Domaine La Rouviole, AOP Minervois La Livinière, Hérault, Languedoc (whilst retaining its historical name, Languedoc, along with Roussillon and Midi-Pyrenees, has since 2016, been subsumed into the administrative region of Occitanie), France, 2012
AOP Languedoc was established in 2007, representing the basement of a 3 layer pyramid for quality wine in the region; above this sits the Grand Vins du Languedoc, with the Crus du Languedoc at the peak, of which AOP Minervois La Liviniere, approved in 1999, is the sole representative, in the Minervois. It is a red-only appellation.
The emphasis in the La Livinière blend is on syrah, along with mourvedre and grenache noir; and carignan and cinsault may play a lesser part. AOP Minervois may additionally be white or pink, with permitted white varieties including bourboulenc, chardonnay, clairette, grenache blanc, macabeu, picpoul, marsanne, muscat, rolle (aka vermentino), roussanne, sauvignon blanc, terret, viognier, and possibly others.
This wine: organic, ~550 c/s production, a blend of 75% syrah with grenache, the syrah being aged for 1 year in new and second use French and US oak, and the grenache in stainless steel, coated natural cork closure, 14.5% abv, Adrian Mould, €18.50 (06/17)
Consumer tasting note: on the nose, rich stewed and dried red fruit, a little spicy, waxy, and liquoricey, with some very ripe red cherries; medium-full bodied, with a more black fruited mouth of black berry and cherry, and slightly tarry black liquorice, lifted by red cherry boiled sweets. Finishes long and liquoricey. Decant for 30 minutes.
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, deep intensity ruby, showing tears.
Nose: clean, medium (+) intensity, developing, with aromas as they come, of stewed red plum, a little spicy, a touch of raw steak, dried red berries – cranberries, a sense of sourness as in stewed sour red cherry, red currant jam, bees-wax, hints of very ripe red cherry, liquorice, low-key hints of toast.
Palate: dry, medium acidity, ripe medium (+) tannins, high alcohol, medium (+) body, medium (+) intensity, a sense of sweetness in mid palate, with flavours of red cherry boiled sweets, then black takes over – a touch of black berry, very ripe black cherry, a little spicy, lightly tarry black liquorice. A long length with a clean ripe black fruited and lightly tarry liquorice finish.
Quality: very good, a fine balance and acidity and ripe tannins with high alcohol, alcohol being quite well-integrated and not dominating the palate; decent intensity throughout, similar concentration, showing a good, but not high, level of complexity, with evidence on the nose of well-integrated exposure to oak, and tertiary development with meaty, waxy, dried and stewed red fruit and berry notes, the palate on the other hand shows a richer darker black fruited dimension; finishes long.
Drinking readiness/ageing potential: can drink now, but has potential for ageing, over say 1-2 years, and will keep 1-2 years after that – there is a sound acid-tannin-alcohol structure, a profile suited to further development, and indicative length.