Stones, Altitude and Attitude at Pennautier in the Cabardes, Languedoc
Times change and wines change. Almost twenty years ago Oz Clarke brought out a book titled, New Classic Wines. In 2002 Andrew Jefford brought out one titled, The New France. Both are quite brilliant and excellent reads. Strange as it seems both authors make similar arguments albeit from opposite perspectives. Oz champions what he perceives as 'classic' styles from the likes of New Zealand, South Africa etc while Andrew gets stuck in to producers all across France who are making brilliant wines that are anything but (old) Classic in their style.
- Chateau Pennautier -AC Cabardes and Vin de Pays d'Oc
- Moulin de Ciffre - AC Faugeres, AC St Chinian and AC Languedoc
- Mas de Montagnes - AC Cotes de Roussillon Villages
Nicolas Lorgeril. Always smiling. Always working. Great explanations. Super philosophy
2009 Macabeo at Maury in the Roussillon. Fermenting for five days
The Lorgeril estates reflect Altitude well with cool climate effects (garrigue and herbal perfumes; delicate and enticing structural elements) in its Terroirs d'Altitude labels. But this is only one part of the story. Another is the choice of Patrick Leon (Mouton Rothschild, Ch d'Esclans and many others) as consultant wine maker. Leon favours finesse and character over strength of fruit and richness which can be sloppy and ultimately boring. I watched as this years Syrah was prepared for Mas de Montagnes according to how their consultant Leon had advised. It was a careful and deliberate succession of processes to bring the fruit on to a higher elevation and a more noble level altogether. All of this was handled locally by skilled wine makers whose tradition is in making sweet white and red Maury wines. Times Change Wines Change.
- Great colour, lots of ripe dark berry fruits on the nose, rich and soft attack in the mouth, rips into a fabulously blended mid palate ( Cab Franc, Cab Sauv, Merlot, Cot , Grenache and Syrah in the blend!) All come together for a long well structured finish.
Try the Pennautier Rose. You'll be enchanted.
- Fantastic style. Big, wide and open with a currant and blackberry background; some pepper and spice; garrigue herbal effects. Full, palate of rich and well integrated (acid and wood) fruits (Grenache, Syrah, Carignan) leading to a peppered, rounded and very long finish. Really liked this a lot.
Later I'll come back to the wine of Moulin de Ciffre and more from Pennautier and Mas de Montagnes. For now let's leave you with the thought that there are no wine empires any longer where an atlas might be coloured according to wine style.
Lorgeril is proof positive that the future will be knowledge led; that the best styles of wine won't result from where you are in the world but will be defined by hard work and what you do with the skills available to you.