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Monday, 28 November 2011

What we were drinking in late November

The same wines crop up in consecutive posts, but here are some of the new whites and rosés - 2 Picpoul de Pinets, one from the local co-op in Pinet and the other from Claude Jourdan's Domaine Félines near Mèze, apparently the largest independent producer ion the appellation now, and one of our long-term favourites from the Wine Society.  Also a Grange Philippe (Ch Grès St Paul) Sauvignon Blanc, and a Gris des sables brought to us by a Canadian guest, Mr Montcalm, who had searched out the domaine Montcalm in the marshy area south of Saint Gilles which he thinks is linked to his family, but now run as a winery by new young makers.

As always a big mixture in the reds of inexpensive bottles brought to drink at shared meals, and special ones which we've either saved ourselves - a Jacob 2002 Savigny for example, or a St Joseph Septentrio from the Cave de Saint Désirat.  The Capucine on the left is another local discovery at our local caviste, who specialises in Languedoc wines.

A nice variety of sparklers this time including 3 bottles of Clairette de Die - a favourite since our link through twinning in the early 1990s, and a delicious sparkling rosé called Clandestine made from pinot noir by the excellent Didier Cornillon in the Drôme.  And we finally finished a nice bottle of Glenfiddich, one of several single malts we enjoy now and then!

What we were drinking - early November 2011

This month we enjoyed the fruits of the supermarket wine fairs - a Chateau de Fesles Coteaux du Layon bought in Leclerc, which reminded us of our visit to the domaine during a Loire trip and stay in Angers around 2000; 2 excellent bottles from the Bourdic co-op near Uzès, a dry muscat and a lovely sweet late-picked viognier 'Les vignes rousses', a splendid Jacob Savigny blanc and a Soltane dry muscat made by the Drôme winemaker Didier Cornillon but in his Tunisian winery.

Reds included a new discovery at our local caviste ô Pecheur Devin, a Côtes du Rousillon called Perle et Pépin; Richard Maby's excellent Lirac which was one of our Wine Society discoveries during our exploration of the area in the early 2000s, and the Secret de Frère Nonenque from the Abbay de Valmagne near Mèze.

Among fortified and sparkling wines and spirits were a Macvin de Jura, an excellent sweet apéritif made from grape juice and alcohol, some lovely PX (the grape variety is Pedro Ximenes, which on its own makes a rich dark sweet wine in the Xeres area of SW Spain, and is also mixed with drier wines to make the cream sherry the English love!), a Blanquette de Limoux, and some Linie akvavit brought to us from Norway by our friend Rydar.

What we were drinking - 2nd half of October

Among whites and rosés, some Bourgogne Aligotés past their technical 'sell-by' dates but still delicious, a Bugey white from our summer trip east, one of our favourite dry muscats from the Domaine de Durban in Beaumes de Venise, and 2 lovely rosés, one from Didier Cronillon in the Drôme and the other a new discovery from Fadèze near Marsillargues on teh Etang de Thau.

In reds, we enjoyed a long-time favourite from Ch St Eulalie in La Livinière (Minervois), local wines from Guinand in St Christol and the Salle de Gour near St Hippolyte du Fort, a regular cheap and good Tarragona which we buy in quantity from Lidl, older and gracefully aging wines from the Domaine Rabasse-Charavin between Cairanne and Rasteau and from the Mas de Bressades near Bellegarde, and a Chilean merlot from Colchagua via the Wine Society.

2 sparklers this time - Serge Martin's Clairette de Die from St Roman, a long-term favourite, and a Prosecco which was a welcome gift from Italy-loving friends, the excellent Rosanna which takes our local Muscat de Lunel to new levels of refinement, a fascinating sweet red La Lune Rousse, also from St Christol (Ch des Hospitaliers) and the final drops from a bottle of Jacob crème de framboise which has given us pleasure in kirs (often with vin rosé) over many months.

EU regulations

It only seems a moment since the EU was trying to restrict yields and improve quality.  Now we ahve this:

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Discovery - Château Capitelles des Salles

For various reasons I've been a bit quiet in the past few weeks, but we have not stopped drinking and enjoying wine, as further posts will soon demonstrate.

For today, I just wanted to share an encounter at our local caviste, the admirable ô pecheur devin which deserves an entry to itself soon.  Often on Sundays Benoît, the proprietor, invites a vigneron to present her or his products under the arches of the Caladons, the old market place in the centre of Lunel.  This Sunday it was the turn of Estelle Salles, oenologue and viticultrice from the village of St Jean de la Blaquière near the A75 north-west of Aniane.  She and her husband Frédéric make 3 reds, the least expensive - Caminaïre - from cinsault and a closely-related old grape variety called oeillade, with a small amount of syrah.  My favourite was the next, a classic AOC Languedoc grenache/syrah mixture called Caractère.  This is a good example of passionate winemakers picking up the family reins (the domaine has been in this family since 1829) and creating excellent wine with small yields and careful techniques.