2013 Chateau Maris Minervois La Livinière Les Planels, Languedoc
Score : 91/100
This wine is a blend of 90% syrah, 5% carignan, and 5% grenache from the Cru La Livinière in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France.
Vines are 25 years old and planted (in 1992) at about 5000 vines/ha.
Yields are quite low at 35 hl/ha.
After fermentation, the wine was aged for 12 months in wine barrels and 6 month in egg shaped concrete tanks. No finning was made, only a light filtration before bottling.
The wine is of a dark dense red/black color. Bright and slightly purple on the rim making it look young and fresh.
The nose is outgoingly filled with oaky aromas and an extrovert spiciness. Darkly toasted notes of coffee, dark cocoa and vanilla, are joined by lifted and spicy intense black pepper notes,
At agitating, the fruit aromas that are more of a secondary smell are revealed, cherry and ripe blackberry. A touch of typically Syrah rubbery tone. Some vegetal characters join the fun for a rather complex nose: herbal, minty, and darkly toasted mainly.
Dense palate made of very smooth and velvety tannins, surrounded by a not-overly-rich body for a Syrah, and a good acidity.
What stands out is the leanness of the mouthfeel: precise, driven and pure with a backbone of acidity and precise tannins giving what appears as a very controlled and composed experience. It doesn’t mess around with your taste buds but rather seems to want to deliver clearly-defined sensations.
The flavors are very creative though. Like on the nose, toasted, slightly positively vegetal, spicy and minty, with also plenty of fresh berry fruit.
A perfectly executed Syrah offering the palate precision that reminds of the Northern Rhone (Côte Rôtie) combined with a more Southern ripe fruit exuberance of the aromas and flavors.
Complex and quite long, it was observably smoothened and boosted by a significant amount of oak, for the better as it’s also preserved its personality and loads of primary fruit character.
Wine & Food Pairing
Being so spicy and minty, and quite powerfully flavored, this wine sounds like the perfect match for tasty grilled meats and elegant barbecues. You’d want to respect the somewhat elegant attitude of the wine though, and its lean character by pairing with refined and rather lean meats: T-bone or venison for example.
When to drink?
One doesn’t necessarily think of a Minervois La Livinière wine as an age-worthy one.
But this one does have plenty of potential to develop much further, open up to reveal more of its fruit and inherent personality, and get to the next complexity level through acquiring further bouquet.
Give it another 2/3 years for it to settle, 5 to 12 to see and enjoy how far it can go. 2018-2028 it will be then 😉