(2022) In the Languedoc, the Coteaux Cabrerisse is one of many small and less familiar IGP regions. This blends the cross-breed variety Marselan, a speciality of the Languedoc, with Merlot and Syrah. A fairly generic southern French blend nose, which means a bit of plum, a bit black berries and a touch of rustic earthiness and spice. Mouth-filling and substantial on the palate, there's a plush sweetness and some weight, though tannins are a little chewy. Quite a big mouthful, in need of some red meat protein perhaps.
(2022) From the tiny Languedoc IGP of Côtes de Céressou. The nose is rich with ripe cherry and red plum fruitiness. There's an undertow of chocolate or cocoa powder. In the mouth a similar profile of quite sumptuous, easy-going wine, focused on fruit with a soft structure, tannins mellow, acid a little more spikey, just a little spice in the finish.
(2022) Mostly Syrah with Grenache and Carignan from he IGP Val de Montferrand, and relatively high altitude vineyards. There's a fresh, tobacco smoke and slatey/herbal character on the nose. That gives a very crisp character, matching with a sleek black fruit on the palate. Dry with a little chewy bite to the palate through tight tannins and acids. Nicely done.
(2022) From the IGP Pays de Cucugnan in the Corbières area, and a property run by Alexander Sichel, this is Grenache, Syrah and Carignan from vineyards at 350 metres in the Vallée de Cucugnan. It's a dark, brooding, but ultimately very plush and fruity red, creamy tannins and moderate acidity giving backbone. Peppery spice flits around aroma and flavour in a robust but very approachable red.
(2022) From their vineyards in Pézenas, Olivier Coste produces a range of wines with very contemporary names and labels, but really quite classic composition. This is 100% Carignan, grown on limestone and clay with temperature controlled fermentation and ageing only in concrete vats. I thought this wine suited being lightly chilled, which enhanced its fruitiness, accentuating the raspberry and blackberry quality on the nose, which also shows some spices and smokiness, and gives a refreshing clarity on the palate. The tannins are fairly robust which, along with acidity and plenty of oomph from the 14% alcohol and concentrated character, makes for a big mouthful of wine that certainly needs food to show at its best.
(2022) Named because of the vertiginous vineyards of this region in Languedoc, it is a blend dominated by Syrah. Unoaked. Deep and vibrant in colour, a very buoyant, lifted floral and peppery black fruit nose, the palate crisp and fruity, lots of fruit-skin grip and tang, bitersweet and finishes dry with a nut husk character, but somehow juiciness too.
(2021) Chateau de Figuières has its vineyards near the top of the slopes of La Clape, one of the most important 'Crus' of the Languedoc region. With a strong maritime influence (the sea is only five kilometers away), soils are marl and limestone, and yields kept very low at 30hl/ha. This wine blends 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah, vinified and aged in stainless for nine months. Crimson/garnet in colour, there's a fine sense of the garrigue, of herbs and flowers here, refined aromas that are cool and gently dusty. In the mouth the fruit is ripe and sweet, but stays very lightly-balanced, enough creaminess and depth, but with agility, very juicy black fruit-skins grip of fine tannin and acidity, in a really lovely wine that is expressive and attractive. A UK listing is being sought for this wine at time of review.
(2020) This blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah comes from Chateau de Figuières' 70-hectare property, the vineyards all within the La Clape appellation, one of the Languedoc's most interesting with its marl-limestone soils and proximity to the ocean. Made in stainless steel, it presents a beautifully creamy, smooth profile of black fruits, dusted with a fine layer of violet and lavender. On the palate there's terrific juiciness, the tangy, sour black cherry edge to the acidity and the firm but fine tannins wrapped around the core of sweet black fruit. A lovely wine which the producer hopes to bring to the UK. Around 7.50€ in France at time of review.
(2020) From one of the 'Crus' of the Languedoc region and limestone soils, this is a Châteauneuf-du-Pape-like blend of Mourvèdre, Grenache and Syrah, aged 12 months in barrel. There's real depth and spice-touched glossy black fruit on the nose, meaty yet at the same time touched with floral and garrigue perfume. Sweet, svelte black fruit coats the palate too, with chocolate-rich tannins and black cherry acidity, some smokiness and peppery spice, in a really lovely wine.
(2018) A blend of Grenache and Syrah made in stainless steel, this is all about the dense and deep black cherry and clove-infused plum compote fruit on the nose, moving smoothly through to the palate where a very nice axis of creamy but firm tannin and juicy cherry-skin acidity cuts through the creamy ripeness of the fruit. Tangy, quite spicy and long, the palate has it's serious side for sure with the extraction nicely judged to give a bit of real grip.