As a perceptive reader, you will have seen that the ‘theme’ was southern French both in terms of food and wines. it was now the turn of the reds to accompany a flavourful lamb daube which Richard had prepared. We moved further west from the Rhone river, into the Languedoc, and, in particular, Herault, for the first wine.
Dmne de Grange de Pères 2005 is made from Syrah, Mourvedre and Cabernet grapes and is a Vin Du Pays at 13.5% alcohol. The colour was deep red and almost opaque but with little sign of ageing. The nose was perfumed (Janet – “fine tea”, me “orange citrussy”); it certainly was attractive. The palate reminded us of refreshing, sweet loganberries with its high acidity but soft mouth feel. It was medium weight but had a long dry finish – a polished wine and a perfect accompaniment to the daube.
The last red (Prieuré St Jean de Bébian) was a 2007 wine from the Languedoc with 14.5% of alcohol. According to the Taste Languedoc blog this wine includes all 13 allowable Chateueneuf varieties, for reasons explained. The colour was still strongly purple with lots of clinging viscosity. Still quite closed on the nose we started to get more herby notes as the wine opened up and it became quite broad in its aroma. This wine still needed more bottle age, being quite tannic and drying but it did have a savoury, rich palate which, as it developed became more spicy. Quite different to the Herault, it nevertheless provided enough evidence as to its potential quality; it’s probably worth keeping for another 4 – 5 years.
[Richard: both these wines were from the Wine Society. The Grange was bought in, I think, 2008 as part of a mixed Languedoc case and was, considering how sought after this domaine has become, not too expensive – maybe £40. It was also a complete fluke as I had never previously heard of it. The Bébian was bought en primeur, part of the ‘outstanding’ (WS) 2007 vintage, £20. We had a feeling this might not be ready and so it proved although I think it would drink very well if opened, decanted and left for 24 hours. Unfortunately there was none left to confirm this theory. The Grange however was well within the ‘drinking window’, another useful WS phrase, and was excellent.]