|Winegeese organisers, Beverley Mathews (right) and|
Maurice O'Mahony (left) with Isla and Paul Gordon.
There are more vines growing in the Languedoc than in Australia. Paul Gordon should know. He is Australian and he and his Irish wife Isla work (and I mean work) a vineyard in the Languedoc about twenty minutes drive from Beziers. The vineyard is called Domaine la Sarabande and they had four wines at the latest Winegeese tasting in L’Atitude 51 in Cork last evening.
The couple met in New Zealand in 2003 and then spent five or six years in wine in Marlborough. In 2009, they settled in France and raised some €40,000 from relations and friends in return for wine in the future. Isla: There is just the two of us. We are very small; everything is gently worked and done by hand. We have upped production to about 28,000 bottles a year which is more or less where we want to be.
With so many vineyards in the area, there is much competition locally and so the pair export about 90 per cent of their wine, mostly to English speaking countries. And indeed, those same countries (Ireland, US, Australia and New Zealand) are all happy with screw caps but not so the French.
And the bottling is done on the farm, but by a mobile contractor who drives up in his specially equipped truck when they are ready. “The wine goes in one end; the cartons come out the other!”
Then we moved on to their beautifully name Misterioso, their entry level red from 2012, a great match with the Duck terrine from L’Atitude (the ladies here know their pairings and regularly get them spot on!). It is fruit forward, easy drinking, fresh and juicy and very approachable.The 2011 AOP Rouge was next up, a blend of Grenache (60%), Carignan (25) and Syrah. “A lot more going on here...more structure..more body. Suits red meats, stews. Carignan is pain to grow, susceptible to disease but its earthy character makes it worth it.” It went down well with the L’Atitude spiced beef.
It was perhaps my favourite but only 1000 bottles are produced! “It is really quite special. Earthy fungal, herbal, minty (the vineyard is bordered by the garrigue) and fresh to the finish. Because of the soil type, the wine holds the acidity, it is a winemaker’s dream, no manipulation required,” said Paul. A lovely wine to finish a very pleasant evening on.
Next up: December 5th 6.00pm in the Food Emporium (Brown Thomas). John Wilson talk and tasting on the Wine Geese. No fee but do book a place via L’Atitude or the Ballymaloe Wine Shop in BT.