Laurent Calmel and Jérôme Joseph are negociants working in the Languedoc-Roussillon. They work with 20 different producer partners and make around 450 000 bottles each year, the vast majority of which are destined for export markets. The company as it is now was formed when oenologist Calmel joined Joseph, who had up to this point been selling the wines from private domains in the region, back in 2007.
But unlike many negociants, who search for, blend and buy finished wines, Calmel & Joseph get involved in the vineyard, and then do their own vinifications in the partner cellars. They like to work with sustainably or organically managed vineyards and take a low intervention approach in the cellar.
Their aim is to make wines that are representative of the best Languedoc-Roussillon terroirs, and they are particularly interested in cooler microclimates in this large, mainly warm region. They make a rather confusing five tiers of wines: les Terroirs, les Crus, les Cuvées Rares, Villa Blanche and les Languedoc.
I tried three of their wines. They were pretty good, made in quite a modern, sleek style. They’re available in the UK from Daniel Lambert Wines, and should be priced at around £10 each.
Calmel & Joseph Villa Blanche Pinot Noir 2013 IGP Pays d’Oc, France
13% alcohol. Fresh, bright and juicy with red cherries, herbs and a light body. Seems to have some carbonic maceration character. Pure and supple in a Beaujolais style. 87/100
Calmel & Joseph Corbières Les Terroirs 2011 Languedoc, France
14% alcohol. Syrah, Grenache and a hint of Cinsault. Peppery, slightly reductive cherry and berry fruits nose, with some herbs and spice. The palate is juicy and bright with vivid black fruits. Ripe and dense with some reductive characters, smoky notes, herbs and leather. 88/100
Calmel & Joseph Vieux Carignan Les Terroirs 2011 Vin de Pays Côtes de Brian, France
14.5% alcohol. 100 year old Carignan. Ripe, sweet blackberry and black cherry fruit nose with some herby liqueur-like notes. Hints of smoke and rubber. Sweet, pure, textured palate with ripe black fruits. Ripe, smooth and sweet, but has some definition. 89/100