We have been visiting the pretty village of Alaigne in wine region of Malepère for over 10 years, buying from Philippe Girard on a regular basis. His acclaimed Cabernet-based Cuvée Néri has enjoyed much success at a past YMS Annual Dinner. However, he has several strings to his bow, and one of the more surprising ones is Pinot Noir.
Pinot Noir can produce wines of fabulous quality and complexity in Burgundy, but further South it tends to over-ripen, producing much simpler wines. Philippe has got round this by planting Pinot on the cooler slopes around Limoux and Malèpere – where, at an altitude of 450 metres, the grapes ripen more slowly, thus maintaining their freshness and true character.
We are offering a mixed case of two very different styles of his Pinot Noirs – both perfect for Summer drinking.
Domaine Girard Pinot Noir 2014
IGP Pays d’Or
The first one is vinified as a light Summer quaffing wine. It is best served chilled. It is pale purple in colour with a vibrant nose of summer fruits. On the palate, it is delicate and full of simple raspberry fruit, finishing with redcurrants and a hint of pepper. The fresh acidity gives it a racy finish, making it perfect for picnics, salads in the garden and simple barbecues!
Domaine Girard Pinot Noir Pech Calvel 2013
IGP Pays d’Oc
The second wine is altogether more serious. Philippe takes the grapes from the best plots and ages the wine in oak barrels. These are barrels that have had three years of use – to avoid imparting too oaky a flavour.
The wine is still pale in colour, and there is an inviting nose of strawberries and raspberries with a hint of vanilla. It is altogether richer and more complex, with delicious strawberry flavours and a touch of beetroot. The oak is very subtle and there is a long aftertaste. Comparable to a good Bourgogne Pinot Noir but much less expensive!