Languedoc Grands Crus – in the making

Published by Sally on May 10, 2011

 The official organisation that controls and promotes the appellation wines of the Languedoc region – the CIVL (Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins du Languedoc or the joint wine trade council) – in France is, along with the region’s producers, gradually creating a hierarchy of appellations, which they hope will make life simpler for consumers.

The new system started its journey into hierarchy in 2007, when the all-encompassing general Languedoc Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AC) into being.  Wines from this appellation should be fruity, easy to drink, and not expensive, about €3-6 as a price indication for consumers.

Languedoc AC now forms the foundation. Above it lie the ‘Grands Vins du Languedoc’ and at the apex of the pyramid lie ‘Grands Crus’ du Languedoc.


Grands Vins du Languedoc

 Grands Crus du Languedoc

The new system has yet to be approved by INAO, which is necessary for it all to become proper, but the CIVL hope everything will be in place by the end of this year. At the moment these terms are not on the label, so this is not yet something simple and useful for consumers.

Disappointingly, it seems that very few of these wines are available for retail in the UK.

My top 30 tasting notes, London, April 2011

Celliers d’Orfée, B, 2007, Corbières Boutenac
50% grenache, 40% carignan, 10% syrah
No UK importer
Almost purple colour, young, fresh and juicy, spicy plum, youthful and finely textured. Good.

Château les Ollieux Romanis, Atal Sia 2008,  Corbières Boutenac ~£19                     
45% carignan, 30% grenache, 20% mourvèdre, 5% syrah
UK importer:  
Sweet, rumtopf with hints of overripe, gently stewed berries. More modern expression of succulence and spicy plum juiciness, with depth, volume and texture. Warmth of 14% alcohol noticeable, but not obtrusive.  

Château Sainte Lucie d’Aussou, Lady Bird 2007, Corbières Boutenac                        
50% carignan, 30% grenache, 20% syrah
No UK importer
Sweetly stewed black fruits, with texture, fresh frame, fine textured sweet tannins. Rich and well built, with a soft touch.

Château de L’Engarran, Grenat Majeure 2008, Languedoc – Grés de Montpellier 
75% grenache, 25% syrah
No UK importer
Lifted wild strawberry perfume with weight and liquorice spice to give it heft. Fresh core with nicely proportioned tannin frame. Vg.

Château Roumanières, Le Chant des Pierre 2009, Languedoc – Grés de Montpellier              
43% syrah, 24% grenache, 19% mourvèdre, 15% carignan
No UK importer
Mulberry and bramble with ripe stalkiness to support, in a positive, complexing way. Elegant proportions, too easy to appreciate. Nice.

Mas de Martin, Ultreia 2007, Languedoc – Grés de Montpellier
50% syrah, 30% grenache, 20% mourvèdre
No UK importer
Aromatic spice and gentle black berried fruits, rich, deeply fruited, with succulence and a refreshing element to the tannins. Deliciously balanced, seductive and tasty. Vg.  

Château Camplazens, Premium 2008, Languedoc – La Clape ~£20        
70% syrah, 20% grenache, 10% carignan
UK importer:
Dry-baked, sweetened-style black forest berries nose and attack. Fresh redcucrrant-orientated core, with refined, smooth texture. Perfumed and elegant. Lovely.

Château des Karantes, 2006, Languedoc – La Clape
50% syrah, 40% grenache, 10% mourvèdre
No UK importer
Lifted blackcurrant nose, elegantly profiled with a gentleness and refinement of texture. Very little age showing, mellowing into primary fruit with suppleness and still fresh fruits. Long finish, Vg.

Mas du Soleilla, Les Bartelles 2008, Languedoc – La Clape, ~ £17
75% syrah, 25% grenache
UK importer : The Imperial Wine Company
Dark and mysteriously brooding black fruits with herbal nose, followed up on palate. Big and deceptively muscley, very nicely balanced with high tasty quotient. Vg.

Domaine de Nizas et Salleles, Domaine de Nizas 2008, Languedoc – Pézenas
50% mourvèdre, 26% grenache, 24% carignan
No UK importer
Bright, crunchy, dark and strong, savoury flavours, muscle-bound and still inching into its frame. Has everything to mellow into a lovely place. Good.

Château Fondouce, 2006, Languedoc – Pézenas
70% syrah, 30% grenache
No UK importer
Smoked red berry fruits. Hint of chalky tannin entry giving lift and refreshment. Medium bodied, with fresh and considered ripeness to fruit; not overtly super ripe fruits.  

Domaine du Pech Rome (Remparts de Neffies), Clemens 2007, Languedoc – Pézenas
50% grenache, 38% syrah, 12% carignan
No UK importer
Juicy, fragrant, fresh and aromatic, black berries, sweet fresh fruit, crunchy ripeness, with herbal complexity to finish. Good.

Domaine de Bébian, Chapelle de Bébian 2007, Languedoc – Pézenas, ~£12
50% grenache, 40% syrah, 10% cinsault
UK importer :
Lifted, aromatically spicy perfume, bramble and almost gentle curry leaf spices. Enticing layers of flavour. Individual, and good.

Bergerie du Capucin, 2008, Languedoc – Pic Saint Loup
Syrah, grenache
No UK importer
Spice and redcurrants, fresh, linear, and refined. Lifted, medium body, with some elegance and well toned proportions. Red berries through the core. Good.

Le Chemin des Rêves, Gueule de Loup 2008, Languedoc – Pic Saint Loup
60% syrah, 30% grenache, 10% carignan
No UK importer
Sweet, fat, toasty oak on the nose. Rich and dense, gently chewy, big and latently muscley. Good.

Domaine Grandes Costes, Cuvée super premium 2008, Languedoc – Pic Saint Loup
75% syrah, 25% grenache
No UK importer
Sweet-spicy stewed fruits of the forest, rich and flavoursome, open knit, savoury fresh leather and liquorice, nice balance and intensity. Good.

Domaine Haut Lirou, Mas des Costes 2009, Languedoc – Pic Saint Loup
70% syrah, 30% grenache
No UK importer
Smoky nose, sweet blackcurrant fruits, lush and enveloping. In the rich, sweet, fat spectrum and nice for it. Good.

Château La Roque, Cupa Numismae 2008, Languedoc – Pic Saint Loup
65% syrah, 35% mourvèdre
No UK importer
Gentle, understated red fruits, then deep density of fruit, supple and smooth texture. Nicely balanced with some sophistication, leading into dark berry fruits. Long finish. Vg.

Domaine de Familongue, Les Trois Naissances 2007, Languedoc Terrasses du Larzac
41% syrah, 12% mourvèdre, 20% grenache, 15% carignan, 5% carignan carbonic maceration, 7% cinsault
No UK importer
Smoke, spice, savoury, with dry baked forest berries. Full and dry, with just-ripe, rather than sweet, fruits. Good.

Domaine de Montcalmès, 2008, Languedoc Terrasses du Larzac ~£19
60% syrah, 20% grenache, 20% mourvèdre   
UK importer :  The Wine Society
Fresh, lifted, strawberry perfume, aromatic, delightful fresh and fragrant entry. Medium body, primary fruits, with elegance of effortlessness. Long. Vg.

Domaine le Clos du Serres, Les Maros 2009,  Languedoc Terrasses du Larzac, ~£13
61% grenache, 22% cinsault, 17% carignan
UK importer: Stone, Vine and Sun
Smoke and dark red fruits, cherry plum, almost full bodied, lush and sweet with dry structural and refreshing tannins. Nice balance. Good.

Domaine La Croix Chaptal, Cuvée Charles 2007, Languedoc Terrasses du Larzac
40% carignan, 30% grenache, 30% syrah
UK importer:  Aldeby Wines
Smoked meats, biltong and barbecued steaks. Big, hulking meatiness, and no less interesting for that. Balanced, and with smoked dark berry fruits there too.

Mas des Chimères, 2008, Languedoc – Terrasses du Larzac
20 cinsault, 20% syrah, 20% grenache, 20% mourvèdre, 20% carignan
No UK importer
Smoke, marble, dry baked cherries, and forest fruits, delicious layering of spiced fruits, aromatic spices with a hint of herbal garrigue. Complex, seductive, layered, long and delicious. Vg.

Château de Cesseras, 2008, Minervois la Livinière, ~ £13
77% syrah, 12% grenache, 11% carignan
UK importer : Waitrose
Juicy, perfumed violet and strawberries. Crunchy fruit with texture and style. Supple, plentiful tannins of sweetness and nestling support. Lush and fresh at both the same time. Vg.

Château Sainte Eulalie, La Cantilène 2008, Minervois la Livinière, ~£12
55% syrah, 25% grenache, 20% carignan
UK importer :  Wine Society
Smoked red berries, bit of liquorice and tar. Nicely balanced in a more upright style. Good.

Domaine des Aires Hautes, Clos de l’Escandil 2007, Minervois la Livinière
50% syrah, 20% grenache, 30% mourvèdre
No UK importer
Smoked, rich and sweet bramble fruits, lush and sweetly textured. With fresh backbone, dark berry conserve. Rich and headily perfumed with plenty flesh and succulence. Vg.

Domaine La Rouviole, 2006, Minervois la Livinière,
75% syrah, 25% grenache
UK importer :  Hallgarten Druitt
Smoked bramble and liquorice nose. Dense and savoury with concentrated dark fruits, muscular, meaty and Heathcliffe-brooding fruit and structure. Long finish.

Cave de Roquebrun, Les Fiefs d’Aupenac 2009, Saint-Chinian Roquebrun             
60% syrah, 20% grenache, 20% mourvèdre
UK importer:  Barton, Brownsdon and Sadler
Juicy, redcurrants, bright and crunchy, nice balance, and fresh intensity. Good in a youthful spectrum.

Cave de Roquebrun, Baron d’Aupenac 2007, Saint-Chinian Roquebrun
70% syrah, 15% grenache, 15% mourvèdre
UK importer :  Barton, Brownsdon and Sadler
Spice and youth, super density of fruit, open knit, ripe and aromatically spiced fruits. Good.

Domaine de Mouscaillo, 2008, Limoux   
Citrus, nut and meal, quite sophisticated and textured. Very nice indeed, smooth, with intense flavours. Good.


2 Responses to “Languedoc Grands Crus – in the making”

  1. Yongnam SHIN Says:

    Hello, this is Yongnam from Massamier La Mignarde!
    I read through your article and like the clear description of AOC classification which normally is complicated to understand! I’d like to post it on our FB page, if you don’t mind 🙂

  2. Sally Says:

    Hello Yongnam,
    Did we meet briefly at the beginning of October, I was visiting your place?
    Thanks for your kind comments about my article, and thanks for asking about posting it on your FB page. Please do go ahead. Are you able to give a link to my website?

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