Ollier Taillefer (Fos in Faugères) makes consistently good wine at a fair price and seems to know how to market it. Castel Fossibus is their oaked Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre blend designed for ageing and the 2002 is still at its peak. A browning rim and a soft, ripe herbal nose leads to a mouth filling rounded and gentle spicy palate. It’s mature enough to perhaps come from anywhere, but was delicious. The 2002’s have proved to be a most elegant year, at least to the west of the Gard that suffered a severe harvest deluge.
Viognier has been trying to become fashionable for decades despite being tricky viticulturally. In the Languedoc it has made some successful everyday wines - the Cotes de Thongue between Beziers and Pezenas produces good bottles (as it does Chardonnay as well). Domaine La Condamine L' Evêque’s Viognier for example has always been a reliable restaurant wine list spot. A touch also works well in white blends adding fat and exotic perfume. Of the pure Viogniers from the region Domaine de Clovallon Les Aires has consistently come closest to good specimens from Condrieu Rhone territory. Vintage differences are more pronounced up in Bedarieux and the 2006 is exceptional – apricot, hints of peach stone with (unsweetened) Chantilly cream and linseeds in the mouth. Normally a one glass then move on wine, but not this bottle. My thanks to David Pugh of restaurant Le Mimosa for the tip off and being prepared to part with a couple of bottles. Alas, this was the second bottle.