Championing greatness in the Languedoc

It didn’t really come as a surprise to us when we saw the wine scores for La Pèira in the The Rhône Report back in March. It epitomises the greatness coming from this top terroir, and from a region that is still (thankfully) being overlooked by the masses. I can still hear Aimé Guibert of Mas de Daumas Gassac:

“When I made my first bottles the retailers and buyers came and they laughed at me. They said “we don’t give a shit about your wine. It’s very good, but you have no name, you have no AOC and you want to sell it like this? At this price? Like a big Bordeaux? No, that’s not possible.””

Today Mas de Daumas Gassac can easily sell for over £80 a bottle. Maybe if it hailed from Bordeaux it could sell for £1,000 per bottle. Aimé claims the Bordeaux winemaker “… doesn’t worry about making poetry. He makes money.” Okay, there’s some fighting talk here. Aimé is known as a man who doesn’t mince his words.

While the essence of what he is saying is true, we shouldn’t ignore that for the everyday wine drinker – like the vast majority of our customers and myself – Bordeaux, Rhône and Loire offer up plenty of super, affordable wines for everyday drinking. But at the high end, for the Rothchilds and the Petrus’ of this world, market demand grants a licence to print money. The likes of Gassac, La Pèira and Le Mas de L’Ecriture, smaller, more humble and lesser-known, are plying out their own products of excellence without a groomed market to sell to. And that’s good for those in the know.

“Aimé Guibert was one of the first pioneers with the guts to say he could make a vin de pays de l’Herault that was good enough to make people cellar it for at least a decade.”

Ryan O’Connell, Love that Languedoc

Back to La Pèira, an even smaller producer than Gassac, but an equally important player in raising the bar. The highly respected Rhône Report had special praise for the 2010 Les Obriers. We sold out of the 2009 vintage within two months in the run up to Christmas last year. Demand was high, but given its painfully small production volumes it didn’t last too long. We have the 2010 landing in September, which is currently still in barrel. This is the best score received of the last three vintages.

Tasted as a final blend, the not yet bottled 2010 Obriers de La Pèira is even more impressive than the ‟09. A blend of 65% Cinsault and 35% Carignan that’s aged all in wooded vats and older barrels, it yields a beautiful array of savory, mineral-laced aromas of black cherry, plum pit, wild herbs, lavender, and toasted walnut shell that carry into a medium to full-bodied Languedoc that has brilliant purity of fruit, a deep, layered mid-palate, and a building, lengthy finish that keeps you coming back for another sip. Even better on the second day, this elegantly styled, complex red should drink beautifully on release, yet age gracefully for 5-8 years. (91-93 pts.)

The 2010 Las Flors held up brilliantly also with 93-96 points. You can view the 2009 vintage here.

Full-bodied and rich on the palate, with surprising elegance and silkiness to the texture, this improves with air, and while it will be approachable on release, it should have no issues evolving gracefully for upwards of a decade or longer. (93-96 pts.)

And the top score went to the top dog. This wine was labelled “next global cult wine” by wine guru Gary Veynerchuk. The 2008 vintage is here.

Deep, layered, and yet still incredibly light and elegant on the palate, with spectacular purity of fruit, loads of richness, and fantastic freshness, this full-bodied beauty might just eclipse both the ‘07 and ‘09.

Not too shabby, eh?

Pictured: Lélé, Le Mas de L’Ecriture. Get 20% off Languedoc wines until the end of June.

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