Here is how Laurent’s Irish wife Neasa Corish Miquel explains the name of this cuvée: “Our ‘Connemara’ Saint-Chinian celebrates the wild beauty of two regions – Saint-Chinian in the South of France, and Connemara in the West of Ireland. Ireland, my homeland has been associated with the story of French wines over many centuries – as a Franco Irish couple we are writing a new chapter.”
This red Languedoc wine from the village appellation of Saint-Chinian comes in a rather intense dark red color, black to the core, and dark red to the rim.
Somewhat surprisingly, the nose is primarily savory: licorice, cured meat and black pepper dominate the aromatic profile.
Sure, one gets hints of dark cherry and other ripe red berries, some sweeter spices such as cinnamon, and a little vanilla, but these reassuring and comforting notes are all in the background.
Smelling it, this wine seems young and perhaps built for aging and developing complexity over time rather than the easy approachable style. Full of personality though this baby seems to be. So, let’s dig in…
Following suit, the palate feels quite dry, almost shy, and certainly filled with savory and black-pepper-spicy notes. Not a lot of fruit here at this stage, and it’s missing a little.
What it’s not missing is juiciness, and this chili-pepper-like spiciness that lifts the palate and teases the sense.
Bitter licorice again, clove, nutmeg, some earthiness, it’s complex but somewhat austere.
Good acidity and balance on the dry side. Tannins are dense and present but smooth enough to be enjoyable.
This red Languedoc is one built for being aged for a few years and more importantly, one for being paired with rich herbal foods.
When to Drink?
Give it 2 to 3 years at least, and up to 10 to finish rounding it up, smoothen its current relative austerity and develop further depth. The fruit character that is currently discrete might then come through much better.
Pair with grilled meats seasoned with Mediterranean herbs, like the ones found in Languedoc and along the French Mediterranean coast: thyme and rosemary. The lifted spiciness of the wine will then be of a great advantage to sustain and support the tastiness of the dish. The wine will also benefit from the coating element from the meat’s richness.