jamie goode's wine blog: Some Languedoc wines and an evil cork

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Some Languedoc wines and an evil cork

Impromptu tasting of some Languedoc/Roussillon wines, after another bitterly cold day - on which it even snowed here in London, although a little half-heartedly. Pictured is the view outside the front of our house at about 4 pm. This is the reason God created the southern hemisphere, where I am escaping to on Monday.

Just a note on the evil cork (pictured above). It was sealing one of the Languedoc wines, a 2.99 AOC Minervois from Lidl. Now this Lidl wine was actually relatively sound and drinkable, but for a subtle streak of mustiness which I assume is TCA and its related compounds. In other words, cork taint. If you mash up bits of cork and stick them together, there's a very high chance that you end up with low level taint in almost all of them. If, say, one in 20 or one in 30 corks is tainted to above-threshold levels with TCA, then imagine the effect of dispersing this taint among all your corks. It's just a barmy decision to use cheap agglos like this, especially now there are many alternatives at a similar sort of price. Utterly evil.

Anyway, a mixed sort of bag of Languedoc/Roussillon reds on show tonight (partly because of a dodgy vintage, 2002, in the mix), although my enthusiasm for the two neighbouring regions continues. Here are my notes.

Mont Tauch Les Douze Fitou 2006 Languedoc, France
Gently herby, spicy nose with supple red fruit character. Palate is midweight with a nice combination of sweet fruit and spiciness. It's not a blockbuster, but it's nicely savoury. Likeable. 86/100 (6.49 Majestic)
Les Hauts de Forca Real Cotes du Roussillon Villages 2003 France
Quite a dark, dense wine with a meaty, earthy edge to the super-ripe black fruits. Big, ripe, but savoury too, and not imbalanced. Rich, earthy, spicy, tannic palate is very bold, and showing a bit of Brettanomyces character, but in a rich wine like this it works quite well, making a full flavoured, attractively savoury wine. 90/100 (10.99 http://www.therealwineco.co.uk/)
Abbotts Cumulus 2002 Minervois, France
100% Syrah matured in 40% new American oak, 20% old American oak and 40% in old French oak. Indeed, the dominant feature here is the sweet cocount and vanillla of oak lactones, which threaten to dominate the supple spicy fruit. It's tasty enough if you like oak - in fact, it tastes a bit like a new wave Rioja. I can see that there's a big market for this sort of wine, but it's not for me. 84/100 (5.99 Averys)
Mas de l'Ecriture 'Les Pensees' 2002 Coteaux du Languedoc, France
A tricky vintage for Pascal Fulla's Mas de l'Ecriture, which is one of the Languedoc's star properties. Treat this like Burgundy, and open and decant, serving from a Burgundy glass. There's some earthy, spicy complexity on the nose with a hint of undergrowth. The palate is dense with sweet red fruits and some firm tannins. There's a distinctive earthy character. Drink soon-ish. 88/100

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At 10:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ther eare you with some of your problems with the cork!
Are you sure that it's not the wine it self ths is not goood?
Paulo Coelho vaz

At 8:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh come on Paulo - you can see this cork is horrible! And I like cork :-)


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