Monday, 29 March 2010

Minervois tasting


It's that time of year again when the Chai at Homps, the shop window of the Minervois, organises blind tastings to select wines for sale for the coming year. There were 223 wines being tasted and about 40 tasters, most of them local vignerons who may, unknowingly, be judging their own wines!

I was tasting AOC reds from 4 - 5 euros and the star wine in the flight came from the Cave Co-operative in Argeliers. Their 2007 Marcelin Albert sells for 4,90€ and with ripe fruit,smooth elegant tannins and a lick of spicy oak, this is great value. Marcelin Albert is feted as the leader of the 1907 vignerons revolt and it is his face that adorns the label. That is the worst thing about the wine. Also good was 2006 Cuvée des Clots from Chateau de Puicheric. I detected a touch of oak here too and plenty of ripe, smooth fruit. Unoaked and brimming with easy, accessible fruit was Domaine Cavailles 2007. Worth stocking up on for summer BBQs. And finally, Les Trois Bloisons 2008 Minervois was fruity, smooth, easy drinking. Simple, yes, but who cares for under 4 euros a bottle?

Kind of the top Minervois reds was Chateau Beaufort, 2003 (I forget the cuvée name). Sumptuous and with lively fruit, despite the age, and an enticing nose of the garrigue.

Spring in the air, so it's good to note a couple of fine rosés. Chateau Ste Eulalie is a perennial favourite and the 2009 does not disappoint. Vibrant pink with oodles of red fruits and a fine backbone of tannin. Paler and more elegant but with lots of round summer fruit mid-palate was Chateau Villerambert 2009. Coup de coeur for the tasters, including me.

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