Thursday, 24 October 2013

Interesting trio

Of the new wines I've drunk over the past few weeks these three are particularly interesting.

Having tasted La Fontude's wines at the Roquebrun wine festival earlier this year I subsequently picked up a couple of bottles spotted at a Caviste. There is precious little label information, not even some creative encoding. The cork was embossed 2008 and the ABV a potentially refreshing 12.5%. The wine was certainly mature but not past it, despite suspecting the bottle had been at the caviste for some time it seemed none the worse. On opening there was a seriously pleasant surprise - nice ripe mellow and elegant sous bois followed up by a mouth feel and balance that just hit the groove. I wish more wine could be like this. Very little Mediterranean heat and pepper was noticeable, being grown high above the Lac du Salagou does limit the sea's influence. The wine is mainly Cinsault, the 12.5% along with my recollection of the wine festival line up gave that away.

Despite celebrating 20 vintages, Domaine du Poujol is one of those estates I've heard of yet never come across and struggle to place - it's roughly between the Pic St Loup and Terrasses du Larzac. I guess this follows the pattern of many larger estates, with 20 hectares the local market is just too small to warrant effort. Pico 2011 (Vermentino, Carignan Blanc with some Rousanne) was one of many wines bestowing a vintage party and was certainly the most interesting white. It reminded me of serious Italian whites, grown up hints of lime and bitters with a proper mouth grip; aromatic without being overbearing. I actually spent quite a while talking to grower and winemaker Robert Cripps before making the association and fortunately it wasn't one of those 'I wish the ground would open up' moments. I'll plan to visit next year, the one place locally where supplies can be secured.

Domaine de Cantagrel 2008 is a Marcillac, a small area near Rodez I covered back in 2010 here. We visit Belcastel every year and raided the tiny bar/gift shop run by a bubbly character from southern Italy. Amazingly about a third of his wines are Italian with another third plus local Marcillac. All the Marcillacs were under 10€. This one is extraordinary in that it is labelled a co-operative wine, the Cave des Vignerons du Vallon, which makes it by a country mile the finest co-operative wine I recall drinking. The character hasn't been processed out of it and nothing rustic is on show. Delicious fruit; rhubarb is a description I've plagiarised that resonates. In the mouth the fruit is more gentle and lets the wine express itself. Subsequent research indicates this is made from organic grapes grown by the Auréjac family so is far from a typical co-op wine, but credit to the cave for facilitating such individuality. Marcillac is the perfect antithesis to the global fashion of rich extracted ripe fruit reds.


  1. Love Marcillac, a genuinely local wine with real sense of place. I don't know this particular one. I'm looking forward to exploring the south west's lesser known wine areas like Marcillac, Fronton and Jurancon

  2. I wrote a piece about Robert and Kim Cripps a little while back, they are lovely people and keep a low profile, but are well worth visiting. They are about 20-30 mins drive from the centre of Montpellier, heading out north just after Grabels.

  3. Thanks Louise. I would have helped them pick on their last week (16th October I think) but they managed to finish a day earlier.