Terres des Chardons, Clairette, AOC/AOP Clairette de Bellegarde, Gard, France, 2010
The appellation of Clairette de Bellegarde is within the Costieres de Nimes appellation (so in the Rhone Valley), in the department of the Gard, mid-way between Nimes to the north-west and Arles to south-east. It is an appellation for whites only, from clairette entirely. Clairette is also known as blanquette in the Aude and Gard, but is not to be confused with Blanquette de Limoux, also in the Aude, which is based on mauzac. Soils, in what constitutes the flat deltaic plain of the Rhone River, are in variable proportions, of gravel, sand and clay.
This wine: Varietal clairette from 15 year old vines. Whole bunch pressing, cold settling, natural fermentation at ~17 °C. Aged on the fine lees for 4-5 months, bottled in June following harvest. Varietal clairette, natural cork closure, 13.5% abv, Leon Stolarski, £12.50 (2015).
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, of medium intensity lemon, showing tears.
Nose: clean of the nose, of medium (+) intensity, youthful, with aromas as they come, of ripe dessert apple and pear, lemon sherbet, a whiff of apricot, sweet white flowers, grapefruit zest, and a spicy toasty edge with a hint of anise.
Palate: a dry wine, medium (+) acidity, medium (+) alcohol and a medium (+) body, a slight grip and a smooth lightly oily texture, medium (+) intensity, with flavours of ripe grapefruit, apricot, green apple and herbs. A medium length with a clean orchard fruit-apricot finish.
Quality: a good quality wine, well-balanced acidity with alcohol and fruit intensity; a notable velvety texture suggesting lees ageing, a moderate concentration of flavour, similarly with complexity, translating into the modest length.
Readiness for drinking/potential for ageing: drink now, not suitable for further ageing – but will hold for a year, or at most two – there is a hint of a bitter edge on the finish which may develop and detract with time.