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The wines of Chapelle Lenclos, Madiran, Southwest France

Owner Patrick Ducournau has 18 ha of vines (set to rise to 26 ha by 2004), and produces two different Madiran wines: Domaine Mouréou and Chapelle Lenclos. He’s perhaps more famous, though, for his role in developing the technique of micro-oxygenation, by which red wines in tank are exposed to a steady but very fine stream of oxygen bubbles. There’s some controversy about what this achieves: some people claim it softens tannins, but other evidence seems to indicate that it develops structure in young tank-matured reds. Either way, it seems to make wines that are unapproachable in their youth – like many Madirans – ready to drink a bit sooner, and it has been widely adopted in the south west. 2.5 ha of his estate are given over to white grapes from which he produces a white Pacherenc, but I didn’t try this here.

Chapelle Lenclos/Domaine Mouréou are part of a group of southwestern producers called Accents & Terroirs (contact@accents-terroirs.com) who have banded together to form a united marketing front. 

UK availability: Les Caves de Pyrene, Lay & Wheeler, The Wine Society, Allez Vins!

Domaine Mouréou Madiran 1999
A blend of Tannat, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Fer Servadou, aged in vats and oak for 24 months. Very deep colour. Intense, savoury nose with some ripe fruit. The palate shows full ripe fruit: quite approachable and juicy with good intensity and ripeness. Very good+

Domaine Mouréou Madiran 2000
Very deep colour. Ripe, intense savoury nose. Rich, chewy, spicy savoury palate with quite high acidity and a lovely juicy character. Approachable now. Very good+

Chapelle Lenclos Madiran 1999
100% Tannat aged for 12 months in oak and 12 months in vat. Rich, ripe savoury nose is brooding and intense. Concentrate palate is quite rich with delicious savoury character and firm tannins. Good intensity here in a vividly fruited, full-on style. Very good/excellent 

Chapelle Lenclos Madiran 2000
100% Tannat aged for 12 months in oak and 12 months in vat. Very deep coloured. Intense spicy nose with an appealing black fruit character. The palate is firm with smooth tannins and vivid savoury fruit character. Appealing ripe style. Very good+

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