Showing posts with label St Chinian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label St Chinian. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Two to try from St Chinian and the lesser known Madiran


Two to try. St Chinian and the lesser known Madiran

Brumont Torus Madiran (AC) 2011, 14%, €18.45 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny


Madiran is a lesser known wine region in Gascony in the South West of France and Tannat is the big red grape here. In this Torus, Tannat accounts for 50% while the two Cabernets, Sauvignon and Franc, account for the rest.

With freshness and depth from its terroir, it is a “perfect match for the local gastronomy” which features specialities such as Magret de Canard and Cassoulet, “foods that demand a wine of serious character and structure”. The Tannat provides all that plus tannins (of course!). When I first came across this grape I was told it was a man’s grape! Things have changed since then if this very approachable Torus is anything to go by.

It is dark ruby, lighter at the rim, legs slow to clear. Blackcurrant to the fore in the rather intense aromas. Rich and powerful is the first impression, great depth and concentration, fresh and full of flavour, good acidity too, and tannins as you'd expect from the name of the grape. Fruit and acidity well balanced all the way through to the soft finish. Highly Recommended.

The man’s grape tag may well be passé at this stage. Even six years ago I found a delicious rosé, with a strawberry nose, fruity and dry, entirely loveable and gluggable. Ten per cent Cab Sauv and 10% Cab Franc had been added to the Tannat and the winemakers of Irouleguy ended up with an award winning gem.

Research has shown too that the grape “has record levels of procyanidins, the heart-friendly chemical in red wine”. Grapes and Wines also says that Tannat reds have been and are being improved by modern wine-making methods (which include a tannin-softening technique). So not as tough as they were in the old days!



Tabatau Camprigou Saint-Chinian (AC) 2014, 13%, €15.20 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny


St Chinian, just 20 miles from the Med, is in the Languedoc-Roussillon wine region, close to the other AOCs of Minervois and Faugeres. Tabatau, in Occitan, means child of the tobacconist. Winemaker Bruno Gracia’s grandfather was the village tobacconist, hence the unusual name for the winery. The blend for the 2014 is Syrah (50%), Grenache (40) and Carignan (10).

It is a ruby colour. There are red fruit aromas, moderate intensity. All that lovely red fruit, some spice too and silky smooth tannins (with just a little bite) combine on the palate. Medium bodied, with a nice balance between fruit and acidity, and Highly Recommended.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Languedoc Strongholds: Corbieres, Minervois, St Chinian

Languedoc Strongholds: Corbieres, Minervois, St Chinian.
Top Notch Reds. And White!


“Down here, they speak the language differently”, I had mentioned to my companion as we came down from Peyrepertuse (left), a high Cathar fort in the Languedoc, south of Carcassonne. Workmen stopped to allow the string of tourists reach the car park. The digger-driver was instantly on his mobile and soon he illustrated my language point as one “Whay” after another boomed out. No gentle “Oui” for him!


They make wine differently too in the rocky hills of the western Languedoc. And they make it very well indeed.



Le Moulin des Nonnes, Cuvée Inés blanc 2012, Minervois, 13.5%, €12.00 in SuperValu French Wine sale from 12th Feb.

This Vin Biologique, produced by the Andrieu brothers, is a blend of Roussanne (50%), Grenache Blanc (40) and Muscat petit grains (10) and is Very Highly Recommended. Colour is a bright gold and it has beautiful floral notes. Nice fruity notes on the palate too, some gorgeous spice too. This elegant organic white, with its fruit and finesse, surprised me. Apparently, less than ten per cent of Minervois wine is blanc. Perhaps we should encourage them to make more! “Whay, whay, si vous plais!”

Les Secrets Saint Chinian rouge 2012, 13.5%, €10.00 in SuperValu French Wine sale.

This red, a brilliant blend of Grenache and Syrah, is Very Highly Recommended. There is a superb introduction on the palate, excellent fruit, spice galore, but nothing extreme, all well balanced. Quite an elegant medium-bodied performer with a silky smooth lingering finish.

St Laurent Corbieres rouge 2012, 14%, €10.00 in SuperValu French Wine sale.

The palate on our second red is slightly more reserved and none the worse for that, fruit and spice again in evidence but slightly more rounded. The Corbieres, bottled by the same co-op in Saint Chinian, is more full bodied, possibly a bit better as a food wine. Grilled meats and cheese are recommended. Indeed, I think the Corbieres is marginally the better wine but I have a small preference for the Saint Chinian. Both though are Very Highly Recommended.

*   French wines are extremely popular in SuperValu and all three above are part of their French sale that begins on February 12th. These three would be a good start and I also note that the Minervois blanc is part of a trio that may be had for €25.00, the others being Coteaux de Giennois (Loire Sauvignon blanc) and Domaine Cristia Grenache. There is more from the Languedoc and big name areas, such as Bordeaux and the Rhone, are also well represented.