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Saturday, 22 December 2012

The Best of Pays d'Oc IGP Tasting and Dinner‏ at Gauthier

I have long argued that New World is more a stylistic observation than a designation of origin.

New World-style wines are typically (but not exclusively) ripe, expressive and well-made in a modern sort of way.

Classic, traditional regions have a name and a heritage to preserve, whereas the New World has nothing but the juice in the bottle to play with, so out of necessity, will tend to take a few more chances.

Languedoc is France's New World; historically the source of Europe's wine lake it has reinvented itself as a producer of characterful and well-made wines - and, like Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, its winemakers are often by immigrants to the region if not the country who bring fresh thinking and a degree of ambition.

At Gauthier restaurant earlier this week, I attended a tasting and dinner for Pays d’Oc IGP, presented by Matthew Stubbs MW who is based in the region and Roberson Senior Buyer, Mark Andrew.

The wines are reviewed individually below, but overall, they were all good to very good indeed.

Another of my basic tenets is "trust the palate" and it was clear that these wines had been selected by a very discerning taster - on a technical and stylistic level, the wines were all very accomplished and composed with no rough edges and nothing out-of-balance or lacking.

In general, the whites were all delicate and elegant whilst the reds were characterful.

Mas des Dames Blanc 2011, Roberson (£12.95) organic, old vines, 100% Grenache Blanc, grown on limestone and aged in old oak: smokey-toasty nose, melon fruit and white flowers; creamy, oatmealy palate with ripe melon fruit and citrus acidity. Long on palate, savoury depth and persistence on the finish. Chablis-esque.

Domaine Paul Mas, Mas des Tannes Reserve Blanc 2011 (€4 ex cellar) 60yo vines, organic, barrel fermented and oak aged with little filtration, 100% Grenache Blanc: delicate floral aromas, melon fruit, citrus and pith. Ripe melon fruit on the palate, good savoury depth, linear acidity. Mouthfilling and creamy, fresh and clean, long palate, persistence on the finish.

Domaine d'Aigues Belles, l'Autre Blanc 2011 (€6 ex cellar) Roussanne / SB / Ch blend from near the Rhone border: butterscotch and coffee grounds on the nose; ripe, full and fat on the palate with more butterscotch, stone fruit and a freshness from altitude. Creamy and waxy with good mouthfilling acidity and persistence on the finish.

Gerard Bertrand, Cigalus Blanc 2010 (€27 ex cellars) Ch/Viognier/SB biodynamic blend from Corbieres: floral sweetness and hints of late-harvest / botrytis; floral, fat and blowsy on the palate but cut through with good acidity, apricotty with aromas of roasted peach skins, depth and persistence

Domaines Paul Mas, Vermentino 2011, Majestic (£7.99) fresh with good acidity, melon and white flowers, good texture and depth, leesiness and tangy citrus. Good value.

Domaine Begude, Pinot Rose 2011, Majestic (£8.99) Pinot Noir rosé grown at 500m altitude: pale salmon-pink, toasty nose, linear acidity, ripe red berry fruit, savoury persistence and creaminess

Domaine Gayda, Figure Libre Cabernet Franc 2010, Noel Young (£17.75) floral nose, yeasty with dark cherry fruit, woodsy leatheriness, ripe spice and savoury persistence. Garrigue herbs, black olives and well-defined structure, with muscular finish.

Domaine de Brau, Pure Petit Verdot 2011, Vintage Roots (£12.50) grown at c. 400m altitude in Cabardes: spice, dark bramble fruit, sweet vanilla and white pepper. Ripe, voluptuous, velvety palate of pure, sweet fruit, sweet vanilla and white pepper with dark pencil shavings and a sour cherry rasp.

Domaine de Gourgazaud, Quintus 2010 Slurp (£12.25) Syrah/Mourvèdre from 40yo vines: toasty nose of dark berry fruit and coffee grounds with sulphurous notes. Soft, inky, mouthfilling tannins, dark berry fruit, long on the palate and persistent.

Le Grand Noir, GSM 2010, Roberson (£7.95) GSM blend juicy, bright fruit, pure red and black cherry, garrigue herbs and grippy tannins. Distinctly middling and the one bum note of the night.

Les Vignes de l'Arque, Saveur d'Automne 2010 Leon Stolarski (£16.50) a delicious 100% Viognier sticky; apricots, honey and floral aromas; rich yet cut through with good acidity.

Recommended Wines
Top white was the Mas Des Tannes Reserve Blanc.
Top red was the Gourgazaud Quintus.

Other related articles
Mas des Dames, "La Diva" 2007 - Roberson Wines
Domaine Begude
Domaine Treloar dinner
Languedoc Wines with Joseph Barnes

Pays d'Oc - website
Roberson - website, twitter
Matthew Stubbs MW - LinkedIn, Facebook
Gauthier - website, twitter

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