WTN: Who knows the grapes Mauzac, Len de l'ehl, Arneis?

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WTN: Who knows the grapes Mauzac, Len de l'ehl, Arneis?

Postby Tim York » Sat Jul 11, 2009 9:04 am

Gaillac blanc sec 2007 – Château Clémént Termes – Alc. 12% - (€5), made from the Mauzac and Loin de l’Oeuil varieties.
Gaillac is a little exported appellation situated to the North-East of the city of Toulouse (where Airbus is assembled) towards Albi on the Tarn http://www.vins-gaillac.com/A_frm01.html . It uses a number of obscure local grape varieties (including these two) as well as adding more international ones to some cuvées. It is probably the French appellation with which I am least familiar.

C: Quite pale straw.
N: Tender white fruit and flowers.
P: Bone dry, quite original and aromatic in flavour but soft, light in body, though quite round, and somewhat dilute; flavours are refreshing with good acidity showing white and citrus fruit with a grapefruit like bitterness round the finish which shows a fragrant after-taste. With more stuffing this flavour profile could have been interesting; 14/20.

Langhe Arneis “Tre Fie” 2008 – Famiglia Marrone, La Morra – Alc. 13% - (c.€13) under a plastic closure.
The Arneis white grape is probably less unfamiliar than the above two. It is planted in Piemonte in the Langhe, as here, and in Roero north of the river Tanaro.

C: Similar to the Gaillac.
N: Quite subdued with grape and pineapple notes.
P: Noticeably sweet with medium body and the “gras” missing from the Gaillac showing attractively grapey and tropical fruit notes balanced by lively tangy minerals and sufficient acidity (don’t be put off by the back label’s “low acidity” comment) and decent length. Not too sweet for pairing with a fish dish (“sandre”) in a creamy mussel sauce; to be drunk young, I guess; 15.5/20.
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Re: WTN: Who knows the grapes Mauzac, Len de l'ehl, Arneis?

Postby Hoke » Sat Jul 11, 2009 2:11 pm

Me...me...me!

I'm actually pretty fond of white Gaillac, Tim----whenever I can find it, which isn't often. Gaillac---and so many other wines from the Sud-Ouest---have been strangled for so long by Bordeaux that they are still obscure, which is too bad.

Can't say I've had those obscure grapes in anything but a blend. Doubt there's any varietal renditions out there.

Arneis, on the other hand, is getting to be a commonly available commodity (comparatively speaking to Gaillac, I mean :D ).
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Re: WTN: Who knows the grapes Mauzac, Len de l'ehl, Arneis?

Postby Tim York » Sun Jul 12, 2009 11:06 am

Hoke wrote:I'm actually pretty fond of white Gaillac, Tim----whenever I can find it, which isn't often. Gaillac---and so many other wines from the Sud-Ouest---have been strangled for so long by Bordeaux that they are still obscure, which is too bad.



Hoke, even here Gaillac is quite hard to come by. The South West contains a number of appellations of strong individuality, my favourites being Madiran, Jurançon and Cahors; sadly their main audience consists of hard core geeks, although Cahors is trying to popularise and risks losing its soul in the process.

I think that it is probably correct that historically the jealousy of Bordeaux is responsible for the taste profile of these being so little known and appreciated. This probably no longer applies but the damage has been done.
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Re: WTN: Who knows the grapes Mauzac, Len de l'ehl, Arneis?

Postby Jenise » Sun Jul 12, 2009 1:18 pm

Tim, I've never seen a Gaillac white so far as I know--and I'm someone who seeks out the unusual. Would buy a wine because it IS unfamiliar, vs. avoiding it for the same reason. Hope I run into one soon. Arneis is more familiar and it's a robust white I love, particularly from the Roero. Wish I saw more of them here. I can add, though, that a few American wineries are playing with it--in my area, Ponzi in Oregon makes one that's quite attractive. Tends to be a hardsell at $20 to a population who tends not to spend over $10 for white wine where $20 or more for a red isn't an issue, but the wine's good.
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Re: WTN: Who knows the grapes Mauzac, Len de l'ehl, Arneis?

Postby JC (NC) » Tue Jul 14, 2009 1:21 pm

I enjoyed the Ponzi Arneis at their restaurant in the Dundee Hills area.
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Re: WTN: Who knows the grapes Mauzac, Len de l'ehl, Arneis?

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Tue Jul 14, 2009 7:19 pm

Nice notes Tim. Back from my butterfly count in the Rockies where I had a very nice homemade raspberry wine! Sure not that obscure eh.
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Re: WTN: Who knows the grapes Mauzac, Len de l'ehl, Arneis?

Postby Peter May » Wed Jul 15, 2009 9:18 am

Mauzac is the main grape of the sparklers from Limoux which are not that uncommon.

I had wines from Gaillac more years ago than I care to recall when I first started drinking wine, from a supermarket (I think) Sainsbury's. Can't reacll much about the wine now and of cause my tastes have no doubt changed, but I remember the flute bottles with three narrow glass bands around the neck.

Roero Arneis I came across for the first time on Lake Maggiore and though I'd made a great find. To my astonishment on my return home found Roero Arneis on the wine list of Pizza Express (national UK chain) and M&S currently stock a good Arneis
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Re: WTN: Who knows the grapes Mauzac, Len de l'ehl, Arneis?

Postby Chris Kissack » Sat Jul 18, 2009 1:44 am

I've become increasingly familiar with Mauzac over the last few days as I am staying near Limoux at the moment - Mauzac features here even more strongly than it does in Gaillac, where as others have indicated it is blended with other oddities such as Ondenc and Len de l'El. I have recently had a Gaillac Doux, a sweet wine from Chateau Bal Ségur, but mostly I have been drinking Limoux.

Hoke wrote:Can't say I've had those obscure grapes in anything but a blend. Doubt there's any varietal renditions out there.


Almost correct....the closest you might get from most producers is a Blanquette de Limoux, which is supposed to be 90% Mauzac (although I know some producers fudge this a little bit, as they believe the wines are better with less Mauzac and more Chardonnay/Chenin), even though these latter wines would perhaps be better under the more recently created Crémant de Limoux appellation, which was brought into existence for this very purpose - here Mauzac plays a minor role with up to 90% Chardonnay/Chenin.

There is one producer, however, and they may well be the only people doing this, producing a varietal Mauzac, and that is Chateau Rives-Blanques (link to my profile which I will be updating soon after my recent visit: http://www.thewinedoctor.com/languedoc/rivesblanques.shtml). Here Jan and Caryl Panman make 3 100% varietal cuvées, one each from Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and Mauzac, as well as a blended cuvée; the Mauzac (Cuvée Occitania) is pretty good, quite nicely fruity but with good acidity and a recent bottle went well with some barbecued salmon:

Domaine Rives-Blanques Limoux Cuvée Occitania Mauzac 2008: This cuvée, 100% Mauzac, is sourced from a 2 hectare plot just below the main plain where majority of the Rives-Blanques vines sit. The plot is nearing agriculture biologique certification. Fermented and raised in oak, for 6 months in total, with bâtonnage twice per week. The label declares Nostra terra mentis pas (our soil doesn't lie). Very aromatic on the nose, with white peach and other stone fruits. A lovely, full style on the palate, better defined than the Rives-Blanques vin de pays wines. Full, fresh, substantial but dry and well-defined. A good example of this indigenous variety. 16.5+/20 (July 2009)
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Re: WTN: Who knows the grapes Mauzac, Len de l'ehl, Arneis?

Postby Hoke » Sat Jul 18, 2009 12:48 pm

Chris, I spend my life being almost correct. :wink:

Thanks for the update on Mauzac! It's the norm in this wonderful world of wine that, somehow, somewhere, if there is a variety---no matter how obscure---there will be someone making a wine from it. If only to see what happens. :D

Your description of the Rives-Blanque is enticing. Thanks for the vicarious enjoyment, intrepid wine explorer!
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Re: WTN: Who knows the grapes Mauzac, Len de l'ehl, Arneis?

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Sat Jul 18, 2009 3:52 pm

Who would have thought that Tim`s original question would have such enlightening response. Thanks to Chris for chipping in, he is always in the right place at the right time!
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Re: WTN: Who knows the grapes Mauzac, Len de l'ehl, Arneis?

Postby Doug Surplus » Thu Jul 23, 2009 3:09 pm

The only Arneis I've had is from the Graziano Family under the Enotria label. Very good stuff. I'll have to check my cellar program for a TN to put up here.
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Re: WTN: Who knows the grapes Mauzac, Len de l'ehl, Arneis?

Postby Dan Donahue » Fri Jul 24, 2009 2:17 pm

I would second (or fourth) the general high quality of Roero Arneis. I've just posted a note on the '06 Giacosa.
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