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côteaux du languedoc

There is no Copa clause

Clavel 1999 Coteaux du Languedoc Terroir de la Mejanelle “Copa Santa” (Languedoc) – Smells corked, so I put it aside. The second day, I think it’s still very mildly corked, but there’s a sweet – if quite tired – expressiveness to it that almost overcomes the taint. Which makes me think that an intact bottle could actually be pretty nice, though I definitely wouldn’t hold it any longer. (6/12)

In the fields

St. Martin de la Garrigue 2008 Coteaux du Languedoc “Tradition” (Languedoc) – A blend of syrah and carignan. If not the simple, basic-fruit country wine it sort of pretends to be in affect, it achieves a fair portion of a similar set of goals. Ripe fruit, sun-washed and red-turning-to-purple berried, with hints of soil and underbrush, but nothing insisting on casting the exuberant fruit in any kind of shadow, no matter how momentary. Very quaffable, very easygoing. (2/11)


Clavel 1999 Coteaux du Languedoc Terroir de la Mejanelle “Copa Santa” (Languedoc) – Clinging by its nails to life and relevancy. Fully resolved and then some, leaving a porcine meat juice, herb-infused broth, and some browned, autumnal appeal in its declining wake. If you’re holding any, don’t. (12/10)

Hugues Johnson

Hugues Beaulieu “Les Costières de Pomerols” 2009 Coteaux du Languedoc Picpoul de Pinet (Languedoc) – As reliable a bargain wine as there is these days, crisply green and succulent, driving its sharp point home with one sharp thrust and then letting it rest. Uncomplicated and amenable. (9/10)

A nice Peyre

[bottle]Les Costières de Pomerols “Saint-Peyre” 2008 Coteaux du Languedoc Viognier (Languedoc) – Despite suggestions of the lurid/lotiony floral notes typical of viognier, this tastes more like one of the region’s picpouls than it does viognier. For many, this will be a good thing, and in fact the acid and general crispness are positives, but the consequence is that those honeysuckle elements that are present don’t quite integrate with the rest of the wine. Perhaps viognier does need to be just a little bit sticky (not sweet, but texturally adhesive) for its best expression, whether or not everyone likes that expression. It’s not a bad wine, though, and I suspect some will quite enjoy it. (1/10)

Santa clause

Clavel 1999 Coteaux du Languedoc Terroir de la Mejanelle “Copa Santa” (Languedoc) – Clinging to life, but with one foot in the graduated-care center and the other in a cast. Rough at the core but smooth at the edges, showing salt, sand, and soil with a light waft of baked red berries and a tinny edge of tannin. A little too old, but still a pleasant memory. (12/09)

Count Henri twice

Comte Henri de Colbert “Château de Flaugergues” 2003 Coteaux du Languedoc La Mejanelle (Languedoc) – Rocky and forbidding, dominated by its tannin (which is more sludgy than hard), and while there’s layer upon layer of thick blue fruit, I’d be hard-pressed to identify this as French. It tastes more Californian, or perhaps South African (before they layer on the oak, which blessedly is not an intrusive issue here). Weirdly compelling, but mostly because it’s served amidst a procession of underfruited wines; in the context of other vintages, I think this would be easily put aside. (9/09)

Cave art

Cavalier “Château de Lascaux” 2005 Coteaux du Languedoc (Languedoc) – Dark. Rosemary and earth, blackened fruit, some tar. All muscle, but not much flesh; this vintage is a little harder than is probably good for it, with layer upon layer of ripe but oppressive tannin. Will it age into something better? Maybe. (6/09)

Garrigues Payton

[vineyard]Clavel 1999 Coteaux du Languedoc Terroir de la Mejanelle “Les Garrigues” (Languedoc) – Fully mature, I’d say, even though there’s some scratchy tannin lingering. The “fruit” (mostly gravel-baked herbs, pork, a bit of earth) has softened, leaving an espresso-ground texture behind, and the wine’s starting to lighten and fade on the finish. (10/08)

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