Pic Saint Loup 2013 – 17/20:
Cinnamon. Cumin. Blackcurrant. Refreshing, lithe, cool – almost minty but much more subtle than that. A tightly woven, fine-stitched, beautifully tailored elegance that glances at savoury-sharp red-berried fruit but is fundamentally so integrated that it becomes almost a pointless exercise to try and peel apart the flavours. It works as a whole. A beautiful wine for top-end food.
Limoux 2013 – 16/20 :
Samuel Delafont calls himself, on the label, an ‘artisan négociant… with a militant approach’, specialising in the crus of the Languedoc. This Limoux is 100% Chardonnay grown on sandstone, clay and limestone at 450 m elevation. Fermented in barrels and nine months in French oak barrels.
Nose laden with linden blossom and Danish pastry. It smells and tastes full-bodied, creaminess of lemon curd, sandalwood spice tingling on the finish.
Languedoc red 2014 – 16/20 :
50% Syrah, 25% Grenache, 20% Carignan, 5% Mourvèdre. All the grapes come from Pic St-Loup, Terrasses du Larzac, La Clape and Minervois. Syrah and Mourvèdre macerated for 30 days. Low-temperature fermentation for the Grenache. Carbonic maceration for the Carignan.
Translucent purple-ruby colour. Slightly gamey nose. Light brambly berries and a winter-hedgerow woodiness that charms with quiet understated ruggedness. Dry-spiced, manicured tannins. As restrained and elegant as afternoon tea at The Savoy. If you’re looking for the rich-fruited sauvage of the Languedoc, this isn’t it.
La Clape 2013 – 16/20:
58% Syrah, 42% Mourvèdre. On clay and limestone. ‘Long maceration’, 12 months’ ageing in 60% French oak barrels and 40% in stainless steel.
Dark ruby, old-blood tinges at the core. Spicy sawdust perfume, a fine layer over a darker layer of blackened plums. Driftwood tannins, soft-lined yet craggy. Charred black fruit shot through with cumin and crushed coriander, and on the finish, a note of rosemary lingering and tingling. Quite light for La Clape, although so fresh!