Spotlight on Languedoc-Roussillon: Vignoble de Loup Blanc “La Mere Grand” 2004 Minervois
Minervois is one of the best known regions in all of the Languedoc-Roussillon, and still most people have never heard of it. Sitting about 50 miles north of Roussillon, the appellation, despite its relatively small size, has a varied range of soils and climates, from pebbles and sandstone to schist, chalk and white marble. Wind is important here, and its direction can determine the success of a particular vintage (rain vs. cool and dry). Thus, it can be hard to pin down a single style that is common to the entire region.
Increasing Quality and New Ventures
Despite the variation, one commonality is that the best wines manage to provide elegance and lightness that is uncommon in the southern parts of Languedoc-Roussillon. Allowed yields have declined twice since the 80’s and quality has increased accordingly. Vignoble de Loup Blanc is a relatively new winery, started about a decade ago by a Frenchman and a Quebecois sommelier.
Several grape varieties are grown in Minervois, but this cuvee from Le Loup Blanc combines 60% Grenache with 15% Carignan and 25% Syrah. The vines range from 20-100 years, with the Carignan vines being most likely the oldest as is common in the region. It also has a 15-20 day fermentation and 20 months elevage in oak.
Brooding Flavours in an Elegant Package
This is outstanding wine for the price and offers great elegance and acidic lift compared to many wines from Southern France. Fresh, and very clean this wine also has a pert texture and wonderful aromatics of herbs, sweet plumy fruit and tremendous minerality. The palate is dry, however, and the fruit is properly balanced with the secondary characteristics so that nothing seems over ripe or over the top. Balance, poise, and power – a great combination, particularly at this price point.
Very Good+ to Excellent
$30 at Marquis