Friday 13 March 2009

Judging Minervois - again

This Thursday was the last day of tastings for selection for the Chai at Homps. Yet again I was tasting mid to up-market Minervois, which covered a wide price range from €5 - 15 a bottle.  There was a huge range of styles within this range and a couple of the wines were marked down for showing high volatile acidity.

The best wine in the flight was from a domaine I knew little about, Chateau Canet. The helpful back label explained that it was made by a Dutch/ New Zealand couple who settled in the Languedoc after 17 years in Burgundy. Their website is very helpful. L'Evangile is their top wine, made from 90% low-yielding Syrah and aged in new; 1 year and 2 year old oak. It was deep coloured with an appealing oak and garrigue nose with appealing bramble and cassis fruit on the palate. The tannins are ripe and although the oak is very dominant now, it has the fruit to support it. Estimated drinking time 2010-15+

I also liked 2007 Minervois from Vincent Enaud at Domaine Monastrel in Pouzols Minervois. I first came across this domaine a couple of years ago and was impressed by the concentration and balance of the wines. The 2007 was very richly fruity with a distinct oakiness and licquorice character which, together with the alcohol, gave an overall impression of sweetness.  Still young, this will improve over the next 5 years. 

For sheer fruitiness, Nuit Noire from Domaine de Parazols, stood out from the crowd. It was just brimming with summer fruits with an appealing mid-palate richness. Very drinkable. This domaine also makes good Cabardes.

Other wines of note included a good honest Minervois from Chateau de Calamiac. Good value at €5 a bottle. The Cuvée Tradition from Rouviole was a classic, garrigue scented Minervois at 7,50. And slightly more expensive at €8,50 was a robust, leathery brew from Chateau de Vergel, Cuvée Costebelle.