La Peira en Damaisela “La Peira” 2005

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The Terrases du Larzac in the Languedoc-Rousillon region of France is perhaps the most interesting in the south of France. La Peira, founded only in 2004, has come to be a leading voice of the region. This 2005 was their inaugural vintage, which I bought almost a decade ago after seeing very positive words from a few critics I respect that this was an estate to look out for. The La Peira is the estate’s top wine and is designed for long aging.

Ancient Vine Lands

With an average annual production of only 300 cases for the top wine, considerable effort and understanding goes into this bottle. This includes effectively organic farming (though not certified), hand picking, no racking, no fining or filtering and indigenous yeast ferments.

The Syrah and Grenache that make up this wine are planted on gravelly alluvial deposits intermixed with sand and clay. The vineyards are near the site of the oldest wine region in France, originally planted by the Romans and that was originally seen as extremely high quality. This history means that there are some serious terroirs in the Languedoc-Roussillon but the wine-lake in the region has depressed interest and prices. For savvy purchasers there are thus many great bargains to be found and the region’s top wines generally peak around $100.

Powerful, Complex Southern France

Most of the reviews of this wine on cellar tracker mention its significant oak imprint. They also date back to 2011-2013. Fascinating how wine changes. This year it seems the domaine’s long term vision for the wine has started to pay off. There is nothing obtrusive about the oak at 11 years of age; rather, it has given the wine superb complexity. I do not think it would be unreasonable to compare this wine to a top end Bordeaux – it has the same level of structure, complexity, and balance but with more power. I agree with Jancis Robinson’s note from 2014: “Really dense and satisfying, even if far from subtle.” That said, I find this wine far more interesting than the great majority of Chateauneuf du Pape on the market. If the domaine can achieve this level of quality in a hot year like 2005, it makes me curious about more balanced vintages such as 2010 or cool ones like 2012. I will certainly seek these out now that I know they age so well.

Though this is a Syrah/Grenache/Mourvedre blend, it is unlike wines made from those grapes elsewhere in France and I think the wine is consistent with the comments of top critics like Andrew Jefford, Jancis Robinson, Jeb Dunnuck and David Schildknecht that the Terrases du Larzac is the best terroir in southern France and La Peira its leading estate.

Excellent to Excellent+
~$100 upon purchase from Marquis Wine Cellars (more recent vintages have been at the BCLDB)

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