Nicolas and Miren de Lorgeril, pioneers of the Cabardès AOC appellation, close to Carcassone in the Languedoc wine region, have for many years had a passion for this other “piedmont” of the Montagne Noire where the Mediterranean influence combines so well with the freshness of the Causse.
In 1999 they fulfilled a dream by purchasing Domaine de la Borie Blanche in Minervois. Since then they have worked hard to bring the best out of this wonderful terroir and to reclaim the Causse, planting vines on previously-abandoned schist plots in the heart of the garrigue.
The Minervois La Livinière AOC wine, sourced from the heart of the Minervois area, is a Syrah-dominant blend containing about 50% Syrah grown on schist 50% with an additional 20% Syrah vinified as carbonic maceration. The remainder of the blend is about 10% Grenache 10% and 20% Mourvèdre.
The wine was fermented in in French oak vats (5000 liters) before ageing for 50% in French oak barrels and 50% in oak vats.
This Languedoc red comes in a dark and intense red color, a dark red you can hardly see through to the core, and a vibrant dark red to the rim filled with purple hues. Clearly, we have here a youthful wine, by the look of things!
The nose confirms this impression. The wine is fruity and spicy, with aromas of fresh blackberry, ripe raspberry, and a hint of strawberry jam, together with oaky notes of vanilla, hazelnut and woodfire smoke. It smells somewhat fragrant, but you can sense the wine is keeping a lot for itself at this stage, due to its young age. A little shy to the nose!
The palate though, reveals a different beast.
This is a dry red wine, with a solid acidity bringing plenty of freshness and vibrancy to the flavors of fresh dark berries and peppery spices that explode on your palate.
Yet, balance is found with a round-enough body, a subtle oily texture, and smooth velvety tannins rounding things up very well. The oaky vanilla, the caramel flavors, and some comforting alcohol help in providing a sense of generosity too.
The whole feels savory/sweet, featuring both an ashy drying minerality, and a generously fruity personality.
Long and layered finish, salivating from some biting tannins, but displaying a very solid complexity of flavors.
A complete and beautifully-crafted Languedoc wine, precise by the purity of fruit and spices flavors it features, and also mineral and savory from a clear dryness and acidity. Yet, it is opulent and generous thanks to a well-managed amount of oak and a wealth of sun-filled fruit character.
This 2015 vintage is a young wine at this stage. Give it a year to settle further into its bottle, and it will bring out its true complexity and power even more. From there, it should evolve positively for a solid 5 years, perhaps further I would think given its density and its standout built-in acidic minerality.