Friday, 24 April 2009

La Jasse Castel, Montpeyroux

One of my favourite wines at the moment comes from Montpeyroux, one of the Languedoc's quality hotspots. The village of Montpeyroux has its share of top producers - Domaine Aupilhac, Alain Chabanon and Domaine Aigueliere are the best known. La Jasse Castel is a fairly recent arrival to Montpeyroux. Pascale Marcillaud and her husband Laurent made their first vintage in 1998 and have just 8 hectares of prime, low yielding vineyards on the slopes of Mount Baudile. 

Pascale's 2006 Coteaux du Languedoc is a deep, inky purple colour and has an explosively fruity nose of blackberries, cherries and juniper. There's a definite whiff of the garrigue here. It tastes similarly luscious and fruity with black cherries, licquorice, and tarry flavours nicely framed by ripe yet grippy tannins. This wine couldn't come from anywhere but the Languedoc and I love it for that. 9 €/bottle.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Saint Aphrodise - white wine awards

Good red wines abound in the Languedoc but it is trickier to find a really good white. The Saint Aphrodise concours, held in Beziers every year, aims to address this as it is a wine competition for white wines only. I was part of a 4 strong MW team who was invited along to help judge nearly 200 white wines which came from all over the Languedoc. 

There were several prizes awarded and, although we didn't always agree with our fellow judges, here are a couple of the winners worth seeking out.

The MW prize went to a 2008 Viognier Vin de Pays d'Oc from Domaine St Martin des Champs in Murviel les Beziers. This had an enticing minerally nose and a lovely rich mouthfeel with flavours of peach and clove. It also won the gong for the best vin de pays d'oc.

An lively, nettle and passion fruit Sauvignon Blanc from Domaine la Madeleine St Jean in Marseillan was selected by the Tables Gourmandes panel as a great restaurant wine.

The top prize for the St Aphrodise trophy is selected at public tastings around Beziers this week. The kick off is between Chardonnay 2008 from Domaine de la Croix Belle in Puissalicon and the CuvĂ©e Point du Jour Chardonnay Viognier from Domaine Izard in Montady. So head on over to Beziers (La Maison des Vins, Beziers or Les Caves Paul Riquet) toot sweet to have your say!

photo courtesy of

Friday, 3 April 2009

French wine in figures

The latest stats from the International Wine Organisation predict that world wine production will be 260.4 million hectolitres in 2008. However the french harvest will be one of the lowest for 16 years at a mere 44 million hl. Part of the explanation behind this drop in production is the grubbing up of vineyards in France. 23,000 hectares of vines were ripped up between 2004 and 2008, many of them in the Languedoc. 

Just drive through the countryside for a few kilometres and you will see abandoned vineyards or piles of ripped up vines, waiting to be burnt in the fields or taken away for fires or barbecues.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

USB wine - the solution for the Midi wine lake!

 I've just been reading a student essay on how the internet has changed the wine world and it made me think about what the internet is (or could be) capable of. So here it is folks. USB Wine, a revolutionary new wine concept which could one day be yours for only €9,95

It is truly amazing. USB wine cuts out the middle man (or woman) and delivers wine straight to your computer. To see the video click here

Or view it on Youtube with subtitles and read the comments.

Thanks to Gee who sent me the link in the first place.

Back to serious wine reviews next post, I promise.