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MWG April 17th tasting (1/6): Flat and off

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The huge Languedoc-Rousillon wine region arcs northeastward along the French Mediterranean coast from the Spanish border nearly to the Rhône. The two white blends in this flight came from opposite ends of the region.

Coteaux du Languedoc 2010, Puech Noble, Domaine René Rostaing ($24.20, 12167730)
Owned by renowned Côte-Rôtie producer René Rostaing, the estate is located near Nîmes in easternmost Languedoc. This is a blend of Grenache Blanc (50%), Vermentino (35%) and Viognier (15%). Sees only stainless steel until bottling. 13% ABV.
Peach and banana (Juicy Fruit gum in other words), chalk and, as one perceptive sniffer noted, a hint of “fish oil capsules.” Lush, smooth and not very fruity. The chalky substrate, bitter undertow and saline finish add interest but the low acidity fails to provide enough lift or tension. (Buy again? Probably not, especially when Villard’s Saint-Péray is around.)

VDP des Côtes Catalanes 2012, Les Calcinaires, Domaine Gauby ($25.40, 11463060)
A blend of organically farmed grapes, though exactly which isn’t clear. Just about everyone agrees that Muscat dominates the blend and that Macabeu is a minor player. Many add Vermentino to the mix. Some say the Vermintino is joined (or replaced) by Chardonnay and/or Grenache Blanc and/or Grenache Gris. Whatever. The grapes are directly pressed. After clarification by cold settling, the juice is fermented with indigenous yeasts, mainly in barrels, and matured eight months on the lees in lined concrete tanks. Bottled unfiltered and unfined. 13.5% ABV.
Odd nose of baloney and ketchup that slowly gives way to the more expected floral, fruit and mineral aromas. A poised mouthful of sweet-ripe fruit softly lit by lowish acidity. Chalk and saline notes mark the long finish. Quite different from earlier vintages and from the glowing descriptions proffered by SAQ staff and several wine critics, ours was probably an off bottle – the first in a series at this tasting. (Buy again? Yes, to give it another chance.)

Rostaing and Gauby are two well-known and highly regarded producers, which makes the lack of accurate technical information on these wines especially unfathomable.

Written by carswell

April 26, 2014 at 15:13

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