jamie goode's wine blog

Monday, October 15, 2007

Interesting whites from the south of France

I love interesting wines. For me, the thrill of wine lies in its diversity, which is at least in part rooted in sense of place. But it's more than this: human choices, such as which grape varieties to grow, how to manage the vineyard, when to pick, and what to do in the winery all play a role in shaping the flavour of wine.

Two interesting wines tonight that rely heavily on human factors for their interesting personalities. Interestingly, the notes I wrote (a day apart) both finished with the same phrase; 'not for everyone'. I'm really glad people are making distinctive wines that will have enemies as well as friends.

Jeff C... Morillon Blanc 2005 Vin de Pays de l'Aude, France
This unusual wine made by Jeff Carrel has a striking personality. From what I gather, the Chardonnay grapes used to make this wine (Morillon is another name for Chardonnay) have been fermented either with some botrytised grapes, or on the skins of botrytised grapes used to make a sweet wine. [Perhaps someone can help me out here?] The result is a deep yellow gold coloured wine with a powerful nose of nuts, honey, vanilla, lemons and apricots. The palate is richly textured with some marmalade tang adding bite to smooth, sweet-edged tropical fruit. There's a rich texture here, and some subtle oxidative notes. Not for everyone - it has almost too much flavour - but I really like it. 91/100 (£8.45 Averys)

Christophe Barbier Les Terres Salées 2005 Vin de Pays des Côtes de Perpignan, France
An old vine Bourboulenc, this is a real treat. There’s apple crumble and honey character, coupled with a touch of vanilla oak, but also some waxy savouriness and a lovely minerally, burnt match reductive note. Indeed, it’s the distinctive reductive character that really frames this wine, and suggests to me that it could age very nicely for five years to a decade. With its savoury complexity, it is not for everyone, but I really like it. 91/100 (£10.99 Averys – the 2004 is £15 in Waitrose)

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