wa2.gif (4241 bytes)

abut9.gif (3095 bytes)

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

abut11.gif (4039 bytes)


The wines of Primo Palatum, Southwest France/Languedoc

Website: www.primo-palatum.com E-mail: xavier-copel@primo-palatum.com

Xavier Copel has shot to fame in recent years with his Primo Palatum wines. He’s one of the new breed of negociant éleveurs: he doesn’t own vineyards, but instead sources top vineyards in each of the many regions he works with and then works with the producer, in their cellar, to fashion the best wines possible from the respective terroir.

Copel is based in the southwest of France, but as well as operating in the southwest regions of Cahors (his base), Madiran, Jurançon and Bordeaux, he also works in the Languedoc and Roussillon.

‘I’m very lucky’, says Copel, ‘in that I work with top producers who have very mature vines on the best terroirs, which results in very well balanced grapes’. I asked him what his goal was. ‘I try to produce another expression of terroir: my philosophy is fruit, fruit, fruit.’

Born in Cahors, Copel graduated from University in Toulouse and began his negociant business in 1996/7. At first, he reports, ‘it was a bit tough’. But now he has international visibility, and his wines command prices that are typically among the highest in the appellations he works in. The wines are extremely impressive, in a modern, forward and occasionally slightly oaky style. There's no doubting his serious intent, though, and I'd be interested to try more of his wines.

Classica Jurançon Sec 2001
This white is a blend of late harvest Gros Manseng and Petit Manseng. Lovely forward, intense nose of vanilla, spice and dense herby fruit. The palate is complex and savoury with lots of nutty oak and concentrated lemony, herby fruit. Distinctive stuff in a modern mould with plenty of oak. Very good/excellent 90/100 (£19.95)

Côtes du Roussillon Rouge 2001
A blend of old vine Mourvedre, Syrah and Grenache, with low yields of 20 hl/hectare. It shows sweet, intense liquoricey red and black fruits on the nose – rich and liqueur like. The palate displays a huge concentration of rich, slightly sweet fruit with a savoury, woody edge. Very intense. Very good/excellent 91/100 (£18.50)

Minervois La Livinière 2000
Savoury, roasted edge to the aromatic sweet red fruits on the nose. Some meatiness, too. The palate is chewy and tight with a savoury structure to the concentrated, spicy fruit. A modern, structured wine. Very good/excellent 91/100 (£15.95)

Mythologia Cahors 2000
Inky dark colour. Vivid, liquoricey black fruits nose with a spicy edge. The palate is concentrated and savoury with firm, spicy tannins backing up the taut red and black fruits. Lovely intense spicy finish. A serious, structured effort. Very good/excellent 93/100 (£31)

Prices are from the General Wine Company, tel 01428 722201

See also: spotlight on Cahors; wines of the Southwest of France

Back to top