Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Mas Bruguière (Pic St Loup)

The Pic St Loup, seen here from the Pic Baudille about 27 Km away, is just 12 Km north of Montpellier but feels a world away. It is one of the coolest and wettest of the Languedoc wine areas, although still warm enough in places to ripen Mourvèdre. Here the reds are generally a touch more charcoal and fennel than tar and liquorice.

Mas Bruguière sits in the valley between the Pic St Loup and the Montagne d’Hortus - one of the most stunning locations imaginable for a vineyard with the dramatic profile of the valley discreetly introduced on the labels.

Even more remarkable than the geology is the family history. The Bruguières have been farmers in the area since the 13th century and vignerons for seven generations since the Revolution.

In 1986 Guilhem boldly gave up the local co-operative and there’s been continuous investment and improvement ever since. The first vintage we tasted was the 1994 and we’ve regularly stocked up ever since. It’s an easy place to visit ad-hoc as Isabelle has her artist’s studio above the chais (open mornings and afternoons except Sundays). Today Xavier has taken over from Guilhem and bio certification is in progress.

What about the wine itself? A well hung and perfectly cooked steak is as complex and unbeatable as the finest creation of a starred chef. For me the reds, such as the unoaked Syrah/Grenache L’Arbouse (named after the strawberry tree), are the steak of the wine world with the complexity in its fine structure rather than layers. There’s also good acidity that gives the wine a freshness and must help it age so well – the 2003 was still delicious in 2009.

Currently available in the UK from Yapp Bothers.

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