Pigs and priories

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The quirky label and handle of this white wine did not detract from its quality. Lard, des Choix les Champs Libre 2013 from Lebosc was a tasty drop, from the first subtle aromatic nose of sweet peaches to its long, dry finish. The peachiness gave away its origins as being a hot climate white yet it still retained a pebbly, mineral twist on the palate. It has an IGP ranking from the Ardeche department, near the Rhone. Tasted blind, this wine had rich, big flavours and a quality that would show up many AC wines of, supposedly, higher ranking. It would match stronger white meat and sauce flavours. Pork, perhaps?

The Languedoc produces the largest volume of wine in France, not surprisingly most of it is red and 63% IGP. However, 19% does have AC appellations though, as can be seen from the white wine above, AC/IGP labels are not necessarily a guarantee of quality distinctions. The Prieure St Jean de Bebian has previously appeared on this site; this was the 2007 vintage. The wine is from Pezanas (now AC Coteaux de Languedoc) and, according to the blurb, is constituted from all thirteen of the permitted grapes. Whilst the Carignan grape is in decline because of its perceived lack of quality, the Languedoc plantings of Syrah and Grenache are on the increase with the resulting increase in finesse over power.

This wine had an intense black/red colour but a brick rim followed by a rich nose. The fact it was the right time to drink this was underlined by its soft tannins leading to licquorice notes and a drying finish. It was a well-made wine, polished, au point, and a beautiful accompaniment to the stronger food flavours of the area.

[Richard: the name of the white is apparently a French pun, based on L’Ardechois or, possibly, L’Art depending on which website you read. Hilarious, non? From Highbury Vintners, at a slightly ambitious £16. Geoff’s notes are spot on and I ought to mention that he identified the grape – Grenache Blanc –  blind. Probably the best natural wine I’ve tasted.

I didn’t think the ’07 Bebian (bought en primeur from the WS in 2008, about £20) was quite as good as the ’08 tasted recently. A shame as I’ve got more of the former. But a good drink with plenty of terroir – it couldn’t really be from anywhere else.]

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