Miquel “Domaine de Barroubio” 2005 Muscat de St-Jean de Minervois (Languedoc) – White minerality and flowers with big acidity. So incredibly vibrant. Among the best that I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting from this appellation. (5/10)
Miquel “Domaine de Barroubio” 2004 Muscat de St-Jean-de-Minervois Dieuvaille (Languedoc) – The classic Dover Cliffs-infused floral sweetness with structural icicles and frost patterns within, adding a great deal of textural complexity to what is usually a fairly straightforward wine. There’s also a lower-toned throb of additional depth that’s only apparent late in the finish, and given all that plus a fine acidic backbone, I wonder if this might not be ideally situated for transformation in the years to come. Well, I’ll never get to find out, as this is my only bottle. (1/10)
Miquel “Domaine de Barroubio” 2004 Muscat de St-Jean-de-Minervois (Languedoc) – From 375 ml. Every time I have a good muscat from either this or the Beaumes-de-Venise appellations, I wonder why I don’t drink more of them. Ennui, probably; there’s a wide world of sweet options out there. But when, for example, a St-Jean is on, there’s just something so sweetly pretty about it, and yet there’s that rocky background that makes it something more than Yet Another Sweet Muscat. This particular bottle is in-your-face, but it’s polite about it, and is a complete blast to drink. (12/09)
Miquel “Domaine de Barroubio” 2004 Muscat de St-Jean-de-Minervois (Languedoc) – There are zillions of sweet muscats that taste more or less the same, and the intersection of those descriptions (freshly-crushed flowers, exotic perfumes, fresh oranges, highly approachable sweetness) is less interesting than the rest. Here, it’s a transparent, quartzy minerality and a good deal of lightly-herbed sea salt; both are decidedly background material to the usual muscattishness, but they’re there, and they make all the difference. As for this particular bottling, it’s starting to bronze a bit – both color and flavor – which tames its exuberance but replaces it with a certain maturity of character. Very nice. (4/09)
Miquel “Domaine de Barroubio” 2004 Muscat St-Jean-de-Minervois Dieuvaille (Languedoc) – A single-parcel muscat (or so I’m led to believe) named after an historic church near the village. Intense essence of muscat, with life and plenty of nerve. Very intense, and while it’s heavy it’s got the structure to support itself. Terrific. (10/06)
Miquel “Domaine de Barroubio” 2004 Muscat St-Jean-de-Minervois “Cuvée Classique” (Languedoc) – This is thee basic wine, also known as “Cuvée Noire” in some markets. Clover honey drizzled over gingered grapes. Long and floral, though with a certain lightness that freshens the sugar. (10/06)
Miquel “Domaine de Barroubio” 2005 Muscat St-Jean-de-Minervois “Cuvée Classique” (Languedoc) – Richer and more vivid than the 2004, though there’s a spikiness to the structure than reduces the appealing cream of the previous vintage. Grapes and green apples add themselves to the finish, which is surprisingly tangy. This is clearly a better wine than the 2004, though it may take a little while to settle into itself. (10/06)
Barroubio 2004 Muscat St-Jean-de-Minervois “Cuvée Bleue” (Languedoc) – Aged in wood (one presumes old) for nine months, on its lees. Chewy/creamy pine needles. Strong, heavy, and somewhat hot. Too much. (10/06)
North of Bize-Minervois, the rocks scattered throughout the seemingly endless vineyards that carpet this region turn white, glinting in the relentless downpour of the southern French sun. This, according to oenophile cartography, is where Minervois turns into St-Jean-de-Minervois, and the deep, powerful reds of the former become the perfumed, rich, muscats of the latter.
Continued here, and including a tasting at Domaine de Barroubio.