2012 Laurent Miquel Saint-Chinian Bardou Grande Cuvée, Languedoc
Score : 92/100
The grapes come from a single vineyard called ‘Bardou’ on the winery’s estate, hence this cuvee’s name obviously.
Here, stony soils ensure the vines are stressed and low yielding of concentrated fruit, while the cool microclimate brings some freshness to the site and the grapes.
After fermentation, the wine was aged for 14 months in French oak barrels (55% new).
So how good is Laurent Miquel Saint-Chinian ‘Bardou’?
This single vineyard Syrah from Saint-Chinian comes in a very dark and intense red color, black to the core, clearly a dark red on the rim. It does look quite dense.
The first nose’s aromatic profile is primarily composed of dark roasted notes: coffee, toffee, cocoa, and of black peppery spices. It smells deep and intriguing, somewhat like a very dark chocolate infused with chili or hot pepper.
But some plummy, and cherry liqueur-like notes give the smell a richer, sweeter feel as well.
Just from the aromas, you can tell we’ve got here a rather youthful wine, in quite tight a Syrah-style, like the grape variety can be when good wines made from it. It feels still young and to be needing more aging time. But let’s see what it says in the mouth…
On the palate, we clearly have here a dry Syrah wine, no plummy super-ripe exuberance here like what you’d get in some very warm climates such as big Shiraz from parts of Australia. This is more of a restrained style, on savoriness rather than pure exuberance.
Yet, one can tell it’s filled with rich ripe fruits, but keeping them for itself right at the moment. But you do discretely get the powerful spices, nutmeg, the pepper again of course, and loads of dark-roasted cocoa and other nuts.
There is good acidity giving the wine plenty of liveness, and more importantly granulous, almost slightly vegetal tannins, but utterly smooth and velvety. This wine is on the verge between ripeness and slight under-ripeness, and it is here such a good thing, giving it both power and unique personality.
A Syrah wine filled with both goodness and personality, dry and somehow ‘old world’ in style, yet very precise and generous as well.
Still feeling very young, give it another 3 to 5 years to round up further – although it’s already very smooth and expressive – and develop further depth and complexity.
Then, you truly should have a rather unique and perhaps outstanding expression of Syrah, typical of the Saint-Chinian area in Languedoc, that marries here generosity of quite a warm climate, with elegance of French savoir-faire and a not-so-hot-for-Syrah environment.