays d'Oc
    Very focused black fruit on the nose.
    A very nice, straightforward syrah. Uncomplicated. Unchallenging. Just drink, with pleasure. 87/100
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  • 2013 Château des Coccinelles Merlot Coccinelles, IGP Pays d'Oc
    Slightly rubbery black fruit on the nose.
    A decent, simple, easy merlot. Not bad structure. 85/100
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  • 2014 Château des Coccinelles Côtes du Rhône Blanc
    Good restraint and elegance on the nose, with lemony citrus hints and buttery pastry.
    Elegant, fresh palate. Very pleasant indeed. Good length. 90/100
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  • 2014 Domaine des Coccinelles Côtes du Rhône Rosé
    A blend of syrah and cinsault.
    Attractive bright red and black fruits on the nose. Some cherries too.
    Lovely soft, easy drinking. Very open and expressive. Very easy, but with good character. 88/100
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  • 2014 Château des Coccinelles Côtes du Rhône - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Rhône
    A straightforward nose. Good, open palate. Not a great deal of character. 84/100
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  • 2013 Château des Coccinelles Côtes du Rhône Elytres - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Rhône
    A blend of syrah and grenache noir. Elytres is the French for ladybird wings (coccinelles are ladybirds).

    A much bigger, more powerful nose than the straight Côtes du Rhône. Very full nose.
    Full, rich, velvety palate. A huge step up from the straight Côtes du Rhône. Rich and full, but also very elegant. 89/100
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  • 2013 Château des Coccinelles Côtes du Rhône Villages Signargues - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Rhône Villages Signargues
    A slight nose with very restrained black fruit. Silky, fresh, balanced palate. But overall feels simpler than same producer's wines from the main Côtes du Rhône appellation. 86/100
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  • 2014 Domaine Saint Honorat Côtes du Rhône Blanc
    Very big, expressive nose: nutty, fresh minerality with white flowers. Very nicely made: an interesting wine packed with character. 89/100
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  • 2013 Domaine Saint Honorat Côtes du Rhône Rouge
    Attractive, bright nose. Very attractive palate. Nothing exceptional - just a wine not to worry about and just drink. Unchallengingly good. 86/100
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Domaine de la Cendrillon

Domaine de la Cendrillon started producing wine in the middle of the 18th Century when the property was acquired by the Joyeux family in 1750.  It is located at the foot of the Fontfroide hills in the Corbières, in the small village of Ornaisons between Narbonne and Carcassonne.  

  • 2014 Domaine de la Cendrillon IGP Pays d'Oc Atypique - France, Languedoc Roussillon, IGP Pays d'Oc
    40% marselan; 35% merlot; 14% grenache; 10% syrah. Which doesn't add up to 100%, so either one of those numbers is out or there's 1% of something else.

    Very attractive nose.
    Lovely fresh fruit on the palate. Nice elegance. Spicy note on the finish. 87/100
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  • 2012 Domaine de la Cendrillon Corbières Classique - France, Languedoc Roussillon, Languedoc, Corbières
    40% syrah; 30% grenache; 30% carignan.

    You get a bit of immediate grenache stink on the nose, along with some round, ripe, ripe black fruit.
    Very good palate. Fresh, but with some depth and complexity. Nicely rounded and balanced. Soft tannins. 87/100
  • 2011 Domaine de la Cendrillon Corbières Inédite - France, Languedoc Roussillon, Languedoc, Corbières
    Very elegant nose. Black fruit still but balanced with some torrefaction notes.
    Very smooth, silky palate. Very elegant. No woodiness. Very impressive. 91/100
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  • 2011 Domaine de la Cendrillon Corbières No 1 - France, Languedoc Roussillon, Languedoc, Corbières
    60% mourvedre; 30% syrah; 10% grenache from very old vines. Aged for two years in small foudres.

    Very elegant nose, tending towards slightness.
    Quite concentrated, but still fresh and light, yet also with good structure. 89/100

Domaine de Vénus

The Domaine de Vénus was founded in 2003 by a group of 10 close friends passionate about wine. Their aim was to create an exceptional domain on the Fenouillèdes terroir.

  • 2013 Domaine de Venus Vin de Pays Rouge, IGP Côtes Catalanes
    95% carignan; 5% syrah.
    There's a slight murkiness to the black fruits forward nose.
    Good, easy table wine. Would make a good restaurant/bar house wine by the glass. 85/100
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  • 2012 Domaine de Venus IGP Côtes Catalanes blanc, L'Effrontée
    60% maccabeu; 30% grenache gris; 10% grenache blanc
    A curious nose: a bit spirity and extracted. Nice palate, though. Very characterful. Pleasant drinking. 85/100
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  • 2010 Domaine de Venus Côtes du Roussillon Tentations
    60% grenache; 25% syrah; 15% carignan
    Immediately a big, full nose, feeling very expressive.
    Good structure, without being overly tannic. It has a nice spicy bite. Works very well. 88/100
  • 2010 Domaine de Venus Côtes du Roussillon Villages Passions
    Deep black fruits on the nose - very rich. Gorgeous silky palate - a nice weighty silk. Lovely balance and elegance. Good depth. Nice wine. 89/100

Domaine Pech de Lune

Domaine Pech de Lune, established in 2006, is based in the small village of Villespassans in the Hérault, some 30km west of Béziers.  One of the smallest producers at this tasting, with just 9 hectares of vineyards. No chemicals are used, and the grapes are harvested by hand.

  • 2013 Domaine Pech de Lune Saint-Chinian Mare Nectaris
    60% syrah; 25% grenache; 15% carignan
    Very deep black fruits on the nose, with a hint of stink.
    Pleasant. Rather separate tannins. 84/100
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  • 2012 Domaine Pech de Lune Saint-Chinian L'espace d'un moment
    70% syrah; 30% grenache
    A more rustic nose than the Domaine's Equinoxe from the same year. A simpler, more basic wine. Nothing wrong with it and perfectly drinkable. Just no particular interest. 85/100
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  • 2012 Domaine Pech de Lune Saint-Chinian Équinoxe 
    40% syrah; 30% grenache; 30% carignan
    Very attractive nose - nice herbal lift to black fruits. Lovely ripe fruit on the palate. Very balanced. Nice depth. Not earth-shattering, but very good drinking. 87/100
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Esporzhian

Esporzhian provides sales and marketing services to individual wine-growers and to cooperatives.  They are responsible for creating the "So Bio So French" brand - an organic brand of wines primarily from the the south of France.  It is this range that were on show today.  Unfortunately, I didn't take photos of the back labels, so am not sure whether individual producers are identified, or whether it all works on a cooperative-style basis.

  • 2013 Esporzhian Chenin Blanc IGP Haute Vallée de l'Aude So Bio So French
    Big, rather extracted nose. Lemony, with hints of wet dog.
    Very pleasant palate. Good weight in the mouth. Good balance. Lots of character. 87/100
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  • 2013 Esporzhian Limoux So Bio So French
    55% chardonnay; 30% chenin blanc; 15% mauzac
    Bright, fresh stone fruit nose.
    Lemony attack. Nice creamy middle and finish. Very attractive. 89/100
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  • 2014 Esporzhian IGP Haute Vallée de l'Aude So Bio So French Rosé
    A medium salmon pink. Lovely fresh strawberry nose. Bright, sweet strawberry fruit on the palate. A touch of hard acid on the finish. 85/100
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  • 2013 Esporzhian Pinot Noir IGP Haute Vallée de l'Aude So Bio So French
    Attractive PN nose, which feels a bit new world with some beetroot and smokiness. Lovely, fresh, young PN. A touch of greenness on the finish. 86/100
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  • 2013 Esporzhian IGP Haute Vallée de l'Aude So Bio So French
    30% merlot; 40% cabernet franc; 30% syrah.
    Rather stinky-drains nose with some rubbery notes.
    Undistinguished, and there's a touch of drains on the palate too. 81/100
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  • 2013 Esporzhian Limoux So Bio So French
    40% merlot; 30% syrah; 30% cabernet franc.
    An unexciting nose. Very straightforward.
    A good, simple Limoux. 84/100
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Hecht & Bannier

Founded in 2002 by Gregory Hecht and Francois Bannier, Hecht & Bannier is a boutique negociant based in Aix en Provence.

  • NV Hecht & Bannier Crémant de Limoux Brut Réserve
    A slightish nose with hints of black fruit and of stone fruit and peach kernels. A good, clean palate. Fairly straightforward, but good. 85/100
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  • NV Hecht & Bannier Crémant de Limoux Brut Réserve Rosé
    A blend of chardonnay, chenin blanc, mauzac and pinot noir.
    Attractive nose with blackcurrant and blackcurrant leaf, and some nuttiness.
    Good palate. Crisp and minerally. 86/100
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  • 2014 Hecht & Bannier Languedoc Blanc
    A blend of piquepoul blanc, roussanne and grenache blanc.
    Big, bright, fresh, attractive nose - a very interesting nose. Minerally, light stone fruit and marine air.
    Fresh, crisp palate. Easy, but with a nice character too. Rather good. The roussanne character comes through well. 89/100
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  • 2014 Hecht & Bannier Languedoc Rosé
    A blend of syrah, cinsault and grenache noir.
    Mid salmon pink colour.
    Slight nose.
    Slight strawberry fruit. A bit hard.
    Not a lot to recommend it. 82/100
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  • 2014 Hecht & Bannier Languedoc Rouge
    Syrah-grenache-carignan
    Really nice black fruits nose. Nice and integrated.
    Round and full palate. Full of lovely fruit character. Very interesting and characterful. 89/100
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  • 2012 Hecht & Bannier Faugères 
    Syrah-mourvedre-carignan
    Big black fruits on the nose - very masculine. Some bloodiness too.
    Very smooth & elegant on the palate, yet also very rich. Chocolate and coffee notes come to the fore on the finish. 86/100
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  • 2011 Hecht & Bannier Saint-Chinian
    Syrah-grenache-mourvedre
    Meaty, yet elegant nose: nicely integrated. There's also a very floral perfume to it too.
    Very pleasant palate: refined and interesting. Good concentration of ripe fruit and also a bit of fresh greenness. 89/100
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  • 2011 Hecht & Bannier Côtes du Roussillon Villages
    Grenache-syrah-mourvedre
    Quite restrained, juicy black fruit on the nose.
    Silky texture. Elegant. Ripe fruit, yet elegant. 88/100
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  • 2010 Hecht & Bannier Maury
    Perfumed black fruits on the nose. This is a rather good, very attractive rich, sweet vin doux naturel. Chocolatey, blackberry, tarragon/anise notes.
    Quite precise & focused on the palate, though a bit spirity on the finish. But that's in check. Very long. 89/100
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  • 2013 Hecht & Bannier Minervois
    A blend of syrah, grenache and carignan, aged for one year in a mix of demi-muid, foudres and fûts.
    Great nose - fruit tempered by judicious oak.
    Lovely palate - velvety with lots of black fruit and a hint of chocolate. 88/100
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Les Domaines Paul Mas

In the 15 years since it was established in 2000, the Domaines Paul Mas has become a big player, with a mind-boggling range of labels, including own-label wines for many UK high street outlets: for example, they are responsible for the Arrogant Frog label.  Jean Claude Mas is the owner and winemaker, and his name appeared on all the bottles on show today.

In all they have 10 estates, covering 550 hectares of vineyards and 40 varieties, spread across the Languedoc.

These were the least interesting wines on show today, and I couldn't summon up the enthusiasm to return to taste their reds.

  • 2014 Les Domaines Paul Mas Vermentino Jean Claude Mas, IGP Pays d'Oc
    Virtually no nose.
    Light & fresh. OK. Any character only comes through on the finish. 83/100
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  • 2014 Les Domaines Paul Mas Chardonnay Jean Claude Mas, IGP Pays d'Oc
    Fresh, remarkably green chardonnay nose. Light and easy. Innocuous. 83/100
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  • 2014 Les Domaines Paul Mas Jean Claude Mas Piquepoul Frisant Blanc de Blancs, IGP Pays d'Oc
    55% piquepoul blanc; 45% chardonnay
    No nose.
    Light, fresh palate. More pétillant than sparkling.
    Innocuous. 83/100
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  • 2014 Les Domaines Paul Mas Jean Claude Mas Blanc Elégance, IGP Pays d'Oc
    A blend of grenache blanc, vermentino, chardonnay and sauvignon.
    A rather slight nose.
    Not bad on the palate. Good finish.
    It's an interesting blend making a decent wine. It would make a good house wine in a bistro/café. 85/100
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Rocca Maura

The Rocca Maura cooperative is located on the right bank of the River Rhône in the eponymous Roquemaure.  It was founded in 1922 and brings together some 50 winemakers and 370 hectares of vineyards from the villages of Roquemaure, Montfaucon, Pujaut, Sauveterre, Saint Génies de Comolas, Tavel, Saint Laurent des Arbres, Saint Victor La Coste and Lirac.  

  • 2014 Rocca Maura Chardonnay IGP Gard
    A big, open, fresh chardonnay nose with very good fruit. But a rather slight palate, with notable acidity on the finish. 85/100
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  • 2014 Rocca Maura Grenache Blanc IGP Gard
    Attractive nose. Buttery, herby, melony.
    Very attractive palate. Fairly full with good depth and a pleasing creaminess. 89/100
  • 2014 Rocca Maura Viognier IGP Gard
    Lovely, bright, subtle viognier nose.
    Very good palate. Light, clean, bright flavours. It's only a fairly simple, straightforward viognier, but a very good example. 88/100
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  • 2014 Rocca Maura IGP Gard Effet Mer Rosé
    A very, very pale pink.
    Light strawbery-peach fruit on the nose.
    Nicely rounded, easy and in its own style. Very feminine.
    Drink in the garden in the sun. By the gallon. 87/100
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  • 2014 Rocca Maura IGP Gard Rosé Rocca Maura
    80% grenache noir; 20% cinsault
    A very pale pink. Bright and floral nose with some perfume.
    Light and fresh on the palate. Easy. Good character though. Not just simplicity. Very pleasing. 87/100
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  • 2014 Rocca Maura IGP Gard Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon
    50:50 merlot:cabernet sauvignon.
    A rather straightforward, uncomplicated cabernet sauvignon dominated nose.
    Good, round palate. Well made. Uncomplicated, easy drinking. Very good. 87/100
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  • 2014 Rocca Maura IGP Gard Effet Mer Rouge
    Not listed on Rocca Maura's website, which only has a rosé Effet Mer. But this was definitely red, a blend of marselan, grenache and carignan.
    An attractive nose with black and red fruit. Very attractive with lots of interest.
    Very good palate. Full of layers of interesting flavours. A slight hint of bubblegum on the finish. Lovely wine. 89/100



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andrew@andrewstevenson.com

Last updated: 29 December 2015