Sunday, 19 April 2015

Wine Fair 3rd May

The 5th edition of the Festival des Vins Natures will be on 3rd May near Adissan, 10 Km north of Pezenas. The last edition was two years ago in Roquebrun - my comments are here. This years setting in a copse of trees with a commanding view and small chapel is equally attractive.

For those wishing to enjoy the late lunch the menu Roman Henry Niess is proposing (no vegetarian option - we asked) is :-

Tartine grillée à l'ail, oeufs mollets froid confits à l'huile d'olive au piment d'Espelette, ventrèche seche et jeunes pousses [essentially egg and bacon on toast]

Poitrine de cochon "Ibaiona" d'Eric Ospital, pommes de terre , condiments Savora/Moutarde [belly of pork with potatoes]

Ganache au chocolat et chantilly citron vert [chocolate with lime infused whipped cream]

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Salon des Vins Nature Bédarieux

This was a first visit to what has become a regular spring event in Bédarieux organised by Christine Cannac. Held in the small sheltered Place outside her wine bar Chai Christine Cannac, the organisation was exceptional. Having commented on the somewhat limited publicity, any more attendees would have made it overcrowded. To sustain everyone there was an efficient buffet serving inexpensive tasty plates. Live music boosted the atmosphere. All of the 64+ wines on tasting were for sale, but could only be purchased from the chai - a neat idea freeing the vignerons to devote all their attention to showing their wines. It also made buying much easier - I would have needed to return and interrupt four growers.

The overall standard of wines was high and nothing I tasted (just over half the wines) were overly volatile or funky. By and large the grapes were allowed to show some varietal characteristics. While it no doubt helped that all the bottles were brought by the producers, it can also be seen as a sign of vins naturels coming of age - at least for the growers invited and what they presented. Vintages were mainly 2013.

Mas D'Agalis is a wine I've enjoyed on several occasions but is rarely seen and overdue a mention on this blog. Made in Nébian between the "official" appellations of Terrasses du Larzac and Pezenas, the reality is that there are bits of terroir here with equivalent potential.Yo no puedo mas is a blend of the mainstream Languedoc red varieties and exudes balanced fruit with elegance and crunch. The white Grande Carré is half Terret with Vermentino plus several other varieties and showed a lovely structure with a citrus finish. With both at just under €10 a bottle these were some of the best value wines on show.

La Fontude also joins the category of rarely seen. Entremonde has Carignan and Aramon as the main grapes and I like the polished hardness and hint of nostalgic mouth feel on the palate.

The new to me Domaine Riverton was showing a particularly attractive Carignan Tombée du Ciel that oozed freshness with a fruit perfume the Roussillon can so well. The Blanc Bec was intriguing as I found it quite reductive - match head and flint - that would no doubt subside with a good decant and shake.

Mas Coutelou was showing an interesting rosé and two elegant and lively reds 5 SO (a pun on Cinsault) and Classe (Carignan). All were excellent value.

Yannck Pelletier's is an established name and his wines are seen on many of the regions best wine lists. L'Oiselet (Cinsault) has always been reliable over the years and this 2013 had nice mouth grip with cool and (but not over the top) gourmandise fruits.

Julien Peyras is another Hérault valley grower with vineyards above Paulhan north of Pézenas. My favourite was Lo Tarral (Grenach, Syrah, Carignan) with some nice supple fruit but at €14 not great value.

Léon Barral's wines stood out in more ways than one - style and price. There was more concentration and extraction than anything else tasted on the day. Potential was there for layers of complexity, but on the day integrated structure was lacking. Bottles to keep and revisit. One attendee I was chatting to was very enthusiastic over the €40 Valinières, no doubt seduced by the (well judged) oak ageing.

I deliberately tasted Domaine Ribiera and Clos Methélisse wines last as a point of reference. While I certainly had palate fatigue by then it did confirm that the the €11 and under wines were the stars on the day.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Wine Fair 4th April

A couple of Hérault wine fairs are coming up, both very much below the radar publicity wise.

Christine Cabac runs a (the) wine bar in Bédarieux and is the mastermind behind this Easter Saturday event. She emailed us the above fiche on request - better late than never. It should expand if you click on it.

The excellent list of 19 growers on the fiche is :-

François Aubry (Hérault) La Fontude, Brenas
David Auclair (Ardèche) La ferme du bout du ch’min, Étables
J. Audard, L. Boussu (Hérault) Domaine Monts et Merveilles, La Livinière
Gilles Azam (Aude) Domaine Les Hautes Terres, Roquetaillade
Didier Barral (Hérault) Domaine Léon Barral, Lenthéric
Vincent Bonnal (Hérault) Domaine de Pélissols, Bédarieux
David Caer (Hérault) Clos Mathelisse, Aspiran
Alain Castex (Pyrénées-O.) Casot des Mailloles, Banyuls-sur-Mer
Laurence Manya Krief (Pyrénées-O.) Le petit domaine de Yoyo, Albères/Banyuls
Lionel Maurel (Hérault) Mas d'Agalis, Nébian
Jean-François Nicq (Pyrénées-O.) Les foulards rouges, Montesquieu-des-Albères
Yannick Pelletier (Hérault) Saint-Nazaire-de-Ladarez
Julien Peyras (Hérault) Domaine Julien Peyras, Paulhan
Régis Pichon (Hérault) Domaine Ribiera, Aspiran
Axel Prüfer (Hérault) Le Temps des Cerises, Le Mas Blanc
Philippe Richy (Hérault) Domaine Stella Nova, Caux
Frédéric Rivaton (Pyrénées-O.) Latour-de-France
Jean-Louis Tribouley (Pyrénées-O.) Latour-de-France
Wim Wagemans (Hérault) Le bouc à trois pattes, Mons-la-Trivale

I have also been tipped off about a similar event on Sunday 3rd May near Adissan, between Pézenas and Clermont l'Hérault. Details will follow when I track them down.