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Thursday, 23 October 2014

Six St Chinian Wines

A tasting of six St Chinian wines held at Cambridge Wine Merchants for EASCA

St Chinian is a sub-region of Languedoc-Roussillon and one of the oldest winemaking regions in Languedoc. Based at the foot of France's Massif Central, it lies between the Pyrenean foothills and the Med and benefits from lots of sunshine and a degree of coolness from either altitude or sea breezes.

In general, the better wines come from the north of the appellation where the soil is stoney clay, rather than in the south where limestone dominates.

The grapes here are mostly the traditional GSM + C of Languedoc (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and Carignan) and all the reds had a distinct family resemblance - a southern warmth with dark fruits, freshness and concentration.
Mas Champart, St Chinian Blanc 2012 (The Wine Society, Berrys) a blend of numerous southern varieties, it is a sandy yellow. Fresh, clean and citrussy, it is long and poised with leesy, mineral underpinnings. Good.

A versatile, textured food wine with good freshness, this will match with anything from a local starter of roasted peppers, anchovies and chopped boiled egg to roast guinea fowl.

Cave des Vignerons de St Chinian, Le Secret Des Capitelles 2012 (Oxford Wine, Smiling Grape) dark fruits, olive paste and coffee beans. Juicy and fresh with a persistent finish. Something slightly lacking on the mid-palate.
Ch Cazal Viel, Vieilles Vignes Rouge 2012 (WineDirect) dark fruits with spicy black pepper and cloves. Fresh with a supple texture.
Ch Ladournie, Etienne 2011 (Loki) ripe fruits, violets, smokey / peppery and gamey. Firm with a supple texture. Good.
Domaine Marquise des Mures, Les Sagnes 2009 (no details) carbonic maceration of the Carignan and Syrah give this a bubblegum / boiled sweet flavour.
Ch du Prieure des Mourgues, Grand Reserve 2010 (Hedonism) restrained but complex nose of dark fruit and roasted spices; long and savoury with good underpinnings, a supple texture. Deft and assertive. Very Good.
With lots of dark fruit and spice, the reds will all match with red meats and darker game.

My top wine overall was the Ch du Prieure des Mourgues.
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