Languedoc is, for me, one of France's most vibrant and exciting wine regions - average quality is high, prices are relatively low and the wines, approachable in their youth, are also increasingly age-worthy; what's not to like?
Languedoc wines have the sense of fun of a Prince Harry, but also have a cetain breeding that speaks of Eton, Oxford and Sandhurst - as well as Boujis and Mahiki.
Ch Bas d'Aumelas L'Egerie 2010 Gres de Montpellier 90% Syrah with 10% Grenache, dark purple, complex nose of ripe dark fruit, pencil shavings and spice; more ripe fruit, sweet vanilla, cool mint and fresh acidity. Dense and concentrated with ripe tannins. Very Good. Match with roast red meats.
Chateau Ollieux Romanis, Corbieres Rouge 'Cuvee Classique' 2011 Carignan and Grenache Noir, dark purple; dark fruit, woodsy, slightly sulphurous; ripe black cherry fruit, sweet vanilla and spice. Lively acidity, gentle tannins and a persistent finish. Good. Match with game such as duck or pheasant.
Cabezac Belveze 2008 GSM blend purple with some brick-red hints, aromas of dark fruit, vanilla spice and aged complexity; ripe black cherry fruit, sweet vanilla and herbaceous - with aeration, aromas of gamey old leather and a touch of rosehip develop; custardy texture with soft, very fine tannins. Hint of pleasing grip on the finish. Very Good. Match the age of this wine with gamey red meat, such as venison steak.
Beatrice & Sebastian Fillon, Les Maros 2011 Terrasses du Larzac Grenache with some Cinsault and Carignan; baked dark berry fruit, truffley undergrowth and vanilla spice; firm and grippy finish, slightly alcoholic. Big, warming and slightly jammy - but Colin Smith was much keener on it. Match with a hearty, spicy stew.
Domaine Terres Georges, Racine 2011 VdP Aude old-vine Carignan, ruby purple; raspberries, cherry fruit and a touch of earthiness; more ripe fruit, garrigue herbs, sweet vanilla and peppery spice, fresh, juicy acidity and a savory mid-palate. Lovely soft texture, concentrated, long and persistent. Very Good. Match with roast chicken or guinea fowl.
Chateau La Condamine Corbieres, 2011 dark purple, ripe dark fruit, sweet vanilla, liquorice and peppery spice; more perfumed ripe black cherry and blueberry fruit, garrigue herbs, toasty oak, fresh acidity and soft, perfectly-ripe tannins. Good length, persistence and savouriness. Drinking well now, will improve with a few more years' ageing - or an hour in the decanter. Good. Match with roast lamb with garlic and rosemary.
All the wines here were well made and - the slightly overcooked Maros aside - could easily become staples for drinking in the darker months of the year.
However, the Belveze was especially notable for its aged complexity whilst the Egerie also had a certain class and sophistication that placed it above the others.
All wines provided for review
The Ollieux Romanis range is available from Joseph Barnes Wines who specialise in wines from Languedoc. Also from The Wine Society.
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