Two heavy wheight reds from the Languedoc
As we are approaching the end of the year and Christmas is almost here, I am in a mood to try some more serious wines. This time: two heavy weight red wines from two very serious producers from Languedoc. Both of them are blends of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre and both producers are almost maniacs about low yields in their wines.
Chateau Puech Haut is a producer I know since 2008 and I enjoy their wines a lot. So far I had the 2004 and 2005 Tete de Belier Rouge and the 2006 and 2008 Tete de Belier Blanc. All their wines are complex and have amazing depth and flavors. This time I tasted one of their top cuvee: Clos du Pic. Together with the 40eme, made only in the best years(they made it in 2001 and then only in 2007 again), the Clos du Pic is coming from tiny yields of only 1.8 hectoliters per hectare. The result is a wine with an amazing concentration.
La Peira en Damasiela, Terrasses du Larzac in Languedoc is already a cult wine. Doing a little search on Google I found out that the domain took its name from an old Occitan expression used by stone workers meaning ‘place the stone with its best face forward.’
Started in 2004 and neighboring the well known estates of Grange des Pères and Daumas Gassac, La Pèira has already a stellar reputation and is a success story. It produces just four wines — a white(Deusyls) and three reds( top cuvee La Peira, Las Flors – blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre and Les Obrires de la Peira- blend of Carignan and Cinsault). The reds have won the biggest attention but their white not only comes in very limited quantities(about 1,000 bottles per vintage at most), it is also a very interesting blend of Viognier with less Roussane aged for up to 24 months in French oak.
Behind La Peira venture are UK music composer Rob Dougan (“Clubbed to Death” from the Matrix soundtrack), winemaker Jérémie Depierre and consulting eonologist Claude Gros(the person behind another Grand Cru of the Languedoc – Chateau de la Negly with La Porte du Ciel and Clos des Truffiers, other monster wines). Their wines received stellar points from prestigious wine critics starting with their first vintage. Wine advocate gave for the 2007 vintage 96 points for La Peira, 94 p for Las Flors and 92 P for Les Obriers and similar high grades for 2005 and 2006 vintage. The best part is that the wines still have very down to earth prices.
Both wines tasted in this session have amazing opulence, full bodied, powerful mouth feel and a multidimensional layered finish with a very long aftertaste.
2006 Las Flors de la Peira, Terrasses du Larzac
Price: 57 EUR
The wine has an opaque dark red almost black color. The nose is very polished, elegant and complex. Aromas of meat- beef blood, massive spices – dark pepper and mint, black olives, candied dark fruits – blackberry, mulberry and dry plums and nice floral aromas of lilies. The end result is an elegant, big and complex nose. In the mouth this full bodied wine is decadent, with an initial salty attack that develops with dark chocolate, spicy, peppery sweet ripe dark fruits – blackcurrant, blackberry, plums, coffee, with firm tannins and nice acidity. The balance in the mouth is outstanding, perfect integration of the 14.5% alcohol and nice freshness with some lifting minerality. The finish is very long, thick layers of bitter-sweet chocolate, black olives and ripe fruits build a long aftertaste tempered by firm drying tannins. The wine has freshness and elegance. Excellent+ wine.
2007 Chateau Puech Haut – Clos du Pic
This is coming from a very hot, but amazing vintage in the South of France.
The wine has an opaque dark red with purple hues color. The nose is more hedonistic, meatier and with more dramatic animal aromas: beef blood, musk, balsamic vinegar, some dried tomatoes, candied dark and red fruits – plums, dark cherry, blackberry, big dark pepper and cocoa aromas with a little bit of mint. In the mouth this full bodied wine has great concentration and depth with flavors of sweet candied dark fruits, cocoa, very spicy: the black pepper is huge, cloves, meaty, a round mouth and firm but silky tannins. The finish is very long with bitter-sweet chocolate and candied spicy blackberry. We have a wine with a perfectly balanced 15% alcohol, but the wine has flavors flirting with over ripeness. Nevertheless it still is a juicy wine. Excellent+ wine as well.
As much as I enjoyed both wines tremendously, I have to be sincere and say that my favorite was the 2006 Las Flors. The wine has better freshness, balance, is better polished and more elegant.
If you are able to find these wines I strongly recommend you to try them as they are examples of the greatness the Languedoc has to offer.
Thanks for reading!