On a yet another shiny and a sun-bursting fine morning, the Wi-Not team tasted some selected Sud de France (South of France) wines. Here are the tasting notes.
Cremant de Limoux ‘Grande Cuvée 1531’ Sieur d’Arques:
Magan: Nice pale bubbly, an extremely expressive forward mineral-fruity nose. I can smell chalk and I can rarely smell that so the wine is doing a good job of whatever nature wanted it to do. Biscuit notes are also quite apparent. Fine bubble, persistent, moderate size. Persistence dies in the glass but lingers on on the palate accompanying the fruity, formed attack. Refreshing, fruity, creamy, fruity, refreshing again…the wine is playing along fine, like a well-tuned piano, with short crisp notes. Finish plays on minerality and is dry but nowhere austere or biting, and does a good job of leaving the palate pleasantly parched for the now-much-needed second sip. And the aperitif cycle begins.
Gurjit: Beautiful straw colour, presence of fine bubbles, hints of green apples on the nose indicates the wine is quiet young. The wine has a pleasant aggressive attack & refreshing acidity. It is light bodied with a balanced mid palate. Fine mousse & presence of green apples, pears, unripe (green mangoes) make it easy to drink. Finish is very pleasant & leaves a slightly tangy taste of Ambi (unripe green mangoes) on the palate. A perfect wine for a lazy Sunday afternoon & also an ideal aperitif.
Gagan: Small less bubbles not rising quickly. Pale straw colour with green hint, young wine. Bouquet of straw notes, grass, oat-rich digestive biscuits, asparagus, and nuts. Structured but muted nose. The palate was fresh with refreshing acidity, peaches, Granny Smith apples, and some sweet fruits at the end. Light bodied but the crispness and minerality adds weight. Moderate alcohol and a sharp finish. Herbs dominate on the aftertaste. Good sparkling wine with light sea-food, salads, and antipasti.
Sumit: A light straw colour wine with brilliant shine, it’s not so dry and the character is supported very nicely by the fine bubbles rising in constant streams. Floral aromas on the nose are perfect and the green fruity hints in the flavour with enough acidity to make you feel charged again.
Simranjit: Mild and delicate aromas of peaches ad mangoes, with refreshing acidity, this sparkling wine is a bit chalky on the palate with a dominant flavor of peaches. Has a dry and smooth finish. Can best be paired with coconut based gravy dishes and fried fish.
Gerard Bertrand ‘Cigalus’ 2008
Magan: Deep thoughtful Van-Gogh yellow, quirkily very reminiscent of the artist and his works while residing in the South of France. Powerful expressive nose, spearmint-y and biscuit, like little sugar-boiled confectionary mint-flavoured drops, yet with an aesthetically natural sense about it, as if they were grown in Willy Wonka’s garden, with flower beds around, and an orange orchard too. The palate is soft but not to be taken lightly. The spice (oak perhaps) peeps slightly from behind the layers of creaminess that so subtly yet effectively coat the wine. Bitterness is minimal and in the end, it is fruit (the white fleshy kind, think pears) that shines through. Although floral-light and fruity, the wine has good body and structure and that made me think about putting it next to classic home-made Indian food, the kind that is not out of a Tandoor and is largely vegetarian.
Gurjit: Bright straw in colour with prominent legs hint the wine may be high in alcohol. The wine is brimming of fruits & flowers with prominent aroma of fresh Jasmine flowers, ripe papaya on the nose. The wine is nice & dry, with balanced refreshing acidity, medium in body & has fruity notes of Khurmani, peaches, green unripe almonds, ripe papaya, slightly citrus notes mainly lemon, hints of smoke. The wine is smooth & creamy with balanced mid palate & a pleasant finish. It will go well with smoked salmon, poached sole fillet with lemon butter sauce & other Indian mildly spiced gravies & dry chicken kebab preparations.
Gagan: Dark straw colour almost hitting lemon. High intensity nose, very appealing, aromatic, and alluring. Orange blossom, orchids, white peach, mango, hint of figs, almond soap, and some more white flowers. Off-dry with some detectable residual sugar. Orange-peel and floral dominance on the first hit, with white fruits, aloe vera, and fresh baby spinach to follow. Moderate acidity, medium body, and a short finish. The wine seems to have stayed in the bottle for a while. Drink and enjoy, don’t trap it any longer.
Sumit: This pale golden, dry wine of light to medium body has hints of lemon and orange zest on the nose accompanied by green fruit flavours on the background. It is a bit spicy in the end with a prolonged aftertaste/finish.
Simranjit: With golden yellow color, refreshing and high acidity this wine is wine has wonderful perfumy aromas, with an elegant and a smooth finish this wine has a bit of a grassy palate with dominant flavors of raw mangoes. Would go well with chicken and fish dishes and green salad.
Fruité Catalan Côtes du Roussillon
Magan: It’s not every day that we taste non-vintage rosés so this one sent quite the flutter through the tasting masses. (Also, it
doesn’t take much to excite a wine taster.) Back to the wine, an alluring robe, très sexy and inviting, mostly a deep-hued pink with some rusty reflects. Nose is full of youth and vigour, fruity and fresh, some berries, some toffee.
The palate is rich and striking, surprising for a rosé but doesn’t lack in freshness. Acidity is a bit tender but the wine still manages to balance itself across fairly smoothly.
Gurjit: Pretty funky packaging, bright clear rose drink in colour, hints of raspberry sugar sticks & red fruit candy. The wine is medium with medium acidity, medium in body & prominent notes of red fruit candy & raspberry shake. The wine is creamy & smooth.
Gagan: First thing to notice is the vintage missing from the bottle. Very dark rosè, pale rims. Sweet nose with rose, blood orange, apple crumble, rhubarb and floral notes. Some sugarcane notes are tad jarring but assure presence of sugar. Pale structure, light bodied, off-dry, and low flavour intensity. Floral and savoury, rhubarb, figs ice-cream. Watermelon, sweet spices, and some herbaceous and pomegranate notes on the aftertaste. Seemed off-balance.
Sumit: This vibrant ruby red coloured, dry, good bodied wine with not so lasting citrus punch in the initial sips, reminds me of sugarcane or may be beetroot on the nose.
Simranjit: Dark pink colored wine, this rose’ has mild and fruity aromas probably that of candy or bubble gum. With high and refreshing acidity this wine is delicate on the palate with notes of strawberries and very little hints of fresh coriander leaves. Probably would go well with light cottage cheese dishes
Magan: If this is the way wine names are headed, I am deeply concerned. Perhaps the winemaker is saving the creativity for the stuff inside the bottle. Deep robe, like an inky maroon sea, with a nose that seems to pull you into equal depths. Strong and heady, notes of deep ripe (speeding towards over-ripe) currants and mulberries, almost a sweet stench of sugarcane, and then, more berries. The attack is rich, and for an Indian, the notes of a local berry, ‘jaamun’, would be unmistakeably present. The tannins are rich and again remind of this local, dark berry, the colour of a black grape but almost treble the size, and with a pit. The wine seems almost oak-free but the strength is nevertheless daunting, think of being pummelled by a truckload of stalky berries that someone accidentally unloaded on your palate!
What I personally appreciate in this wine is that the wine is not entirely technically sound (too rich in spite of being un-jammy, tannic overload, alcohol dominance), which gives it a human edginess, something that shows that it was made with hands and feet, in a vineyard, and not with equations and enzymes in a lab. Rest, it needs time to be tamed, before it can jump through the hoops that we sommeliers ever so often like to set up for wines.
Gurjit: Deep maroon with slightly purplish tinge in colour & prominent herbaceous flavours on the nose. The wine is dry & has medium to high tannins & hints of spice on the palate. It has green herbaceous flavours, aromas of sea food paella, presence of cloves & spice. Takes time in getting in terms with it initially but it does grow over you.
Gagan: Looks unclear on the first look with deep ruby colour and very pale rims, affirming age of the wine. Smoke, wood dust, fresh carpet, and less fruits on the nose. After a while it opens to throw notes of olive, blackberry, sour cherry, grape concentrate, spices, and dark soil. Dry with oak dominance, fresh green oak. Powdery un-matured tannins, blackberry, ‘jamun’, tobacco, smoke, wood, spices, mustard seeds, beetroot, quince, and cola. Medium to high acidity and alcohol, long un-clean nose. The wine may stay in the bottle for another three years but may not improve.
Sumit: A good bodied wine with rough tannins, feels like nail polish remover at the nose, tastes like raw ‘jamun’
Simranjit: With maroon colored body, a wine not worth recommending, this wine has very pungent aromas dominated with spices. It is rich in tannins, and has a harsh finish on the palate with dominant flavors of spices and jamuns. Probably has some woody notes also. I would personally recommend this wine with nothing but if I have to then spicy asian food would be appropriate.
Mas de Madame Muscat de Frontignac 2006:
Magan: Muscat is among the most inviting things in the wine world, and this wine does good justice to this generic tag. A softly tinted robe, it is the nose that I am so eager to get at, one which is itself jumping out of the glass at me. Light summery lychees, floral wafts from a distant field, some melons, some lifting notes of other fleshy white fruits, it is quite the bomb! The palate is seductive sweet with balance and something that I can only plagiarising-ly allude to as the eternal lightness of being…and tasting!
Gurjit: Clear Straw colour, prominent legs, lychees, Pleasing nose, figs, sultanas, very yummy
Gagan: The wine literally means ‘Farm of the Lady’. Deep lemon colour. Floral and aromatic with notes of African jelly (flower), orange blossom, and fresh white grapes. Sweet lychees hold on for very long before other notes come out. White peaches, stewed fruits, fruit jelly, sweet spices, and raspberry. Mouthfeel is creamy and has high flavor intensity that leaves a long aftertaste. Medium bodied, high acidity and alcohol, but too sweet to be called balanced.
Sumit: This very soothing, light pale yellow coloured, not-too-syrupy sweet wine. It is refreshing or better be called luscious. On nosing, it feels like loads of lychees, roses, honey, and eucalyptus. Aftertaste is much like ‘gulkand’.
Simran: Lemony yellow colored body this wine is low on acidity levels. Has a sweet and fruity nose with dominant notes of litchies. Probably reminds me of monsoon showers after the first sniff. Sweet delicate wine that is refreshing on the palate with notes of lychees, honey and guava.