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2010 Domaine d'Aupilhac, Les Cocalières Blanc, Côteaux du Languedoc
Sylvan Fadat is the man behind the highly acclaimed organic property Domaine d'Aupilhac that located in Montpeyroux, some 36 kms north-west of Montpellier. The Cave, created in 1989 in the family home, is right in the heart of the village. They have been growing grapes for over 5 generations. These are very classy Languedoc wines, from one of the top five producers in the region.
A large part of the vines grow on south-west facing "terraces" on a site named "Aupilhac". They are mainly Mourvèdre and Carignan, but some Syrah, Grenache and Cinsault grow there too.
Another part of the vineyard is the north-west facing "Les Cocalières" at an altitude of some 350m (1150ft) where Syrah predominates, though Mourvèdre and Grenache grow here too. The most northerly facing part is planted with the four white grapes recognized by the Coteaux du Languedoc: Roussanne, Marsanne, Grenache Blanc and Rolle (Vermentino).
Finally, the "Plôs de Baumes" at Aniane, consists of terraces made up of gravel washed down by the Hérault river; it was owned by the grand-father, Marcel Baumes, so is named in his memory.
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.
Montpeyroux's combination of relative altitude, limestone soils and benevolent climate have made it one of the most acclaimed vineyards in the whole of the Languedoc.
With his organic philosophy and respect for the land, Sylvian Fadat of Domaine D'Aupilhac has quickly built a reputation as one of the region’s star producers.
The quality of wines from the Languedoc continues to improve; elegance and power are now harmoniously married in Montpeyroux's top wines.
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