Domaine Girard, Malepère
Not far from the historic city of Carcassonne, where the rolling countryside of this area is rich in pretty terracotta-roofed villages and beautiful orchards, there are stunning views of the Pyrenees. It is here that the slopes and terraces of vines alternate with cereal production and oak woods, in an almost Tuscan landscape. The climatic and geological situation (sandstone and limestone outcrops and clay hillsides) in the West has led to planting of Merlot, Cabernets and Malbec, varieties from Aquitaine. On the dryer soils the Mediterranean varieties of Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault are grown. The region of Malepère has had a VDQS classification for many years but the consistent high quality of the wines resulted in its elevation to full appellation status in recent years.
The 28 hectare enjoys the cooler climate of an altitude of 450 metres, which provides an ideal temperature for ripening of the grapes – their Pinot Noir ripens particularly well, avoiding the jammyness that often afflicts wines from this region. Vine growing has been in the family for several generations with the grapes being sold to the local cooperative. More recently Philippe, one of two brothers of the new generation has started to vinify and sell his wine separately. Each year that we have visited we’ve been more impressed by the results and this year we’ve shipped his wonderful oak-aged Pinot Noir and the award-winning Merlot/Cabernet.
We are offering a Mixed Dozen, comprising six bottles of each of –
Domaine Girard Rouge Tradition 2015
The 2015 vintage is very good and Guide Hachette have awarded this their prestigious Coup de Coeur for the second year running!
Philippe uses a Saint Emilion-like blend of 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Franc to great effect. It is vinified entirely in stainless steel to preserve its glorious intensity of fruit. It is deep purple with an intense nose of cherries and blackcurrant leaves. On the palate, it is packed with juicy black cherries and mulberries, soft tannin and finishes long.
It combines the stylistic characteristics of Bordeaux with the ripeness of the Languedoc. Perfect with herb-scented lamb!
Available elsewhere for £11.95…
Domaine Girard Pinot Noir Pech Calvel 2015
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 lighter in colour, as Pinot Noir has thinner skins. There is an almost Burgundian nose of strawberries and raspberries with a hints of animal and oak. In the mouth it is sublimely silky with delicious strawberry flavours and a touch of beetroot. There is good complexity and lovely Pinot sucrosity. The oak is very subtle and there is a long aftertaste. Comparable to a good Bourgogne Pinot Noir but much less expensive!