Sunday, 10 October 2010

Domaine Ribiera

Aspiran has an historical legacy of growing Clairette that ends up in that rather aristocratic vermouth Noilly Prat. With the Terrasses du Larrzac starting just up the road and a basalt lava flow identical to that at Caux (near Pézenas) just to the south, Aspiran definitely under performs. Things should start to change once some new wave independents become established. Already some vineyards are owned by outsiders in neighbouring villages and new plantings are evident on some of the hillside sites.

Of the half dozen independents, Domaine Ribiera excites the most. Before starting in 2005 Christine and Régis Pichon had, between them, previous lives that included sommelier, restaurateur and wine buyer for a prestigious épicerie. They now have 6 hectares in various parcels throughout the commune and practice organic and natural wine techniques including fermentation using the yeast present on the grape skins.

Carignan and Tapenade

La Vista 2008 2/3 Grenache and 1/3 Carignan. Peppery fruit, redcurrents, fennel. A gentle wine, probably connected to the absence of Syrah and oak, that's deceptively full of flavours that gently spiral around. One of those wines I didn't get on my first encounter back in the spring. Proves that oak isn't essential for complexity and rounded tannins. €9 to €10.

Carignan 2005 chocolate, liquorice, blackberry hints of eucalyptus freshness on a base of stalks. More than a quaff. Note that this wine is no longer made but Le Nez dans le Verre in Pézenas have some for just €6.

Les Canilles 2008 white Roussanne with 10% Clairette. Not tasted since it was younger and needing time to open up - quite herby with a good clean mouth feel.

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