Saturday, 31 October 2009

Domaine d’Aupilhac tasting and dinner

Sylvain Fadat started Domaine d’Aupilhac back in 1989 and along with Olivier Jullien (see Mas Jullien posts) was a pioneer for the area. In addition to his vineyards around Montpeyroux, Syvain’s big investment has been in forging new vineyards out of the garrigue at altitude above the village. This means a broad range of wine styles are produced, ideal for what was the last tasting and repas vigneron evening of the season at La Terrasse du Mimosa in Montpeyroux.

13 wines were tasted over the evening, 5 with the delightful dinner.

Les Cocalières blanc 2005, 2007
Roussanne, Marsanne, Vermantino, Grenache Blanc. From vines 350m above sea level on dolomitic limestone overlooking Montpeyroux. Aromatic floral with gentian and fennel leading to a palate of lemon peel and apple. The 2007 was fresher – lemon balm with lime and a fine partner for risotto with mussels.

Mont-Baudile blanc 2008, 1996 Ugni blanc, Grenache blanc and Chardonnay. Creaminess of youth with fresh, citrus, fennel and churned butter in the 2008. Worked well with marinated salmon. The 1996 was the first vintage. Nuts and figs with vanilla but done dry and in perfect balance, extraordinary. There were two bottles, one of which did not have a malolactic fermentation. With only one tasting glass I couldn’t detect a difference.

Montpeyroux rouge 2003, 1997 Mourvèdre, Syrah and Carignan with 10% Grenache and 5% Cinsault. Simplistically clay and chalk (argilo-calcaire) vineyards with lots of oyster fossils apparently. 2003 was the year of the canicule and many fine reds have not aged well but this isn’t one of them. Animal with ripe cassis and a pepper finish. 1997 was a difficult wet and cool year but this wine was a masterpiece – Burgundy sweetness and delicacy with some liquorice, good length and poise. Would be impossible to place if tasted blind.

Le Carignan 2008, 2000 (Magnum), 1998 (Magnum) A landmark wine for the region. Sylvain was generous enough to credit les anglais for buying it in the early days and I was one of them. Most vintages show best when young or older with a closed run of years in between. The 2008 was heady ripe fruit propped up by good acidity and a tannin canvas. The 2000 still had a dense colour, damsons and soft spice. The 1998 was my wine of the night – spices, olive, bay, brambles and damson and just so complete and satisfying.

Les Cocalières rouge 2005 Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre grown at 350m altitude. Quite sweet and heady with elegant brambles. The lighter style went well with the duck.

Le Clos 1999 (Magnum), 1989 (Magnum) Mourvèdre and Carignan with 20% Syrah. Fresh farmyard with mushroom. Herbs and supple oak tannins - will keep. 1989, the first vintage for Le Clos, was earthy, sweet and elegant with garrigue herbs.

"La Boda" Rouge 2006 Mourvèdre and Syrah with 10% each of Carignan and Grenache. An assemblage from Montpeyroux argilo-calcaire vineyards and the altitude Cocalières. Dark and brooding with cassis, liquorice and spice. Clearly needs time and will no doubt please important export markets.

Great winemakers make good and interesting wines in difficult vintages and d’Aupilhac is the best proof of that I've come across for years.

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