Wednesday, 8 June 2011
Outsiders are a group of some of Languedoc-Roussillon's best and most creative producers who have relocated to the region. The tasting last November in London was a wine highlight of the year. A few members were at the London International Wine Fair to support their importers and wrapped up one of the long days with a get together, along with their founder Louise Hurren, to say a few words, chat and share a few bottles.
This was a chance to drink rather than taste. The newest Outsiders member is Domaine Sainte Rose - with the exception of La Grange de Quatre Sous the one I've known the longest, starting with Charles and Ruth Simpson's first harvest back in 2002. Les Derniers Cépages 2009 is from late ripening Mourvèdre and Petit Verdot and has heaps of velvety ripe black fruit with just the necessary tannic grip. La Garrigue is a classic Languedoc blend - Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre, and a favourite red. I have bottles going back to 2002 but the 2007 has refined elegance with a wonderful fresh finish. Domaine Sainte Rose is north of the axis between Pezenas and Béziers in the Côtes du Thongue. This is also one of the region's most suitable white wine areas - their whites are just as good. Easily the best value Languedoc available, and as it happens widely available, in the UK and elsewhere.
Domaine Jones can only be described as a micro domaine at barely over 3 hectares in some of the wildest terrain imaginable. The product is simple, a Grenache rouge and a Grenache Gris blanc. The Jones Blanc 2009 was the most enjoyable wine I'd tasted all day. Since last November it seems to have relaxed a bit while retaining its extraordinary mineral structure and discreet savoury interest. Do read Katie's blog.
I rarely come across wines from La Clape, a rugged coastal ridge near Narbonne. Along with Banyuls, it's the only Languedoc-Roussillon red wine area near the cooling sea. The reds have an almost haunting perfume about them - lavender is the best association I've read. I need to get used to their character and the Château d'Anglès Rouge (2009 I recall, mainly Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre) is something I appreciate the more I try it. It combines softness with structure perfectly.