Red, Drink now

2013 Ch. Cesseras, Cuvée Olric, Minervois

2013 Ch. Cesseras, Cuvée Olric, Minervois

Red | Drink now | Domaine Coudoulet | Code:  32791 | 2013 | France > Languedoc-Roussillon > Minervois | Syrah/Shiraz | Medium Bodied, Dry | 14.0 % alcohol

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The Producer

Domaine Coudoulet

Domaine Coudoulet

This domaine produces first-class wines at absurdly low prices. Brothers Jean-Yves and Pierre-André are the 6th generation of Ournacs to produce wines here. Like other growers in the area, they have progressively replanted their vineyards over the last 15 years, replacing many traditional varieties with Syrah, Chardonnay and Viognier. The vines are grown on clay-chalk soils and part of the property qualifies for the Minervois appellation where Syrah and Carignan are planted.

Their top red wine, the Château de Cesseras, La Livinière, is made from predominantly Syrah and has great depth, richness and class. Pierre André Ournac was one of the first to realise the potential of La Livinière and makes one of its very best wines. Stylistically this is a polished example, having been partly aged in new wood, but, importantly, a wine which has not lost sight of provenance and which has a real sense of place. The aromatics of herbs and thyme and the rich palate, with its notes of scorched earth and macerated plums, all betray the warm Mediterranean backdrop, evocative of Pagnol, Matisse and a spirit of leisure.

This estate is particularly renowned for the quality of its Viogniers. It is remarkable how well this grape which was traditionally grown in the Northern Rhône appellations of Condrieu and Château Grillet, adapts to the warmer growing conditions of the Languedoc, producing wines of immense charm and finesse at a fraction of the price of their Northern Rhône counterparts.

The Grape

Syrah/Shiraz

Syrah/Shiraz

A noble black grape variety grown particularly in the Northern Rhône where it produces the great red wines of Hermitage, Cote Rôtie and Cornas, and in Australia where it produces wines of startling depth and intensity. Reasonably low yields are a crucial factor for quality as is picking at optimum ripeness. Its heartland, Hermitage and Côte Rôtie, consists of 270 hectares of steeply terraced vineyards producing wines that brim with pepper, spices, tar and black treacle when young. After 5-10 years they become smooth and velvety with pronounced fruit characteristics of damsons, raspberries, blackcurrants and loganberries.

It is now grown extensively in the Southern Rhône where it is blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre to produce the great red wines of Châteauneuf du Pape and Gigondas amongst others. Its spiritual home in Australia is the Barossa Valley, where there are plantings dating as far back as 1860. Australian Shiraz tends to be sweeter than its Northern Rhône counterpart and the best examples are redolent of new leather, dark chocolate, liquorice, and prunes and display a blackcurrant lusciousness.

South African producers such as Eben Sadie are now producing world- class Shiraz wines that represent astonishing value for money.

The Region

Minervois

One of the most consistent of the Languedoc appellations, Minervois covers over 5,000 hectares, located due east of the magnificent medieval town of Carcassonne and sub-divided into five climatic zones. Granted AOC status in 1985, Minervois has progressed rapidly and its wines, predominantly red, are no longer dominated by the less-than-obviously-elegant Carignan variety made by a full or partial carbonic maceration. Indeed the so-called cépages améliorateurs, Syrah and Mourvèdre, now have to make up at least 20 percent of the blend, and are vinified more traditionally.

With increasingly impressive whites, combining such fascinating indigenous grapes as Rolle and Bourboulenc and a selection of Vin Doux Naturels, Minervois is a richly-diverse and naturally well-endowed appellation, fully deserving its resurrected reputation.

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