(2021) Grenache and Syrah is the blend here, in a vibrant and deeply-coloured wine, aromas dry and a touch inky, notes of black and blue fruits and a touch of leafy green herbs. The sweetness of the black fruit is immediately felt on the palate, but it stays medium-bodied and is freshened by its juicy acidity. Tannins are very subdued, but otherwise well-balanced and very drinkable.
(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) Chót, the back label informs me, is the Occitan word for 'owl', often to be found in the trees around the vineyard for this Languedoc rosé. A pale coppery-pink, it has a super-fruity nose, lots of lift with flowers and vivid cherry and quite exotic hints of almost Turkish-delight character. In the mouth it feels quite substantial: there's a bit of tannic grip, plenty of limey acidity, and the red fruit somewhere between tart berries and softer peach, a hint of sweetness flitting around the finish. £10.80 for Daily Drinker club members.
(2020) From the Languedoc, some nice lees ageing is obvious on this Pinot Gris, giving a gentle breadiness of aroma and flavour and more texture than your average Grigio. There's a touch of exotic fruit on the nose as well as spiced apple and fresh pear, the palate showing some weight and mouth-filling texture, more of that white fruit flavour edging into tropical, with good acidity that takes a grip of the finish and sharpens things up. The headline price is a little steep, but knowing Majestic you will pick it up for £8 or £9 regularly.
(2020) Yes, a very nicely pitched Viognier here from Calmel & Joseph's Languedoc range called 'Villa Blanche'. With 13% alcohol it has avoided the tendency of this variety to become a little blowsy if left to ripen to 14% or 14.5%, and yet it is ripe and fruit-filled. Peach and orange dominate the nose, open, inviting aromas, touched with almond, then masses of sweet apricot and nectarine fruit as it strikes the palate. There is a good core of citrus around which this more lush fruit is draped, giving the wine good balance through to the finish. Could work nicely with Chinese or Thai cuisine.
(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.
(2020) Terret Blanc is a traditional variety of the Languedoc in the south of France, though largely forgotten throughout the 20th century and seeing a small renaissance currently. With its modest 12% alcohol this is a useful festive season wine, good with smoked salmon and other fish, or perhaps with soft rind cheeses. Delicate, lightly floral aromas sit atop peach and juicy ripe pear, then the palate has more easy drinking, stone fruit flavours, but edged with a fine line of grapefruity citrus to give definition. Deliciously drinkable.
(2020) Faugères is one of the classic appellations of the Langeudoc. It's easy to forget Faugères, Corbières, Minervois and the rest since the IGP Pay d'Oc became so ubiquitous, but they produce some very good wines from tradtional varieties of the south like Syrah, Grenache and Mourdvèdre. This is smooth, direct and nicely fruited on the nose, with blueberry and damson plum. On the palate it's a savoury and quite concentrated wine, with compact black fruit that stays tightly focused, finishing with good balance.
(2020) Viognier wines made outside of its Rhône homeland often used to disappoint me, but more and more examples are capturing the vivid fruit character of the grape and its full texture, but with excellent freshness and elegance, including this excellent example. From close to Carcassonne, this is aged for a few months on its lees which adds to the texture and hint of yeasty complexity on the nose, but really it is all about surging peach and very ripe pear fruit, just a little floral nuance too. In the mouth it has weight and a limpid, creamy texture, that intense fruit concentration with a little hint of spice, but then fine and lightly saline acidity streaks through to freshn and balance this 13.5% abv wine. A fine expression and only £7.99 as part of a mixed six from Majestic. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.