2015 Domaine Ollier Taillefer Faugères Grande Réserve, Languedoc
Domaine Ollier Taillefer is a respected local winery dedicated entirely to the production of organic wines from their own vineyards. They have recently completed the construction of new winery buildings made of local porous limestone called ‘pierre du Gard’. They use gravity to avoid excessive pumping of the wine, and everything is designed to avoid any waste of water or electricity.
The Grande Reserve is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Carignan, aged in tanks.
This Languedoc red comes in a pretty dark red color indeed. It doesn’t look all that intense or having such dense tannins, but the rim betrays what gives its darkness to the core is a decent amount of oranges hues for a young wine. Some apparent evolution there.
The first nose, straight away, confirms we are here with a developed wine rather than a youthful one.
The fruity aromas are mainly ones that would come out of fruit liqueur rather than fresh fruit. Sour cherry, blackberry and cassis liqueur notes are lively. They are powerfully complemented by notes of earth and leather, as well as black pepper and hints of sweet spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon. The trained tasters will detect a hint of reduction, that dissipates with a solid half-hour of aeration and settling. Decant prior to serving, one hour prior ideally.
The palate surprises both by its utter smoothness, and its savory ashy dominant flavors.
Tannins seems relatively dense, but they are more importantly very fine and extremely smooth, providing a slightly-diluted silky texture, that makes the tasting aerial and enjoyable for a red that is expected to be big. It’s light and easy to sip in fact, although the flavor concentration and the length of the finish provide solid weight and enough complexity.
The dominant flavors are like those on the nose, elegant red berry liqueur, a hint of well-integrated oak (that tastes more like used barrels than new ones) coming through as delicate vanilla and caramel with a touch of wood ashes, but also refined peppery spiciness. Overall, it somewhat tastes like a complex berry liqueur that would be dry (!), yet generous enough thanks to its fruit flavors. Surprising but enjoyable.
A rather long and layered finish underlines the complex savoriness of the wine on a generous fruity background.
A Languedoc wine with a very unique personality given by its wealth of paradoxes. It is dry but feels and tastes ripe and fruity. It should be big and heavy, but rather tastes aerial and easy to drink light-heartedly. It is young yet has animal, savory, and ashy notes more expected from more matured wines.
The whole makes for a balanced, complex and easy-to-enjoy tasting experience for the palates in search of pungently flavored wines without the weight, and for those after savory, slightly earthy, and spicy profiles rather than jammy ones.