wa2.gif (4241 bytes)

abut9.gif (3095 bytes)

abut12.gif (3207 bytes)
abut10.gif (3636 bytes)

abut11.gif (4039 bytes)


Domaine des Aurelles, Coteaux de Languedoc
La Vigneronne tasting

Domaine des Aurelles is the brainchild of two ex-Bordeaux vignerons, Karl Maguin (who worked at Latour) and Basile St Germain (Haut Brion). It's a relatively recent operation, with the first vintage in 1995.

The winery is located in Caux, while the vineyards are close by in Nizas. Nearest large town is Beziers, and a few kilometres up the road from the well known estate Prieure de St Jean de Bebian, and not too far east of Faugères. There are five parcelles of vines, some 15 ha in all, with average yield 25 hl/ha (this is pretty low, even for the South of France). The varieties grown are fairly typical for the region, with Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah and Carignan making up the red contingent, and Rousanne, Clairette, Terret Blanc and Ugni Blanc the whites (I just tasted the Aurel Blanc here, but a Solen Blanc is planned).

They use new oak for the whites but not the reds: a couple of Bordeaux barriques (from Domaine de Chevalier) were used for the first vintage, but the results weren't great, so now Karl and Basile just use large oak vats to age their red wines. This is an encouraging sign: unfortunately, the first thing many ambitious vignerons do with their top wines is to smother their character with new oak. It's also good to see Carignan being used, a non-trendy grape that can do really well when low yields and old vines are involved. My only slight gripe is the prices. With the Aurel selling for almost £20, it's really battling it out with the big boys.

1999 Aurel Blanc
70% Roussanne/30% Clairette, aged for 18 months in new oak. A pale yellow/gold cold colour. Fresh, appealing nose with some rich toasty oak notes (but this new oak is pretty well integrated). Quite a sophisticated, oaky palate: full flavoured with a herbal edge, some faint waxy notes and a youthful, rounded texture. Very good+

1998 Aurel Blanc
A fuller yellow/gold colour. Full, developed nose with unusual, pronounced herby character with some caramel and butter notes. Palate is buttery, soft and evolved. Full flavoured with lowish acidity, I'd drink this soon. Very good

1999 Solen
35% Grenache, 65% Carignan. Ripe fruity (sweet) open nose¾ a rich, seductive style. There's some ripe, peppery fruit on the palate and a touch of dusty tannin. With good concentration, this is an attractive, fruity, easy-drinking wine. Very good+ (£11.75 La Vigneronne)

1998 Solen
Deep coloured, this has a lovely fragrant nose of sweet fruit, with notes of herbs, liquorice and smoke. The palate is soft, concentrated and slightly spicy. This is a delicious, supple red wine, with just enough structure to hold things together. Very good/excellent

1996 Solen
Pleasant, evolved nose shows sweet fruit with some subtle herby notes. Sweetly fruited palate shows quite a bit of dusty, herby character. Quite Southern Rhône style, this reminds me of a classic Châteauneuf du Pape. Very good+

1995 Solen
Delicious evolved herbal nose shows some earthy, animal-like notes with a hint of caramel. Soft caramel and berry fruit notes on the palate with a spicy, tannic finish. Very southern in character; not fruit driven. Very good+

1999 Aurel
45% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre, 25% Syrah and a dash of Carignan. Striking nose showing rich, spicy, liquoricey notes and herby complexity. Rich, full, concentrated palate with liquoricey fruit and spicy complexity. Quite fruit driven, but with plenty of stuffing and very tasty. Very good/excellent (£17.95 La Vigneronne)

1998 Aurel
Deep purple/red colour, this is very concentrated. Sweet berry fruit on the nose with some liquoricey notes. Soft-textured, ripe palate is concentrated and full, but could do with a bit more structure. Still, quite delicious. Very good+ (£18.95 La Vigneronne)

1997 Aurel
Another deep coloured wine, but a touch lighter than the others. Rather simple nose showing sweet ripe fruit. Nice, full, concentrated palate with a spicy finish. Very much in a Languedoc style, this is a bit simpler than the 1999. Very good+ (£17.50 La Vigneronne)

1996 Aurel
There's a sweet, herbal edge to the ripe fruit. The evolved palate shows herby, spicy fruit with a touch of caramel and a dry finish. Interesting; quite like a Châteauneuf du Pape. Very good

Retailer contact details:

Back to top