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La Clape 2014 – 16.5/20:
65% Syrah, 30% Mourvèdre, 5% Grenache. Aged 12 months, 50% in French oak barriques and 50% in stainless steel barrels. 
Intense dark fruit shot through with nutmeg and clove and pepper. So handsome and grizzled that it almost has a five o’clock shadow! Power coupled with restraint, but there is a heat here that seems possibly a little higher than the 14.5% on the label. But very drinkable

Limoux 2015 – 16.5/20 :
Fermented in barrels and aged nine months in French oak barrels.
Very light nose of spiced apple. Delicious Chardonnay, bit of toast and grilled hazelnuts over a fabulous base of good citrus-soaked ripe white fruit. Really good stuff.

Pic Saint Loup 2014 – 16/20 :
85% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre, 5% Grenache. 12 months in 50% French oak barrels and 50% in stainless steel barrels. 
Gamey, bresaola. Rounded, full, seriously spicy and quite hot. Szechuan pepper rather than black pepper on this Syrah! There’s a menthol-like freshness blowing through the palate and the tannins are tightly meshed, strong but silky. Very clean finish. Not long, and that alcohol really lingers in the throat, but otherwise good Pic St-Loup.

Languedoc red 2015 – 16/20:
50% Syrah, 40% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre. 
Raw red fruit, compact nose. Perfumed and lifted in the mouth, fresh, fresh fruit. A real pleasure. Sappy. All charm and good behaviour. Soprano to the Calmel & Joseph’s Languedoc tenor.

Libre Cours Pinot Noir/Grenache NV Vin de France – 15.5/20:
70% Pinot Noir, 30% Grenache. 
Very translucent, raspberry red. Smells like strawberry coulis. Super-sweet fruit but with a pop of aniseed-ball flavour that gives it a bit of bite and a tiny bit of bitterness at the end. Light ribbons of tannins. Odd blend, but quite fun, best lightly chilled, don’t take too seriously.

Minervois 2014  – 15.5/20:
78% Syrah, 16% Mourvèdre, 6% Grenache. 
Smells of burnt jam, late afternoon barbecue, crushed blue-gum leaves. Very purple fruit on the palate, mouthfilling and with some heat. A little raw. Menthol note pulls through to the finish.

Libre Cours Viognier/Vermentino NV Vin de France – 15/20:
60% Viognier, 40% Vermentino. 
Lively, fruity, but could be anything from anywhere.




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!



WineSpectator – June 2015

For our first participation, La Clape 2012 obtained 89 pts (web only) and Languedoc red 2013 obtained 88 pts :

La Clape 2012 :

A savory, supple red, with notes of beef and sandalwood to the dried raspberry, olive and cherry tart flavors. The spicy finish is clean and fresh. Mourvèdre, Syrah and Grenache. Drink now through 2017. 300 cases made.

Languedoc red 2013 :

A juicy, medium-bodied red, with currant, tea, spice and cherry flavors, accented by a dusting of cocoa powder. The fresh minerality pairs well with the crisp acidity, leading to the herb and spice-tinged finish. Syrah, Grenache, Carignan and Mourvèdre. Drink now through 2020. 1,700 cases made.


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