Languedoc-Roussillon Tasting (July 23, 2012)

The Wine Of The Night
When the serious wine afficiando drinks a Bordeaux or a Bourgogne, what he or she is looking for is the classical archetype. Let's face it, it's hard enough to find a good Pauillac, Puligny or Chambolle, let alone afford one, so when you do get your hands on one, you really want nature and winemaker to paint you a letter-perfect picture of the Platonic ideal. You want a solid stock in your portfolio.

I approach Barolo, Chianti, Rioja with similar expectations.

So where do you experiment?

Riesling and Chenic Blanc, naturally, almost force a certain inconsistency down your throat, as these varieties by their nature reflect their origins almost too well. And many times the weather and their makers' idiosyncracies. But where I really look for a wild, personal sense of dare-doing is the nether regions of the Old World of wine, where tradition never laid down a rigid map and compass - just enough tradition to ensure someone has food in mind when they make and drink wine. Of course, I want elegant old school where I can get it, but I don't mind if someone wants to play Fairy Chess.

Which is where Uri Caftory and the latest IPVinum portfolio come in.

I'm riffing off too much on Hugh Johnson. I'll really need to crack a joke soon.

Present were a partial roll call of the Daniel Lifshitz Burgundy Revue plus two local winemakers. And a guest. And Uri himself.

Saint Antoin, Faugeres, Les Jardins, Rose, 2011

A light, very refreshing and drinkable wine - dry, earthy and all about strawberries. Just enough interest on the nose and palate. Equal measures of Grenache and Cinsault. 70 NIS.

Clos Marie, Languedoc Pic St. Loup, Manon, 2011

Lovely nose: light notes of iodine, nuts, gunpowder, with the fruit present, yet restrained, in the background. Refreshing acidity, maybe needs to settle down a little? Grenache Blanc, Macabeo and more varieties. Worth a purchase. About 150 NIS.

Domaine de Mouscaillo, Limoux, 2008

100% Chardonnay. Just the kind of nose you always want to get in Bourgogne, give or take stylistic variations: dried grass, flint, smoke, nuts. But the palate is rounder, more honeyed and fat, than you'd get in the Cote, maybe more of a Macon or a Chalonnaise, if a more precise context is needed. 150 NIS. The Manon is much more interesting, to me, but the Limoux presents a pleasant surprise vis a vis what Chardonnay can produce in unlikely settings.

Clos Marie, Languedoc Pic St. Loup, l'Olivette, 2010

Where did the brett go? Out with the Carignan, this year. But it's still very Mediterannean, meaty and peppery. Ripe yet fresh. And very Syrah (if not Rhone), which is perhaps why I prefer it to the La Nine (below), that we tasted alongside it. 135 NIS.

Domaine Jean Baptiste Senat, Minervois, La Nine, 2010

Black and spicy. A fruity wine which I like less than the l'Olivette: it's a style I approach with suspicion. But it's sure to be a crowd pleaser, no sarcasm intended. 130 NIS.

Coume del Mas, Collioure, Schistes, 2010

Ripe, yet peppery and smokey. I find it a winner like the 2007 I had a couple of years ago. Chocolate-y, seductive. Which is why I like it, for the way it builds a foundation of seduction on a surprisingly firm structure. 150 NIS.

And speaking of the 2007:

Similar ripeness here, less pepper on the other hand. Black and blue fruit. Meaty and a little musty. More complex, less fresh. An interesting comparison.

Domaine de l'Horizon, Vin de Pays des Cotes Catalanes, Rouge, 2010 280 NIS.

L'Esprit de l'Horizon, Rouge, 2010 195 NIS.

Two wines that smell like twins. Taste quite similar, too, both quite juicy and mineral-laden, with savory tannins. Maybe l'Esprit is a little softer and juicier, the Rouge muscular - A Volnay/Pommard contrast, perhaps?

Jean Baptiste Senat, Minervois, Le Bois des Merveilles, 2010

Fruity, modern, a touch meaty. Very juicy. 190 NIS.

Domaine de l'Horizon, Blanc, 2009

If the Bois des Merveilles doesn't inspire a wordy effort on my part, this is a drop dead gorgeous, wine of the night, utterly unique drop. An amazing nose. As complex and deep as a Chablis Grand Cru, but more honeyed and sweet without actually being sweeter. Whereas the other wines in the tasting feel like they sprung out of nowhere, this feels like it's deeply embedded in a background of wine and food culture, even if the Domaine is only about six years old. 280 NIS.

Domaine Bott-Geyl, Kronenbourg, Lieu-dit, Riesling, 2009

The last stop is Alsace and a wine I've had before, the 2005 from IPV's inaugural catalog - which didn't knock me out, exactly. That one was too mineral (if you and I can somehow conceive of a wine too minerally for me), this is better balanced, intensely floral without being sweet. Refreshing, for sure, but somehow a little dull, but it'a a Riesling and I wouldn't bet against its potential for increasing its interest level. About 150 NIS.