Monday 28 September 2009

Mas de Daumas Gassac Blanc v Eminades Silice

The most recent of our many visitors this year was my cousin, a wine-buff who has a good cellar of Bordeaux, port and white Burgundy. This has its advantages - he arrived bearing a bottle of Chateau Palmer 1990 - but, by his own admission, he knew very little about Languedoc wine. We opened quite a few bottles of local wines, purely in the interest of broadening his education you understand.

Two of the most interesting wines were white, both from 2006. The first was Silice, a barrel fermented and matured Sauvignon Blanc from Domaine Les Eminades. I confess that I am not a great fan of oak and sauvignon blanc as they are flavours that are more often at war with each other than not. And tasting this wine when newly bottled only confirmed this opinion. However, with a bit of bottle age, this wine is transformed. It has an intriguing smoky, floral nose and a finely structured, minerally palate with flavours of citrus, toast, smoke. Very pure flavours with an elegant seam of acidity and a long finish. Very good now but has the freshness and concentration to develop over the next couple of years. About 12 euros retail I think.

The 2006 Mas de Daumas Gassac Blanc was another wine that had disappointed in its first youth. I first tasted it about 15 months ago and it was unremarkable. Again, a bit of bottle age has transformed it. It has a gorgeously scented floral, peachy, musky nose and a broad, complex palate of apricot, vanilla, lime. Good balancing acidity and a long finish. Like the Silice, this is a Vin de Pays but it is a blend of Viognier, Chardonnay, Petit Manseng and Chenin Blanc.

On balance, the Mas de Daumas Gassac was the better of the two wines. The nose is lovely and it had more complexity on the palate. But it is more expensive - 35 euros (although half the price en primeur).

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