Posts tagged: syrah

Costieres de Nimes – A Walk in the Vines

Earlier this year, a group of bloggers participated in a very interesting introduction to the Costieres de Nimes.

Costieres de Nimes

As I mentioned in last year’s Secret Wine competition, Costieres de Nimes is an interesting wine country that sits between the Languedoc and Rhone (both geographically and stylistically).  This unique position allows them to create their own style of elegant, rich wines.

A few observations:

  • Mostly red and rosé; syrah, grenache, etc.
  • Most producers I met seemed to have relatively large properties (40+ hectares)
  • about 100 wineries and 400-some growers.
  • Approximately 4500 hectares
  • mixed agriculture and viticulture
  • The vines were at least 3 weeks ahead of schedule in May 2011

I just popped a bottle of Chateau Mourgues du Gres yesterday with my dad.  It was one of my favorite producers from the trip, and the bottle I brought home was just as good as I remembered.  Here’s a video of the winemaker at Mourgues du Gres recorded by Christian Pennaud from Vinblog.

Costieres de Nimes is a region where people can make rich wines with a lot of balance. My kind of place.

I might also note that this is a slightly more agrarian landscape than many parts of the south of France. Beside vineyards, you could find fruit orchards, squash gardens, and other signs that there’s a little more water in the Costieres de Nimes than you might find in the heights of the Coteaux du Languedoc. It’s not ALL garrigue here. And that’s not a bad thing. The ultimate proof that this is an interesting terroir is that we tasted great wine (and enjoyed a beautiful walk too!)

Vignes Toquées

The Vignes Toquées event is a really wonderful opportunity to taste wine in context amidst the vines. You walk along a route that connects six vineyards. Each vineyard has a food station so that, by the end of the day, you’ve had a six course meal, tasted dozens of wines, and seen several different properties.

You really get to roam around where the wine comes from. See the vines. Kick the dirt. Feel the Mediterranean sunshine (and this May, it was out IN FORCE).

The biggest problem with tasting wine this way is that you can get really really hot (and somewhat exhausted). But the producers did an amazing job of keeping wines at temperature and the food was delicious.  And they had lots of water at all the stations.  Seasoned wine tasters know that water can be a rare commodity at some tasting events.  But there was plenty here to keep us hydrated as we walked in the warm Mediterranean sunshine.  Though I will admit that even I started to falter somewhere between the bull meat and the cheese course.  It was a beautiful, sunny day and I was drinking more water than wine by the end of the walk (liters of both! ;D)

All in all, these sort of ballades gourmandes are really awesome. Although you should remember to pace yourself!

Toward the end of the day, I caught up with Daniel Roche who has helped to organize the Vignes Toquees and other ballades gourmandes around the region.  He refused to take credit for how well the event ran, but you can tell he’s very pleased!  “Il faisait beau. Il fasait chaud.  Mais on est comme-même dans une région de chaleur et de soleil donc c’est bien qu’il faisait beau et chaud!”

What kind of people come to Vignes Toquees?

I also love how varied the crowd was. French and foreign. Young and old. People came as couples, family outings, or just a fun day with friends. It’s great to see that the event appeals to such a diverse array of people.

Some of the other bloggers’ accounts

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Domaine Baillat et les WOOFers – Languedoc, je t’aime Episode 57

Je visite Christian Baillat au Domaine Baillat dans le Corbières. Nous dégustons un rosé et un rouge brut de cuve 2009. L’interview est en français. Le reste des vins du Domaine Baillat sont dégustés avec un commentaire en anglais.

C’est un beau domaine en pente avec un vigneron qui traite ses vignes comme un petit jardin. L’entretien de ses vignes montrent son côté soigneux. Par exemple, il est patient avec une jeune parcelle qui a subi un stress hydrique en 2009. On doit la surveiller, et elle aura du retard, mais elle s’en sortira. Il parle de ses selections massales avec des coupures de Bernard Peugot dans le Côte Rôtie. Il parle aussi de la distance des centres nucléaires et des lignes électriques de haute tension. Il se retrouve vraiment dans la nature pour faire un produit vrai et naturel.

Participent également à cet interview des jeunes WOOFers qui travaillent au Domaine pour une courte durée afin de faire l’experience en viticulture et en vinification. C’est un programme très interessant.

Les vins:
Domaine Baillat Rosé 2009, Domaine Baillat, Appellation Corbières Controlée
Brut de cuve 2009, Domaine Baillat, brut qui passera en “Domaine Baillat Rouge 2009″
Clos de la Miro, Domaine Baillat, Appellation Corbières Controlée
Cuvée Emilien 2008, Domaine Baillat, Appellation Corbières Controlée

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La Sauvageonne with John Sanderson – Love That Languedoc episode 42

I headed to La Sauvageonne in the Terrasses du Larzac and tasted some mighty fresh wines coming from the exceptional schist setting of the high Terrasses.

The schist at La Sauvageonne

The schist at La Sauvageonne

We talk about diversity of the Languedoc-Roussillon a lot, and this estate visit helps that conversation quite a bit. Even though it is our third visit to the Terrasses du Larzac area, we’ve got a totaly different style of wine. Furthermore, the climb from the village up to the owner’s house at the peak of La Sauvageonne offers a peak at how much terroir can change in just a short climb in altitude. From the rust-colored Ruffes slate to the nearly lunar rock landscapes of the higher vines, La Sauvageonne makes you realize how wonderfully fast the terrain can change in the Languedoc.

Another interesting feature of this episode is that John is a person who came to work at La Sauvageonne because he loved the wines. And after a few short years working there, he’s been put in charge. That kind of passion turned into profession is pretty fun and makes for a good conversation.

The wines:
Les Ruffes 2008, La Sauvageonne, AOC Terrasses du Larzac
Pica Broca 2008, La Sauvageonne, AOC Terrasses du Larzac
Puech de Glen 2005, La Sauvageonne, AOC Terrasses du Larzac

on the road up

Rusty ruffes colors

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Château Camplazens – Languedoc je t’aime Episode 27

Une jolie petite dégustation au Château Camplazens, nous commençons avec les vins de pays qui sont tous en monocépage. Et ce sont des vins faciles à boire qui démontrent bien la typicité des cépages.

Nous parlons un peu des caractéristiques de chaque cépage dégusté. Et surtout le marselan, un cépage assez particulier, produit d’un croisement du Cabernet Sauvignon et du Grenache.

On comprend pourquoi j’ai un cameraman. J’étais tout seul ce jour là et je suis hors du champ de vision de la caméra la moitié du temps. Mais tant pis! L’important ce sont les vins dégustés.

Je corrige cela sur la deuxième partie de la dégustation qui sera téléchargée très bientôt.

Les vins:
Viognier 2007, Château Camplazens, Vin de Pays d’Oc
Grenache 2007, Château Camplazens, Vin de Pays d’Oc
Syrah 2007, Château Camplazens, Vin de Pays d’Oc
Marselan 2007, Château Camplazens, Vin de Pays d’Oc

Cépages mentionées:
Marselan – Voire un autre épisode ou on déguste le Marselan de Domaine St Martin.

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