Domaine de l’Hortus, Grande Cuvee, AOC/AOP Coteaux de Languedoc Pic-Saint-Loup, Herault, France, 2008
The nomenclature of the Pic-Saint-Loup appellation changed in 2007 to AOC/AOP Languedoc Pic-Saint-Loup. There is a long standing application for AOC/AOP Pic Saint Loup. It lies about 18kms to the north of Montpelier, and 30kms from the sea, at an altitude of about 150m, under the foothills of the Cevennes. This altitude gives a diurnal range with cooler nighttime temperatures, with higher than average rainfall relative to lower down in the coastal plain to the south. Soils are limestone based with clay, aka argilo-calcaire, or marl. Authorised wines are AOC/AOP red (GSM, plus minorities of cinsault and carignan), VdP/IGP white (bourboulenc, chardonnay, clairette, grenache blanc, marsanne, roussanne, sauvignon blanc, viognier …) and AOC/AOP rose (same varieties as for red). With little argument, the top producer of Pic St Loup is regarded as Domaine de l’Hortus.
This wine: a blend of syrah, mourvedre and grenache, aged in 60% new French oak for 12 months, natural cork closure, 13% abv, BBR £15.70, their last 3 bottles (2016)
Consumer tasting note: a rich complex nose of ripe black fruits, spice, liquorice and tobacco, smooth and fresh on the palate, medium bodied with decent concentration and length, with again rich notes of dark berries and liquorice.
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, deep intensity ruby, showing tears.
Nose: clean, pronounced intensity, developing, with aromas as they come, of ripe black cherry, toast, creamy black currant, spicy, cinnamon, whiff of old tea rose, ripe red plum, black boiled sweets, wet leaves, dried red pepper, tobacco, liquorice.
Palate: dry, medium (+) acidity, medium ripe tannins, medium (+) alcohol, medium body, a silky texture, medium intensity, with flavours of black cherry and blackcurrant, black fruit boiled sweets, liquorice and a whiff of dried dark berries and a touch of gunpowder. A medium (+) length with a clean finish of rich ripe black berries and liquorice.
Quality: a very good quality wine, acidity and tannins in tune with flavour intensity and alcohol is harmonious. Modest intensity and concentration of flavour, reflected in the length, but quite complex with some rich toasty spicy secondary notes from use of oak and tertiary evolution with dried red pepper and tobacco notes.
Readiness for drinking/ageing potential: ready to drink now, well developed, it is unlikely to improve perceptively with further aging, suggest drink within 2-3 years.