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.