wa2.gif (4241 bytes)

abut9.gif (3095 bytes)

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

abut11.gif (4039 bytes)


Leading wines of the Languedoc
36 of the best, tasted and assessed

The Languedoc seems to have come of age. No longer is it a sea of cheap wine with just a handful of quality producers. It’s now a slightly smaller sea of cheap wine but with dozens of serious, ambitious producers. Looking down this list, many of the producers here had their first vintage within the last five years. Things are indeed moving fast here. 

This tasting showcased the portfolio of Grand Cru Wines, a new company set up by Mike and Liz Berry of La Vigneronne to act as UK agents for some of the wines that their shop customers have been enjoying for years, plus a few newcomers. They really have cherry picked some of the best names in the Languedoc.

Plus points? Well, almost all these wines showed great concentration with delicious fruit ripeness. And there’s the aforementioned explosion of quality-minded domains. At the top of the tree sits Grange des Pères, which shows lovely balance. A few gripes, though. First of all the prices. Too many of these wines are hovering around the £20 mark and above – they’ll be a hard sell at this price. This is probably because the wines are hand-made with great attention to detail, from low yielding vines. But there’s possibly a speculative element here, also. £20 is a lot of money. Second, the lack of acidity in many of the reds is noticeable – too many are leaning to the sweet, soft, overripe end of the taste spectrum. Overall, though, the quality is consistently high. Scores are out of 100, together with my standard verbal rating scale.

Contact details:
Grand Cru Wine LTD, Tel: 0033 490 47 1321, email: gcw@wanadoo.fr 
or La Vigneronne, 105 Old Brompton Rd, London SW7 3LE, lavig@aol.com

White wines


Domaine de Beck Viognier 2001, Vin de Pays de Gard
A new outfit, Château de Beck was purchased by industrialist Jean-Francois Herbinger in 2000. The wines are vinified with the assistance of Eloi Durrbach of Domaine de Trévallon. This Viognier is an exciting white wine. A yellow gold colour, the intense fruity, herby, apricotty nose is distinctive with some breadiness. The palate is rich textured and quite wonderful with soft but intense fruit. Very good/excellent (£16.95)


Mas Jullien blanc 2001 Coteaux du Languedoc
A blend of Viognier, Grenache Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Cinsault Blanc and Terret Bourret, with some oak. A lovely savoury white wine. Refined creamy nose displays lovely peachy fruit. Very crisp, almost minerally palate has high acidity. Striking. Very good/excellent (£14.95)


Domaine de Rapatel Grande Signature Blanc 2000 Costières de Nîmes
Gerard and Christine Eynaud have 15 ha of vineyards, and before Gerard took over here his father used to sell the grapes to the cooperative. This white is made of Roussanne and Bourboulenc, with no oak. Pleasant refined nutty nose leads to a palate showing rich, creamy, honeyed peachy fruit. Lots of class. Very good+ (£9.50)


Roc d’Anglade Blanc 2002 Vin de Pays du Gard
Chenin Blanc mainly, with some Grenache Blanc. Yellow gold colour. Lots of concentrated savoury, herby fruit with a waxy edge a striking wine. Very good+ (£15.95)


Château de Beck Blanc 2001 Costières de Nîmes
A blend of Viognier, Roussanne, Grenache Blanc, Bourboulenc and Ugni Blanc, with six months in barriques. Yellow gold colour. Striking savoury herbal nose with a distinctive nutty, almost yeasty edge. Boldly textured, nutty palate. Quite high volatile acidity? Very good+ (£20)


Domaine les Aurelles, Aurel Blanc 2000 Coteaux du Languedoc
70% Rousanne, 30% Clairette, fermented in barriques. Yellow gold colour. Lovely peachy, nutty nose, with some toastiness from the oak in the background. The palate is savoury and concentrated with soft, floral edged fruit and low acidity. Very good+ (£19.50)


Château Grande Cassagne Blanc 2002 Costières de Nîmes
A blend of Roussanne and Grenache Blanc. Lovely soft floral nose is quite pretty. Good density of soft, rounded fruit on the palate.Very good+ (£6.75)


Dominique Laurent Chardonnay 2000 Vin de Pays d’Oc
From the Limoux region. The distinctive toasty nose shows classy oak – and plenty of it. Firm, toasty palate with good acidity. Very good if you don’t mind oak. Very good+ (£8.95)


Domaine Virgile Joly Blanc 2002 Vin de Pays d’Oc
(cask sample) Grenache Blanc. Deep yellow colour. Unusual, intense high-acid style with good concentration of fruit and a hint of volatility. Striking. Very good+ (£19.50)


Red wines


Domaine de la Grange des Pères 2000 Vin de Pays de l’Herault
Laurent Vaillé, one of the stars of the Languedoc, first made wines from his vineyard near Aniane in 1982. This is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Counoise, spending two years in barrel. Lovely intense spicy herb-edged nose with beguiling complexity. Brilliant balance on the palate with intense sweet-edged fruit, a touch of herbiness and good acidity. Some spicy complexity, too. Excellent (£35)


Mas de l’Ecriture ‘l’Ecriture’ Coteaux du Langudeoc
A blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre from ex-lawyer Pascal Fulla, who takes a perfectionist attitude with his 6.5 ha of vines.
This is deep coloured with a lovely rich, spicy concentrated nose. Huge concentration on the palate, which is firm, spicy and structured with lots of spicy intensity. A brilliant expression of the Languedoc, with intensity being the key word. Excellent (£30)


Domaine de Ravanès 'Le Prime Verd' 1999, Vin de Pays d'Oc, France
This varietal Petit Verdot from the Languedoc is remarkable. Opaque black/red colour. Spicy, minerally, liquoricey dark fruits on the nose, and a huge concentration of firm, tannic spicy fruit on the palate. Bold stuff: an enormous wine. Very good/excellent (£24.50)


Clos de la Belle 2001 Vin de Pays du Gard
Clos de la Belle is a tiny vineyard of 33 ares, located on the outskirts of Saint Gilles and owned by Remy Pedreno of Roc d’Anglade. Lots of concentration. Ripe, spicy, slightly meaty nose with lots of sweet fruit. The palate shows good concentration with rich spicy intensity and a tarry, slightly roasted edge. Very good/excellent (£28.50)


Mas de l’Ecriture ‘Les Pensées’ 2001 Coteaux du Langudeoc
Syrah, Cinsault and Grenache. This deep coloured wine has a savoury, spicy intensity to the nose, which displays ripe berry fruits. Lovely rich, firm spicy structure to the palate, which shows good intensity. Very good/excellent (£18.95)


Domaine de la Marfée ‘Les Champes Murmurés’ 2001 Coteaux du Languedoc
Deep coloured. Ripe black fruits nose with a spicy edge. Lovely concentration of rich black fruits with a minerally, spicy, structured edge. Very good/excellent (£22.50)


Roc d’Anglade 2001 Coteaux du Languedoc
One of the new wave superstars of the Languedoc, Remy Pedreno’s domaine has attracted a lot of attention over the last three vintages. The 2001 consists of 50% Syrah, 25% Grenache and 25% Carignan (from 25 year old vines, newly introduced to this vintage), which spends 18 months in barrique. A red black colour, this shows sweet ripe licquoricey fruit on the nose. The palate displays concentrated, intense ripe berry fruit with a spicy, roasted finish. Very rich. Very good/excellent (£23.50)


Domaine Les Creisses ‘Les Brunes’ Vin de Pays d’Oc
There are 23 ha in production, but only a selection of about 9 ha is vinified and bottled here, with the rest being sold in bulk. First vintage was 1990. This top cuvee is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and a dash of Mourvèdre. Deep colour, this shows a great concentration of ripe berry and black fruits with a roasted spicy edge and a hint of lifted acidity. Very good/excellent (£20)


Terre Inconnue ‘Los Abuelos’ 2000 Vin de Table
A quirky garage wine made from 1.5 ha of Grenache, Syrah and Carignan. This cuvee is old Grenache, and weighs in at 16.5% alcohol. Palish colour. Very intense herby nose showing soft sweet fruit. Unusual, rich, alcoholic palate with soft red fruits and herby, spicy complexity. A wild wine. Very good excellent (£28.50)


Mas Jullien Rouge 2000 Coteaux du Languedoc
Very deep colour. Ripe, concentrated nose displaying a great intensity of spicy, rich fruit with a slightly roasted edge. Powerful and intense. Very good/excellent (£15.50)


Domaine Virgile Joly 2001 Coteaux du Languedoc (cask sample)
Virgile has been adding small plots of vineyard to his holdings since he started this domaine, in March 2000. He now has around 8 ha. This cask sample of the 2001 is deep coloured, with a sweet ripe nose. Richly concentrated palate is savoury with ripe fruit. Soft and intense: quite delicious in a very rich style. Very good/excellent (£19.50)


Domaine de Barroubio 2000 Minervois
Raymond Miquel has 17 ha, and specializes in Muscat, producing some 6 different cuvees ranging from dry to sweet. But his red wines are also impressive. This, the cheapest, has a lovely spicy, perfumed nose: fragrant, spicy and meaty. Delicious meaty edge to the fruit on the palate. Highly drinkable and very appealing. Very good/excellent (£6.50)


Domaine de Barroubio Cuvée Marie Thérèse Miquel 2000 Minervois
Perfumed spicy, roasted nose. Firm concentration on the spicy palate with a fair bit of structure. Very good/excellent (£10.95)


Domaine des Perrières (Kreydenweiss) 2000 Vin de Pays des Coteaux Flaviens
Marc Kreydenweiss of the eponymous Alsace domaine has owned this property since 1999, and he’s increasingly devoting his time to it, farming it along the same biodynamic principles. This wine shows a nice concentration of spicy fruit: it’s quite southern-Rhônish, but in rather a modern style. Very good+ (£10.95)


Domaine les Creisses 2000 Coteaux du Languedoc
This wine, a blend of Carignan and Grenache, shows ripe, concentrated fruit with a slightly roasted edge. Nicely structured. Very good+ (£10)


Mas de l’Ecriture ‘Déclinasions Occitanes’ 2000 Coteaux du Langudeoc
Grenache, Cinsault and Carignan are the grapes here. Quite a haunting, spicy, savoury herby nose. The palate shows a good intensity of very ripe fruit with a spicy, minerally underlay. Lots of character. Very good+ (£15.50)


Roc d’Anglade 2000 Coteaux du Languedoc
65% Syrah, 35% Grenache. Rich, sweet ripe nose is licquoricey with some spicy notes. Ripe, sweet concentrated fruit on the palate, with a soft character and a roasted edge. Very good+ (£20)


Château La Grande Cassagne ‘La Civette’ 2001 Costières de Nîmes
A blend of Grenache and Syrah, displaying a ripe, sweet berry fruit nose. The palate is rich and meaty with a lovely spicy edge to the forward fruit.  Drink young. Very good+ (£6.45)


Domaine de Rapatel 2001 Vin de Pays du Gard
Lovely pure blackcurrant fruit on the nose which is rich and full. The palate is concentrated, rich, ripe and forward. A delicious glugger. Very good+ (£5.95)


Anasta 2001 Vin de Pays des Coteaux Flaviens
The first vintage Mark Kreydenweiss’ top cuvée from his Languedoc property. Good concentration of rich ripe fruit here with a minerally, earthy edge. Very good+ (£12.95)


Domaine Virgile Joly 2001 Vin de Pays de l’Herault
This wine displays lovely rich, soft, savoury flavours. Concentrated, ripe and full with a savoury edge. Very good+ (£10)


Domaine Gil Morrot ‘Divem’ 2000 Coteaux du Languedoc
Gil is a researcher working for the INRA. He owns a small vineyard in Montpeyroux and in 2000, for the first time, he made his own wine from these vines. A blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah, it has a ripe, sweet nose. The palate is bold, quite rich and is concentrated, with spicy edged fruit. Very good+ (£20)


L’Esprit de Font Caude 1999 Coteaux du Languedoc
Alain Chabanon’s celebrated wine combines lovely, soft herb-edged fruit with some leather and spice notes. Great concentration but surprisingly evolved. Very good+ (£21.75)


Domaine de Barroubio Cuvée Jean Miquel 1999 Minervois
80% old vine Carignan with 20% Grenache. Rich and intense with a firm spicy edge to the minerally fruit, and some roasted notes. Savoury and concentrated with lots of character. Very good+ (£10.95)


Château Grande Cassagne ‘Les Rameaux’ 2001 Costières de Nîmes
This is very forward: bags of sweet, lush, tarry black fruits. Very good+ (£6.95)


Château de Beck 2001 Costières de Nîmes
Distinctive toasty nose with lots of rich sweet, concentrated fruit showing a spicy, roasted edge. Big and concentrated, yet soft. Very good+ (£20)


(Kreydenweiss) Les Grimaudes 2001 Costières de Nîmes
Nice minerally nose. Lovely rich fruit with some earthy, spicy character. Very good+ (£7.95)


Domaine de Rapatel Grande Signature 1997 Costières de Nîmes
Rich ripe fruit with a distinctive spicy edge and chocolatey richness. Fruit forward style. Very good+ (£9.50)

see also: tasting notes of Languedoc wines   

Back to top