Reviews 13: Mas Gabriel
Remember: Andrew’s ‘Jefford on Monday’ blog appears every Monday on www.decanter.com, and Andrew’s columns can be read in every edition of Decanter and World of Fine Wine
Deborah and Peter Core’s small biodynamic domain is found at Caux, near Pezenas: they kindly dropped in to see me and left a few samples last year (one of which, alas, proved to be corked), and I caught up with another of their wines via Rosemary George MW recently. The home vineyards are (unusually for Languedoc) on volcanic basalt; Deborah and Peter also have some pebble-soiled vineyards at St Jean de Bebian.
The 2008 Clos de Lièvres (14.5%, Syrah, Grenache, Carignan) has an intriguing mixture of prune fruit and cereal sweetness on the nose; there’s a citrus freshness lifting it, too. The palate is vivid, gutsy, muscular and warm. It’s got lots of energy to it, and an uninhibited style: meaty, herbal, with a little finishing bitterness. Satisfying wine for a winter’s night.
The 2009 Les Trois Terraces (a pure Carignan) has typical cherrystone and almond kernel scents. It’s packed with a blast of high-acid, bitter-sweet damson-sloe fruit. There’s no central palate width and no intercellular fat, but you don’t expect those things with Carignan. Instead it’s a hill sprite, savage and demonic. A little would go a long way, but if you want to understand Carignan, this is the unvarnished truth.
The 2010 Clos des Papillons (a pure Carignan Blanc, this time) has delicate, recessive scents of lemon verbena and wild mint. On the palate, it’s piercing, intense, incisive, herbal and mineral, too – the Assyrtico of the Languedoc. Oyster or seafood wine, I’d say; it didn’t quite have enough flesh or charm to work well as an aperitif. Instead it’s as serious and uncompromising as a Beethoven late quartet. Hhmm. Carignan Blanc: awesome.
AJ Reviews: all reviews are based on unsolicited samples. Submission of a sample does not guarantee a review. If sending a sample, please use recyclable packing materials (cardboard) if possible. Reviews can be quoted provided www.andrewjefford.com is cited as source. No scores: too boring, too obsessive, too falsely precise. Coups de Coeur (a particular and possibly irrational enthusiasm) are indicated by ◊!