About this WINE
J L Terrier & C Collovray
Jean-Luc Terrier and Christian Collvray were recently hailed as Burgundy's Winemakers of the Year by the renowned Gault-Millau guide and are better known for their exemplary White Burgundies from Domaine Des Deux Roches. In recent years, however, this quality-conscious duo have been producing an outstanding range of wines from 30-year-old vines on slopes 500 metres above sea level south of Limoux in the Languedoc region.
The combination of quality, varietal definition and value persuaded us to take the important step of working with them to produce three of our House wines.
Over the last 25 years, the fortunes of Languedoc-Rousillon have been transformed largely due to the introduction of the Vin de Pays classification in 1979. This led to extensive replanting on more suitable sites, a drastic reduction in permitted yields and, crucially, reducing the dependence of red wines on the ubiquitous Carignan grape.
The new classification enabled producers not only to experiment with other grape varieties, but also to pick up the gauntlet thrown down by the New World – to give the customers what they wanted, namely clearly-labelled international varietals like Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Despite a sometimes deserved reputation for its contributions to the European wine lake, this exciting region continues to see a flow of investment from the Bordelais and others, which has enabled the evolution of the qualitative pyramid to continue. Perhaps the most striking improvements have been seen in Minervois La Livinière and Pic Saint Loup, but not far behind are the wines of St.Chinian and Cabardès.
Regardless of the financial influx and the wonderful terroir of the different appellations, the increase in quality is also allied to some extraordinarily-gifted winemakers, including Jean-Luc Terrier and Jean-Louis Denois.
Southern Rhône Blend
The vast majority of wines from the Southern Rhône are blends. There are 5 main black varieties, although others are used and the most famous wine of the region, Châteauneuf du Pape, can be made from as many as 13 different varieties. Grenache is the most important grape in the southern Rhône - it contributes alcohol, warmth and gentle juicy fruit and is an ideal base wine in the blend. Plantings of Syrah in the southern Rhône have risen dramatically in the last decade and it is an increasingly important component in blends. It rarely attains the heights that it does in the North but adds colour, backbone, tannins and soft ripe fruit to the blend.
The much-maligned Carignan has been on the retreat recently but is still included in many blends - the best old vines can add colour, body and spicy fruits. Cinsault is also backtracking but, if yields are restricted, can produce moderately well-coloured wines adding pleasant-light fruit to red and rosé blends. Finally, Mourvèdre, a grape from Bandol on the Mediterranean coast, has recently become an increasingly significant component of Southern Rhône blends - it often struggles to ripen fully but can add acidity, ripe spicy berry fruits and hints of tobacco to blends.