I recently tasted some nice wines from the Southern half of France. Mostly pretty forgettable, if well made wines, but there were a couple wines I'd gladly buy a couple bottles of. Especially the Frontons made a good impression with their mineral rosés.
Domaine de Cause Tradition 2004
80% Malbec, 20% Merlot. A nice enough, fruity and moderately tannic wine. Fun, but nothing serious.
Domaine de Cause El Doméni 2004
100% Malbec. A very interesting wine: meaty, bloody, big, structured. Not something I'd necessarily want to buy, but I'm glad to have tasted it as it tastes like Malbec.
Domaine de Cause Dame des Champs 2002
100% Malbec. Disgustingly oaky. Spoofulated. Yuck.
Chateau de Nouvelles Fitou Cuvée St. Martin 2003
Carignan 50%, Grenache Noir 30%, Syarah 20%. Peppery and very sweet nose, deep but frankly quite boring.
Chateau de Nouvelles Fitou Cuvée Augusta 2001
Dirty, sweaty. Smells like a bad home-made wine.
Chateau de Nouvelles Rivesaltes Ambré 1996
What a lovely wine! An oxidised, nutty nose, a bit Palo Cortadoish with it rancio but a touch sweeter. The palate is very sweet, not quite acidic enough, but adequate. Nice!
Cave de Fronton VdP Académia Rouge 2005
60% Negrette + Cab F & S + Syrah. Ripe, but very savoury, herbal, sweet. The palate is light and acidic, savoury and fun to drink.
Cave de Fronton Exc. du Comté de Negrét Rouge 2003
60% Negrette, 30% Cab F, 10% Syrah. Full bodied and fruit forward as expected for the year, but not overly ripe. Also has a touch of shite. Leafy and savoury palate. Nice!
Cave de Fronton Cap de Bel Rouge 2003
Same blend as above. Nice stuff, really deep and lovable nose of shite, vegetation, herbs. It is sweetly fruity but not flawed like so many 2003s are, with fine acidity and herbal notes. Very nice.
Cave de Fronton Haut-Capitole Rouge 2001
Terreo Malbec Rouge Vin du Pay du Lot 2004
Meaty and red toned, earthy and vegetal. Good acidity. Nice, but the Malbec rosé is better.
Cave de Fronton VdP Académia Rosé 2005
Negrette, Gamay, Cab F. Fun. Yum.
Cave de Fronton Exc. du Comté Negrét Rosé 2005
Even more fun, a touch of minerals add a bit of depth.
Cave de Fronton Haut-Capitole Rosé 2005
Vegetal, dry, fine acidity, a bit more serious than the above rosés.
Cave de Fronton Egoiste 2005
Cool looking bottle, but a bit of a soda-pop rosé. Some nice elements, but too sweet.
Terreo Malbec Rosé Vin du Pay du Lot NV
Bloody brilliant stuff! Shitty, vegetal, mineral, earthy, rustic nose. The palate has fruit, but also high acidity and lots of rustic tastes. Lovely stuff!
Cave de Fronton VdP Académia Sauvignon-Muscadelle 2005
Boring, but well made. Grassy and acidic and fruity, but very forgettable.
Cave de Labastide de Levis VdP Leo & Co Rouge 2005
Duras, Braucol & Syrah. A light wine, primary and fruity. Refreshing.
Cave de Labastide de Levis Gaillac Eldorado 2003
Braucol, Cab S, Duras, Syrah. Dilly oak. Spoof. Yuck.
Cave de Labastide de Levis Gaillac Rouge 2004 Dominique Laporte
Nice, lightish, vegetal, savoury. It does see some oak, but it isn't intrusive. Nice.
Cave de Labastide de Levis Gaillac Labastide Blanc Sec D. Laporte 2005
Sauvignon, Len de L'El, Mauzac. A rather faint scent, grassy and citrussy but very pleasant. Good acidity, a little tart on the finish. Nice enough.
Cave de Labastide de Levis Gaillac Esprit Perlé 2005
Loin de l'oeil, Mauzac, Sauvignon. What a fun wine! Mineral nose, very slight sparkle, good fruit, ok acidity. A pity about the shortish finish, but at 8€ who cares.
Cave de Labastide de Levis Gaillac Esprit Brut
Loin de l'oeil, Mauzac. A little bit pleasantly funky nose. Nondescript palate. Very neutral.
Cave de Labastide de Levis Dominique Laporte Gaillac Doux 2002
Bright, lemony, sherbetty. Light palate, bright and elegant. Nice.
Les Vignerons du Pays Basque Irouléguy Premia Rouge 2004
Smooth, ok acidity, ripe, simple and forgettable.
Les Vignerons du Pays Basque Irouléguy Domaine de Mignaberry Rouge 2003
Too oaky. Yuck.
Les Vignerons du Pays Basque Irouléguy Agri d'Ansa Rosé 2005
A very nice rosé, raspberryish and high in acid. Very Basque, very good.
Les Vignerons du Pays Basque Irouléguy Xuri Blanc Sec 2005
Very nice, funky, typically Basque salty and green yet lovable flavours - but unfortunately all that is under a wall of oak. Sigh. A waste of such lovely material.
Domaine du Moulié Madiran 2001 Tradition
Very ripe nose - a bit spoofy though not oaky. The palate is tannic and has a nice salty mineral note.
Domaine du Moulié Madiran Cuvée Chiffre 2000
Tannat + Cab F. Vegetal, savoury red berries. Good fruit, but nice structure, salty but too low in acid.
Domaine du Moulié Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh doux "L" 2001
Strange, chemical funk. Flawed.
Domaine Labranche Laffont Madiran 2003 Tradition
Jammy. Salty. Odd. The year, I guess.
Domaine Labranche Laffont Madiran Vieilles Vignes 2003
Like above. Too low in acid.
Domaine Labranche Laffont Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh Sec 2005
The Mansengs. Bloody brilliant stuff: bright, acidic, lemony, deep yet pleasantly tart. But again, there is a touch of oak which detracts from my pleasure. Why do they go and spoil such obviously lovely wines with the bloody oak?
Domaine de la Tour Boisée Minervois Rouge 2005
I've never understood Grenache, but this seems primary and with pleasant depth. I guess if this is your thing, then the 8,7€ / bottle is good value.
Domaine de la Tour Boisée Minervois Tour Boisée à Mariella et Fréderique
More savoury than the above, but also unfortunately more extract making it a bit clumsy. Ok, I suppose. I don't get it.
Domaine de la Tour Boisée Minervois Tour Boisée à Marie-Claude 2003
Too thick, too extracted, confected. Though they mention that it is 12m in oak, the oak at least isn't too obvious. Everything else is over the top, however.
Domaine de la Tour Boisée Minervois Rosé 2005
Sickeningly sweet nose. Dry palate, but unsniffable.
Domaine de la Tour Boisée Minervois Blanc Sec 2005
Marsanne, Roussanne, Vermentino, Maccabeu, Muscat. Bloody brilliant stuff! A nose of mineral water and very ripe melon. The palate is very sweetly fruity, but with adequate acidity though I guess this area isn't known for its acid-high whites. I love this. The minerality is all-pervading and isn't at all hidden underneath the fruit.
Domaine de la Tour Boisée Minervois Blanc Sec 2002
An oaky version of the previous. Yuck. Absolutely vile marsipan. Too soft. Too acidless. Balanceless.
1èr Côtes de Bordeaux
Château Brethous 2000
Nice, leafy, savoury nose, not too ripe. Very nice and fresh - until the finish which is much too short.
Château Brethous Cuvée Prestige 2003
Vile oak. Short. Hot.
Clairet de Château Brethous 2005
Sweet nose, not acidic enough palate.
Domaine Camin Larredya Jurancon Costes Darrer 2004 Doux
The Mansengs. 50 g/l RS. Fresh, bright fruit. Good acid, maybe a bit too extracted, but the brightness keeps it all together. Nice, lighter sweetie.
I don't drink wine because of religious reasons ... only for other reasons.