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DWWA19's top Languedoc reds return

Now on sale for arrival on/by Tuesday 7th July!

 

The news

We bring news of two wines that proved hugely popular in last year's Decanter World Wine Awards, both Best in Show or Platinum-award winners at DWWA19.

Both were red, both were from Languedoc, both were among the very best wines we tasted from what was already a supreme and very heady list. The Best in Show was the Larmanela (rouge) 2016 from Bergerie du Capucin (BdC) in Languedoc’s Pic St Loup AOC. The Platinum was Château Grézan's Schistes Dorés Faugères 2017.

More detail and the fuller story of those wines appears here (click link). 

We're taking some more of these wines (albeit the new vintage of the Larmanela ... and before that seems like a disappointment, do take a good look/read below).

These wines (see also others below from these two producers) will here on/by July 8th; we're now converting reservations to firm orders (and taking payment) for those who pre-booked the wines. We have good stocks arriving of all of these wines for those who didn't pre-book!

 

Larmanela (rouge) - Bergerie du Capucin

I personally regard the Larmanela as the best wine I tasted at/from DWWA19 (the La Fillaboa 1898 Albarino ran it close, mind).

It was sublime.

But it came with a problem.

That problem was one of timing. And the scarcity that followed. The DWWA panel tested it only towards the end of the vintage’s run, after it had already won plenty of awards (and seen its demand rocket) elsewhere, mainly in France. By the time we/the UK knew of it, there were only a few dozen cases left at source. And we took those. It's all gone now; there is no more.

It’s now a year later. And we're looking at the same problem again. And trying to dodge it, this time.

The DWWA judging will not happen until September at the earliest, if at all. The new (2017) vintage of the Larmanela has been on release for a while and has won top awards where they have been held. Obviously, none of us can know yet what it may do at DWWA20, if, indeed DWWA20 comes to pass.

What I am quite sure of - from talking with the producer - is that it will be all gone at source by the time DWWA20 happens.

So, we’re offering the Larmanela 2017 to you now. The price will again be £24.95 a bottle; link there for details.

There are only 300 bottles available to the UK (all ours): previous customers got the first dibs. We may be able to secure more if there is demand (hence this page).

Admittedly, we at Exel haven't tried the Larmanela 2017 yet. That'll change inside 10 days. But below is a commentary I eventually managed to extract (and translate) from the ever-busy-in-the-vineyard Guilhem (Viau) - that's him above owner and winemaker at BdC. It’s his view on the 2017 Larmanela:

“2017 was an extremely dry vintage, with a very small harvest. The grapes were therefore very concentrated, and it was necessary to work the wines in the cellar with great delicacy and finesse, so as not to extract too much tannins with delicate maturity.

The result is up to my expectations. Our wonderful Syrah, planted over 35 years ago, on this clay-limestone hillside, facing the rising sun, still has a very low production, but is of excellent quality.

After a patient ageing of almost 2 years (this vintage was bottled in June 2019), Larmanela rouge 2017 is fully worthy of the previous vintages. Its dark colour, its nose of light tobacco, blackberry cream, violet, its unrolling in the mouth, its finesse, its fine and velvety tannins, its balanced and harmonious finish … all these make it, for me, one of my best vintages. It’s difficult to compare with 2016, but after having tasted these two vintages together again, I dare to say that 2017 is more complex, and more regular on the palate than 2016. It’s undoubtedly a great vintage to taste now or to commit to the cellar for several years … each according to his choice…”

Additionally, we’re offering:

• the white (2018) Larmanela – a 100% Chardonnay at £24.95: this is a rare and special - one might even use the adjective 'boutique' - wine, every bit as much as the red, in very small production indeed; and

• the red Dame Jeanne (2018) at £16.00 - BdC's next red 'down' - a delicious, unoaked SGM (Syrah-Grenache-Mourvedre, majority Syrah) designed for ready drinking.

  ___

Les Schistes Dorés Faugères 2017 - Château Grézan

For some people, this was their favourite of the two. It's certainly a brilliant wine that, for me, was runner-up only to a brilliant winner. It's certainly a more immediate wine that the Larmanela - it's a very 'giving' and rewarding wine.

We thought this was all gone at source. The happy news is that untaken-up allocations elsewhere on the planet mean we can get another couple-of-hundred bottles. It's the 2017, still - the award-winner (but we have a 2018 samples coming, too, allowing us to compare and contrast for the future).

The Grezan Chardonnay - now the 2019 - also proved a hit. At £11.05, it's daftly good value. We should probably be selling this at £15+... most merchants would (and the only other supplier in the UK already is!)!

  ___

Now on sale for arrival on/by Tuesday 7th July!

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Bergerie du Capucin, Larmanela rouge, Pic St Loup 2017 (1x75cl)

** NOW IN STOCK!! **

** THE MULTI-AWARD-WINNING (see below) 2016 VINTAGE SOLD OUT IN VERY SHORT ORDER. REASON: BY THE TIME THE DWWA19 RESULTS WERE ANNOUNCED, IT HAD ALREADY SOLD HEAVILY IN FRANCE AND THE USA ON THE MERIT OF MANY OTHER AWARDS. 

ONCE AGAIN, IT IS LIKELY THAT THIS WINE - THE 2017 VINTAGE - WILL VANISH EVERYWHERE BEFORE IT REACHES THE (DELAYED) MAIN AWARDS OF THE YEAR. **

 ___

See here for more on this new 2017 vintage ...

... and here for details of the 'original' 2016, quality in Languedoc reds and the DWWA award (click link for details).

___

See here for awards for this wine and also for others from La Bergerie du Capucin (click link for details).

___

The 2017 vintage was awarded both Platinum and Best in Show medals and 97 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

___

La Bergerie du Capucin (LBdC) extends over more than 15 hectares on Pic Saint Loup land in the communes of Lauret and Valflaunès. For LBdC, wine is a family affair, its beauty and bouquet reflecting the values transmitted from generation to generation. The original Bergerie stands only a few km from the vineyard and modern winery. Jeanne, a beautiful shepherdess on the high plains of the Bergerie du Capucin - inspire their first wine, reminding  of the delicate, round characteristics of our family wines and the hill paths she trod each day.

At up to 650 metres in altitude and ~30 kilometres from the Mediterranean - on the first spurs of the Cevennes and Massif Central - the Pic Saint Loup appellation abounds with the perfume and purity of the most northern (and among the most elevated) of the Languedoc appellations; holm oaks, garrigue scrubland, pines, thyme, laurel and rosemary. Fruit springs to life from the heart of varied soils, chalky-clay on marly sub-soils, and forge their character over contrasting seasons. In winter, the soil receives enough water to balance out the moderately dry summer and the huge - but crucial - swings in temperature between day and night. The exacting and contrasting Pic Saint Loup land, its soil types and climate, are all reflected in the traits of the wines of Pic St-Loup. 

See this excellent article by Andrew Jefford - from Decanter (www.decanter.com) in October 2017 - for far more detail on both Bergerie du Capucin and the Pic St Loup appellation.

See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from the team at Bergerie du Capucin

Bergerie du Capucin Larmanela rouge, Pic St Loup - fiche technique

Additional note from discussion with winemaker: those barrels are 100% French eco-responsible oak: one-third new, one-third single-use and one-third double-use. The Larmanela draws from BdC's oldest and finest Syrah vines.

99%+ Syrah, tiny balance of Grenache.

For our tasting note, we hand over to the DWWA19 judges (of the 2016 vintage):

"Pic St Loup is one of the coolest and wettest zones of Languedoc, which is one reason why it's such a great zone for Syrah; its stony limestone soils, too, privilege the perfumed side of Syrah's character. Roll the two attributes up, and you have the groundwork to create a wine like this: spellbinding Syrah scents in southern French style (forget blackcurrants, think citrus grove perfumes) infusing a wine of huge charm which would most properly be described as a midweight. The acidity is softly supportive, as are the tannins in which you can discern just a little thyme flower perfume; any oak is all but invisible. Gorgeous stuff. Drink 2019-2024".

See also this tasting video (1'18") of the 2015 vintage.

ABV = 14.5%.

£24.95

Chateau Grezan Les Schistes Dores Faugeres 2017 (1x75cl)

** IN STOCK! **

** PRICE RISES TO £19.25 AT NOON, 8th JULY **

Awarded a Platinum medal and 97 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

We also highly recommend Chateau Grezan's excellent (and excellent-value) unoaked Chardonnay.

The viticultural history of the Cros-Pujol family began five generations ago, in 1877, on a very small parcel of Carignan between Autignac and Laurens. It was worked with a donkey and a horse, the harvests were vinified at the back of the family home by Jules-Anatole Cros, known as Costant, and his wife Anna, the first winemakers of the family. For the past 30 years, Château Grézan has expressed the very essence of Faugères wines. Produced from selected grapes, the Château Grézan wines combine respect for ancestral wine traditions and an open-mindedness to modernity.

The vineyards of Château Grézan and the Cros-Pujol family now cover nearly 110 hectares in both AOP Faugères and IGP Pays d’Oc. Their grape varieties in AOP Faugères are the classics of the region: Syrah, Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvèdre and Carignan. The Schists Dorés here is (most) unusual in Faugères for its almost exclusive use of Syrah

The soil in Faugères consists essentially of shale(s) - golden and slatey: the former gives the name to this wine. This stone is characterized by its remarkable capacity to retain water and its ability to store daytime heat and then release it at night. This is how the grapes continue to ripen at night. The climate is Mediterranean with a mountain influence. It is characterized by mild winters with rare frosts and hot and dry summers with infrequent but heavy rainfall.

See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note on this (highly medalled/awarded) wine from the team at Chateau Grézan.

Chateau Grezan Les Schistes Dorés, Faugeres 2017 - fiche technique

90% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre.

For our tasting note, we hand over to the DWWA19 judges:

"This is very classy stuff. Blackcurrant jam is the dominant flavour, but is flanked on either side by toasted cinnamon and vanilla, the superlatively integrated oak adding yet another layer to this already complex, ravishing wine. Delicious weight of rounded, brushed cotton tannins, and lush super-ripe black fruits – totally delicious, persistent and racy! Perfect with food".

ABV = 14.5%.

£19.25

Bergerie du Capucin, Dame Jeanne Rouge, Pic St Loup 2018 (1x75cl)

** NOW IN STOCK! **

"A blend of Syrah with 25 per cent Grenache and 5 per cent Mourvèdre (Exel note: this varies year-to-year, see blend mix below), this is a pure, bright and zesty red blend, entirely aged in tank. There’s a wildflower and thyme sweetness to the aromas, a little meaty richness and a twist of orange peel, too – but everything in moderation and just proportion.  Pure and poised.  91/100" - Andrew Jefford, of the 2015 (see his article linked below).

See here for awards for this wine and also for others from La Bergerie du Capucin.

La Bergerie du Capucin (LBdC) extends over more than 15 hectares on Pic Saint Loup land in the communes of Lauret and Valflaunès. For LBdC, wine is a family affair, its beauty and bouquet reflecting the values transmitted from generation to generation. The original Bergerie stands only a few km from the vineyard and modern winery. Jeanne, a beautiful shepherdess on the high plains of the Bergerie du Capucin - inspire their first wine, reminding  of the delicate, round characteristics of our family wines and the hill paths she trod each day.

At up to 650 metres in altitude and ~30 kilometres from the Mediterranean - on the first spurs of the Cevennes and Massif Central - the Pic Saint Loup appellation abounds with the perfume and purity of the most northern (and among the most elevated) of the Languedoc appellations; holm oaks, garrigue scrubland, pines, thyme, laurel and rosemary. Fruit springs to life from the heart of varied soils, chalky-clay on marly sub-soils, and forge their character over contrasting seasons. In winter, the soil receives enough water to balance out the moderately dry summer and the huge - but crucial - swings in temperature between day and night. The exacting and contrasting Pic Saint Loup land, its soil types and climate, are all reflected in the traits of the wines of Pic St-Loup. 

See this excellent article by Andrew Jefford - from Decanter (www.decanter.com) in October 2017 - for far more detail on both Bergerie du Capucin and the Pic St Loup appellation.

For this wine, the Dame Jeanne rouge 2018, see the blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from Guilhem and the team at Bergerie du Capucin. Lest there be any doubt, the Dame Jeanne is not oak aged.

Bergerie du Capucin Dame Jeanne rouge, Pic St Loup - fiche technique

65% Syrah, 17½% Grenache, 17½% Mourvèdre.

A gentle, sweet encounter with woodland berries and spicy aromas, the red hue of Dame Jeanne exalts the soft, fresh and delicate fragrances of our garrigue scrubland populated by green oaks. Created from the marriage of the three essential Pic Saint Loup grape varieties of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre. This wine is the perfect accompaniment throughout a meal, from white meats to a chocolate dessert.

ABV = 14.5%.

£16.00

Bergerie du Capucin Larmanela blanc 2018 (1x75cl)

** NOW IN STOCK! **

La Bergerie du Capucin (LBdC) extends over more than 15 hectares on Pic Saint Loup land in the communes of Lauret and Valflaunès. For LBdC, wine is a family affair, its beauty and bouquet reflecting the values transmitted from generation to generation. The original Bergerie stands only a few km from the vineyard and modern winery. Jeanne, a beautiful shepherdess on the high plains of the Bergerie du Capucin - inspire their first wine, reminding  of the delicate, round characteristics of our family wines and the hill paths she trod each day.

At up to 650 metres in altitude and ~30 kilometres from the Mediterranean - on the first spurs of the Cevennes and Massif Central - the Pic Saint Loup appellation abounds with the perfume and purity of the most northern (and among the most elevated) of the Languedoc appellations; holm oaks, garrigue scrubland, pines, thyme, laurel and rosemary. Fruit springs to life from the heart of varied soils, chalky-clay on marly sub-soils, and forge their character over contrasting seasons. In winter, the soil receives enough water to balance out the moderately dry summer and the huge - but crucial - swings in temperature between day and night. The exacting and contrasting Pic Saint Loup land, its soil types and climate, are all reflected in the traits of the wines of Pic St-Loup. 

See this excellent article by Andrew Jefford - from Decanter (www.decanter.com) in October 2017 - for far more detail on both Bergerie du Capucin and the Pic St Loup appellation.

For BdC's white rarity and show-stopper, see the blue link below for the fiche technique/technical and tasting note from the team at Bergerie du Capucin.

The Larmanela blanc is released under the banner of IGP of Saint Guilhem le Désert, rather than under an AOP/AOC (the Pic St Loup AOC does not (currently) allow white wines). 

Bergerie du Capucin Larmanela blanc, Pic St Loup - fiche technique

Additional note from discussion with winemaker Guilhem: Elevage in 225-litre barriques. Only 4 barriques are produced each year. Those 4 actual barrels are all from the same cooper, of ages/uses thus: one new, one used-once, one used-twice, one used-thrice. The contents of the four barriques are then blended for the <1000 bottles of Larmanela blanc made each year. 

100% Chardonnay.

ABV = 13.5%.

£24.95

Chateau Grezan Chardonnay 2019 (1x75cl)

** IN STOCK! **

The viticultural history of the Cros-Pujol family began five generations ago, in 1877, on a very small parcel of Carignan between Autignac and Laurens. It was worked with a donkey and a horse, the harvests were vinified at the back of the family home by Jules-Anatole Cros, known as Costant, and his wife Anna, the first winemakers of the family. For the past 30 years, Château Grézan has expressed the very essence of Faugères wines. Produced from selected grapes, the Château Grézan wines combine respect for ancestral wine traditions and an open-mindedness to modernity. The vineyards of Château Grézan and the Cros-Pujol family now cover nearly 110 hectares in both AOP Faugères and IGP Pays d’Oc. 

This Chardonnay is released as IGP Pays d'Oc. Although grown on land within Faugères, Chardonnay lies outwith the varieties allowed for white Faugères, hence the broader IGP classification.

See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note on this wine from the team at Chateau Grézan (the sheet notably omits that the wine is left on its fine lees for some months after fermentation to increase body, complexity and longevity).

Chateau Grézan Chardonnay - fiche technique

100% Chardonnay.

Surprising vivacity and freshness for a Chardonnay from the South of France, but with some real tropical warmth, too. Subtle aromas of exotic fruits (some say kiwi fruit), ripe citrus (esp orange and grapefruit) and pineapple. On the palate, it further reveals these cirus and tropical flavours with the additional tastes of dry fruits and hazelnuts.

ABV = 13.0%. 

£11.05
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