Sunday, August 20, 2006

TN: 2004 Mas de Fournel, Pic Saint Loup, Coteaux du Languedoc

After a day of fun at the L.A. Zoo (Sophia loved the zebras and the elephants), I came home hungry and craving for a glass of BIG, hearty red wine. So I scoured my wine fridge hoping to find that kind of wine I am in the mood for. Hmm…hey, here it is, a wine from Pic Saint Loup sub-appellation in Coteaux du Languedoc. Let's see the back label here...70% syrah, 30% grenache. Yes, this should be the wine for the moment!

To my surprise, this wine was not the BIG, hearty type. Could this really be syrah and grenache from the Mediterranean-weathered Languedoc?! It reminded me more of a Californian pinot noir (except for the spicy finish)! Live and learn, I guess.

TN: (13.5%, $15) Deep garnet, but not opaque. Red berries predominant. Slightly baked aroma. Also of plums and sour cherries nose. Medium bodied. Plenty of tart acidity and dry on the palate. Quite oaky...too oaky, perhaps. Dusty, coating tannin. Peppery (spicy) and dry finish.

Not my kind of wine for tonight, but a decent wine nevertheless. Surprising!

3 stars (g)

Background information from the exporter’s website:

The Estate

Mas de Fournel is a small estate located in the famous area of Pic St Loup, named after the peak overlooking the rugged hillside in the Coteaux du Languedoc, in the northern region of Montpellier, on the French Mediterranean coast. Mas de Fournel dates back to the 14th century and used to be a rest home for retired priests. Current owner Gerard Jeanjean previously ran a successful trucking compangy and his interest turned progressively to wine. He released his first vintage in 1997.

The Vineyard
The soil is a mix of red clay, limestone and pebbles, which gives complexity to the wines. Gerard Jeanjean believes in low yields leading to ripe and concentrated grapes that are harvested according to parcel ripeness rather than varietal.

The Pic St Loup AOC was created in 1994 (within the Coteaux du Languedoc AOC created in 1985). It is the most northerly appellation within the Languedoc region, half an hour drive north of Montpellier, and includes 14 villages. The area of production measures 970 ha mainly planted to Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. A blend of minimum 2 grapes is mandatory. The climate is Mediterranean, with a decent average rainfall in winter and generally very dry during the rest of the year.

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