I was getting ready to try the third and fourth wines at a tasting at D. Vine Fine Wines in Livonia, Michigan. I was looking at the sheet and I saw one wine that I had just tried a couple of days earlier and a wine region that I remember trying in my youth that I was not particularly fond of. I guess I can be quick to jump the gun and I realize that most of all, I of all people, am not an authority and I cannot let prior remembrances bias my opinion. The next two wines were an example of open mouth and insert foot.
Three days earlier I had a chance to try Loring Wine Clos Pepe Vineyard Pinot Noir 2015 and I was not really impressed with this wine, and I opined about that moment. Was I wrong, the first time I had it, it was from a freshly opened bottle of wine that was being poured, and this time the bottle had been opened about an hour and a half before the tasting, what a difference. In case you don’t recall the information about the wine, I will repeat some of the important notes about it. This single vineyard wine is in the AVA that originally was Santa Rita Hills when it was established in 2001 as a sub district of the Santa Barbara County; due to protests from the large Chilean wine company Vina Santa Rita, the AVA was changed to Sta. Rita Hills in 2006. This wine spent ten months aging in French Oak, of which fifteen percent was new, and they produced one-hundred-fifty cases. It was night and day different then the last time, and I made no bones that I had spoke out of turn, as I was really impressed with the wine this time, I initially thought that it was a light tasting Pinot Noir, but with the time for the wine to breath, it was delicious and everything that I enjoy about this varietal.
The fourth wine that was up for tasting was from the Languedoc, and I have periodically tried some wines from this region and my appreciation has increased over the years. When I first started learning about wines back in high school, a great Claret could be bought for five dollars, and a Languedoc could be bought for about two dollars; and back then there was a world of difference between the two and I often felt sorry for the Frenchmen and their table wines. This fourth bottle proved me wrong, though I did get some nods of comprehension from a couple of old timers that could appreciate what I was talking about. The Mas de Daumas Gassac 2014 is from the Haute Valleee du Gassac and carries an IGP Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert and prior to 2010 it was IGP Pays de l’Herault. Here is a winery that was established in 1971 and they are now referred to as “the Lafite of the Languedoc” or by themselves as “the Grand Cru of the Languedoc.” High praise indeed, but it was true. I mean this wine is a “Heinz 57 as we used to say about anything that had many parts to the whole. The wine was a blend of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc 3% Petit Verdot, 2% Malbec, 2% Pinot Noir, 1% Tannat and the balance was a blend of “rare grape varieties” Nebbiolo, Barbera, Dolcetto, Armigne, Arenie, Bastardo, Saperavi, Tchkaveri, Montepulciano, Arena Noir, Tchekapesi, Souzan, Brancalleo, Carmenere, Abouridu, and Plavac Mali. The average age for all of the vines was 42 years of age. The wine was made in the “classic” Medoc vinification of long fermentation and maceration (a minimum of twenty days) in Stainless Steel with no filtration, and then the juices were aged in neutral oak for twelve to fifteen months. If I had tasted this wine blindly, I would have guessed a Claret, but with something more, that I couldn’t put my finger on, as it had a deep nose, and a deep purple color with a tinge of garnet at the edges, with a very satisfying finish. The wine was meaty and chewy and I was totally impressed and of course there was none of this wine to be had. So, from now on, I will have my hat in hand and not opine about another wine until I try it, I guess perhaps, that some old dogs can learn new tricks.
The Languedoc is gaining a lot of recognition lately isn’t it. I remember travelling through France and finding some wonderful wines here and some absolute shockers too! Those ancient vines….
Gassac is very hard to find too in the province of Quebec. But is a truly amazing wine
Thank you, and I will search for it as well, as Michigan does not compete with the major wine centers in the States as well. Thank you for stopping by. – John