Spotlight on Languedoc-Roussillon: Clos des Fees Grenache Blanc Vieilles Vignes 2004
White wines in Languedoc-Roussilllon are little known and little produced. Despite this, several producers are making truly outstanding whites at very reasonable prices – whites with personality, expressivity and a great ability to pair with food.
Old Vines and Varied Soils
Clos des Fees’ white wine is comprised of 90% of 100 year old Grenache vines blended with Grenache gris and Maccabeau. The Grenache blanc is fermented in steel and the gris in oak. The wine is fermented sur lees for 8 months, which adds richness to the wine.
The site and soils of Clos des Fees – and Roussillon generally – are particularly interesting. Calcareous and limestone soils in one vineyard, red clay alluvial soils in another, gneiss, schist, vast changes in ripening curves based on altitudes – these are all parts of the dramatic shifts of landscape in the region. In fact Roussillon has the greatest variation of soil types in all of France other than Alsace.
Wine for Country Fare
There is a little reduction or oxidation on the nose – but otherwise the wine offers nuts and bitter flowers. This aromatic oddity turns into quite an impressive wine on the palate: very rich fruit – pear, guava, prunes, raisins and grapes. This is a unique off-dry style with outstanding length and very good balance. With medium acidity, this wine is well suited to French country fair like terrines and rustic cheese. This is a distinct expression of Grenache Blanc that is more interesting than most (more expensive) examples you find in the more famous Southern Rhone.
Very Good+ to Excellent
$44 at Marquis