How Good is Astrolabe Loin de l’Œil Gaillac White?
2016 Vinovalie Astrolabe Loin de l’Oeil Gaillac Blanc Sec, South West France
Astrolabe is a special white wine from the Gaillac appellation in South-West France.
It is made by the Vignerons d’Ovalie, a group of 4 cooperative wineries created in 2006 (namely the Vignerons de Rabastens in AOP Gaillac, Tarn, the Cave de Técou also in AOP Gaillac, the Cave de Fronton in Haute-Garonne, and the Cotes d’Olt in AOP Cahors, Lot).
Astrolable is special because it is a selection of some of the best vineyards of the Gaillac appellation, whose grapes are left to dry in the field before picking (a technique called passerillage in French) which allows to increase the flavor concentration, and to bring out riper fruity notes.
This white is made from the very local and rather rare Loin de l’Œil grape, a grape variety that is unique to Gaillac (also sometimes called Len de l’El). After fermentation, the wine was aged on it lees.
This Southern French Gaillac white comes in a bright and shiny lemon-yellow color of medium intensity. Hints of gold and orange hues.
The nose is vibrant and powerfully fruity, mainly citrusy and tropical. Pungent pink grapefruit aromas share the dominance of the aromatic profile with notes of pineapple, passion fruit, and litchi.
It’s very exuberant to smell at!
So many layers of fruit, somewhat like a mixed tropical fruit juice, but finer obviously, and augmented by a relative vinosity and hints of white pepper spiciness.
While the nose could have suggested a sweet wine style, this is actually as claimed, a ‘Blanc Sec’ (understand dry white in French). It’s crisp and refreshing, zesty with a vibrant acidity well reflecting and amplifying the dominant lemon and lime flavors. The tropical notes of passion fruit and pineapple are bursting with intensity here as well.
Finish is relatively long, delivering layers and layers of fruit characters, although weighted a little by a slightly too obvious and sticky petrol and sulfites aftertaste.
A very pleasant super pungent, dry, crisp, and zesty white wine, packed-full of powerful citrusy and tropical concentration, in a balanced, oily and rich, yet refreshing explosion of flavors.