2016 Domaine de l’Hortus Grande Cuvée Blanc, Val de Montferrand IGP, Languedoc
Vineyard soils here are brown, formed by alluvial, limestone deposits, at an altitude around 150 meters above sea level (500 feet).
The Chardonnay was fermented in 228-liter oak casks (Burgundy barrels), while the Viognier grapes were vinified in tank. Both wines were aged on lees for about 8 months in their respective fermentation vessel.
This Languedoc white comes in a shiny lemon-yellow color, filled with shiny gold hues, pretty intense overall and certainly looking like a white wine that’s been in contact with oak, especially if you consider this is a very young 2016 vintage wine at the time of tasting.
The nose confirms this is a barrel-aged wine indeed. Toasted hazelnut, lifted nutmeg spiciness, and touches of vanilla dominate the aromatic profile. It is also richly fruity, much Viognier-like, featuring a wealth of ripe apricot and yellow peach aromas. Some sour dough and other leesy notes of brioche and gingerbread.
The palate is dry, providing a crisp and citric acidity. Yet, the opulent round body, together with the richness of the pineapple and apricot flavors more than balance the acidity out with a sweet ripe fruit juice sensation. Very tropical indeed it tastes. Mango, passion fruit, kiwi fruit, and pineapple dominate, backed up by bright peach and pear.
Long mineral finish on the crispiness of the acidity, with several layers of spices of dried fruit characters, walnut, hints of sweet honey, almond and much more.
A very pleasant white wine for those in search of a mineral freshness and Southern France opulent stonefruit richness, combined with plenty of evolved secondary characters, wax, honey and sweet spices, all in a young wine.
It tastes somewhat like an aged white wine that would have kept plenty of youth and primary fruit, but you can buy it now and enjoy it straight away without having to wait for the complexity to come through with further ageing… it’s already there!