The Languedoc is still one of the finest sources of keenly-priced, hand-made wines in the world. La Clape, a rocky mound of windy scrub sticking out into the Mediterranean south of Narbonne, is one of its most interesting terroirs. It is perhaps best known as the natural home of the pale-skinned bourboulenc grape, which can make lovely marine-scented dry whites here, but as it happens my suggestions this issue are actually for pink and red.
Château d’Anglès is just one of several particularly interesting and ambitious properties here (Négly and Mas du Soleilla spring to mind, too) but it has the distinction of being run by Eric Fabre, who had eight years as technical director at Château Lafite before moving south to establish his own family domaine.
It takes a lot to make me enthusiastic about a rosé, particularly in the middle of the northern hemisphere winter, but I was really taken by the Château d’Anglès Classique Rosé 2010 La Clape, a singular, pale orangey pink blend of 80% mourvèdre, 10% syrah and 10% grenache that had a rather umami quality to it, lovely freshness and a proper dry finish. “Real wine,” I wrote in my tasting notes, and thought it would make both a good aperitif while substantial enough to go with food. It’s more assertive than a typical Provençal rosé and much drier than most New World pinks.
I also liked the Château d’Anglès Classique Rouge 2008 La Clape, a typical Languedoc blend of 40% syrah, 40% grenache and 20% mourvèdre that is already both complete and extremely seductive. I was very taken by the fineness of the tannins (a Lafite trick?), as well as by the density of flavour. The sea breezes here help to keep the grapes free from disease and help extend the growing season.
Both of these two wines, which I think should drink well for at least another two and possibly three years, are currently available at the recently revived Wine Rack stores in the UK, reduced from £11.99 to £9.99, but it seems a bit nonsensical to be selling the red with an extra two years’ ageing at the same price as the year-old rosé. Such are the quirks of pricing a range, I have found. So, you could argue that it is the red that is the real bargain here.
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