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2012 Deusyls de la Pèira, Vin de Pays de l'Hérault
Scores and Reviews
Our most exciting Languedoc find recently , La Pèira is located on the limestone plateau of the fashionable enclave of Les Terraces du Larzac.
First planted by the Romans, these beautiful vineyards share the terrain with the Roquefort-producing sheep and the wild savagery of the garrigue. The ‘Domaine’ consist of a stone barn, its location almost exactly half way between the two great properties of Grange des Pères and Mas de Daumas Gassac.
Highly respected consultant oenologist Claude Gros has really struck gold here. His secret is fairly straightforward and centres on traditional winemaking with indigenous varietals (both Carignan and Cinsault pre-date Grenache in the area).
Every single wine in the versatile Pèira portfolio is an absolute stunner; from the magisterial complexity of the white, Deusyls, through to the three reds which pretty much cover the spectrum of expectation from a great red wine; Les Obriers is fruity yet dense, Les Flors is rich yet magnificently intricate and La Pèiraen Damaisela is a terrific vin de garde, worthy of extended cellaring.
In the north, the white wines of Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage, St-Joseph, and St-Péray are produced from blends of Marsanne and Roussanne. Generally Marsanne is the dominant partner and it lends colour, body and weight to the blend, as well as richly scented fruit. Roussanne, a notoriously low yielder and pernickety to grow, produces intensely aromatic wines which contribute bouquet, delicacy and finesse to the blend.
Until about 15 years ago there was very little interest in southern Rhône whites as it was widely believed that the combination of dull non aromatic grapes and the baking summer heat meant quality wine production was nigh impossible. Since then the quality has improved markedly through the introduction of cool fermentation techniques and increased plantings of northern Rhône white grapes.
The base of many blends is still Grenache Blanc, a widely planted variety producing fresh wines with apple-like fruits, often with hints of aniseed. Ugni Blanc is still found in many blends, as is Clairette though their general lack of character and definition has led to a reduction in plantings. The future for southern Rhône whites appears to lie with Roussanne, Marsanne, and, increasingly, Viognier.
The Coteaux du Languedoc appellation is either a useful assemblage of the top enclaves in the Hérault department or an extremely unhelpful conglomeration of vastly different sub-regions which would be more helpfully categorised independently. Whatever one's opinion, it is not short of both significance and potential, running along the Mediterranean coast from Narbonne almost as far east as Nîmes, and covering over 10,000 hectares – as well as some of the most attractive and wonderfully-situated vineyards in France.
Several of its sub-appellations are fighting for full AC status, the most famous being La Clape, Picpoul de Pinet and Pic St Loup. Of the others, high quality wines are now being produced in, inter alia, Montpeyroux, Grés De Montpellier and Terrasses du Larzac. All the principle grapes are represented, with Carignan and Cinsault reduced to a maximum of 40 percent apiece to encourage more fashionable varieties, especially Syrah and Mourvèdre. The terroir is equally diverse, with limestone, schist, sand and clay all evidenced.
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