Last year I wrote about a small exhibition of lithographs 150 Years of Languedoc grape varieties. One variety I highlighted was Aspiran Noir and commented that Domaine Thierry Navarre at Roquebrun had rescued and grafted some vines and is now making wine from them. By chance the caviste at Les Caves Gourmandes in Gignac recommended a bottle that turned out to be Thierry's Rybeyrenc - yet another synonym/spelling variation for the variety.
Rybeyrenc 2011 has an attractive red colour, quite light for a Languedoc, and a distinct aroma of strawberry and mulberry. The palate is light and refreshing, a delight to just drink and at 11 deg. is a shock to one accustomed to southern reds. The closest in style would perhaps be a basic vrac red from a co-op petrol pump, but in this case the wine has the rustic edges and other dodgy characteristics eliminated and a lot more interest.
I've tried a couple of other of Thierry Navarre's wines recently. Le Laouzil 2010, a classic red blend enjoyed at the superb Octopus restaurant in Béziers where it's listed with a very modest mark-up. Ideal luncheon fayre, it also danced around a bit en bouche - the only clue that many would classify it as vin naturel.
Cuvée Olivier 2011 is also an appellation blend and is a fuller, slightly richer style with wonderful poise and balance. Apparently aged in 500 litre barrels, but clearly these are not new as the oak is not really noticeable which is the way I like it. Feels like a wine that will keep for a few years yet also drink well throughout its life.
Prices seem reasonable and range from €8 to €13 for the Olivier. Must get over there.
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