23 Jan 2011

Wine of the week 9

This time we find ourselves in southern France, and the Languedoc region...

The wine is from an estate called Mas Jullien, and this is one of their two red wines, called " Les états d'âme". It is from the 2008 vintage and the appellation Terrasses du Larzac. I am not sure what the wine is made from, but I suspect by it's taste that it is mainly (or entirely) grenache. The label (which tells us next to nothing about the wine itself) is very unconventional and consists mainly of a poem written by the producer, who has a very high reputation in the region. He also produces one of the few seriously good white wines in this warm region.

I will just translate the last line of the poem that takes up most of the label for you, as I like it a lot :
"Spare me fear, I nurture doubt"

Olivier Jullien varies the way he produces this wine each year, according to the conditions and profile of the vintage.

tasting note
I found the nose rather animal, and so not too attractive initially, although quite expressive. It clearly needs some air and smelt much better the next day when I took the photograph above. The wine really comes into its own on the palate, which is just as well as we don't just sniff wines, do we? I found it vibrant and "sappy", full of delicate and delicious fruit flavours. There was nothing heavy or over-alcoholic about it, unlike so many wines from the area. Being made from grenache the tannins are very light too. The texture is smooth and the whole thing is very drinkable. Two of us drank all of the bottle bar a small glass during lunch, with me doing most of the hard work! It went really well with a huge and juicy veal cutlet.

Its retail price in France is in the vicinity of 15 euros, which is on the high side for this type of wine, but there is no disputing its quality.


  1. Not the first time I spot this comment: “price on the high side for this type of wine”...
    What does it mean?
    Château Labégorce-Zédé used to be a Belgian owned, managed and – yes, even made – middle-of-the-range Margaux wine. It changed hands, I think.
    Its – actual, not alleged – yield must be around 70-80 hl/ha (all categories of wine coming from the harvest of the plots taken into consideration) and its taste is ... OK. When you look at the “en primeur offers”, they easily reach more than that price (excluding taxes), and the retail prices are roughly double that tag.
    I haven’t seen Olivier for a while, but used to know him well and regularly drink his wines.
    He is, amongst other things, the creator of a 100 % varietal cinsault red wine of great quality as well. I’d rather be given one of his bottles than a full case of Labégorce.
    So what is the correct price of a bottle?

  2. Fair comment Luc, but I think it is also fair to tell consumers who usually expect to pay, say, 5 to 8 euros for wines from the Languedic that this is more expensive, but worth it. I know that price scales for wines are crazy, especially when you put Bordeaux or Burgundy into the balance