Chateau La Croix Martelle, l’Onoriva, AOC 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, 2013
On AOC Minervois La Liviniere
AOP Languedoc was established in 2007, representing the basement of a 3-layer pyramid for quality wine in the region. Above the basement are the grand vins, then at the peak the 5 Crus du Languedoc, of which AOC Minervois La Liviniere, approved in 1999, is the sole representative, in the Minervois. It is a red-only appellation. The other four crus are AOC Corbieres-Boutenac, AOC La Clape, AOC Pic Saint Loup and AOC Terrasses du Larzac.
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: lot No.? 10H44C13 (on bottle below capsule), organic, a blend of 60% grenache and 20% each of syrah and cinsaut, individually vinified in concrete vat, blended and then aged for 1 year in unspecified vat; coated natural cork closure, 14% abv, Maison des Vins du Minervois, Homps €13 (04/19)
Consumer tasting note: a grenache dominated blend – note the pale(ish) ruby hue, with syrah for pepper and spice, and cinsaut. Black and red cherry on the nose, with some development of waxy spice and dried red berries; medium-full bodied with mainly red fruits – defrosted strawberry, raspberry jam, with dried cranberry and a warmer richer edge of black berries, some slightly drying tannins showing through – so strictly a food wine. Drink now –
RTD but will keep – Wait. Finishes medium-long. Decant for 30 minutes.
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, medium intensity ruby, showing tears [no sediment].
Nose: clean, medium (+) intensity, fully developed, with aromas as they come, of understated black cherry with an edging of macerated red cherry, waxy, savoury, spicy, cumin, peppery, dried cranberry, dark glace cherry.
Palate: dry, medium (+) acidity, fine grained medium (+) tannins becoming drying, medium (+) alcohol, medium (+) body, a smooth texture, medium intensity, with flavours of black cherry, black berry, dried cranberry, hint of defrosted strawberry, raspberry jam, a touch savoury and earthy. A medium (+) length with a clean finish of red fruits, with tannins becoming a little drying and lingering.
Quality: good, the initially fine grained tannins are emphasized perhaps by the fresh acidity, becoming a touch drying and dominant, a food wine for sure, but a little out of harmony with the moderate intensity and similar concentration of flavour; showing moderate complexity, with evidence of time in well-intergrated wood (cumin, spice) and bottle (savoury, waxy). A decent medium-long length.
Drinking readiness/ageing potential: drink now, unsuited to further ageing – tannins a little out of balance in this fully developed wine of moderate complexity, with intensity and concentration lagging somewhat, so not worth further ageing, and so no opportunity for tannins to round out, drink up now.