My last week’s post covered the Loire producers who were present at the first London tasting. This week covers those producers from other parts of France and whose wines I tasted and impressed me and, in the case of Roger Groult, his cider and Calvados. To make this tasting manageable producers were limited to showing four examples from their range.
Domaine Paul Blanck & Fils
It was good to see Philippe Blanck again and taste the wines which Frédéric, his cousin, makes. The Blanck wines have lovely purity and precision. This was typified by the 2017 Rosenbourg Riesling, from a parcel planted on granite, with its concentration of fruit and length on the palate. No doubt the severe April frost, which reduced yields by 80%, accentuated this wine’s precision. Their 2016 Grand Cru Furstentum, comes from a limestone vineyard, and has lovely mouth-filling texture and again is very long and precise. Surely this has the potential to age for many years.
Moving from the eastern end of France to the south-west to Jurançon close to the Pyrénées, I was impressed by all four of the Domaine Cauhapé wines – 2017 Geyser (sec), 2015 La Canopée (sec), 2015 C de Cauhapé (sec) and 2015 Quator. But then Cauhapé has long been a source of fine Jurançon – both sec and moelleux. I’ll pick out the richly fruited and textured 2015 Quator (100% Petit Manseng), which is a blend of the best of Cauhapé’s range of sweet wines. It has wonderful freshness in the finish to balance the rich fruit.
Coume del Mas
This domaine, which joined Vignobles & Signatures last year, was created in 2001 by Philippe and Nathalie Gard making Banyuls and Collioure. I was particularly impressed by their 2016 Quadratur Collioure made from 50% Grenache Noir, 30% Mourvedre and 20% Carignan. Full of rich, concentrated, ripe black fruits it has lovely texture and very good length.
Although I have tasted and enjoyed Roger Groult’s Calvados, I had never tried his cider. The company’s origins go back to the 18th Century but it was Roger Groult (1905-1988) who really established distillery’s reputation and gave the company his name. His grandson is now the owner and distiller.
I liked the cider’s strong appley character, which I assume comes both from the quality of fruit but also that the cider is bottled fermented and spends two years on its lees before being dégorged. I tasted the 2015, which was dégorged in 2017. Unfortunately it is not available in the UK. As it retails for 12€ in France it may be the price that puts UK imports off.
The three Calvados on show – 3 ans d’âge, Vénerable and the Sherry cask finish – were all impressive particularly for the gentleness of the spirit – not at all aggressive.
Amongst other wines tasted – Jean Durup‘s crisp 2017 Petit Chablis (10.80€) and the more concentrated 2017 Chablis (13.30€) were good value and that Domaine de l’Hortus (Pic Saint-Loup) remains a star of the Languedoc.