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A game bunch

Blackrock Castle

In the absence of reports from those (unable to attend this time) who kindly usually review our meetings online in the blink of an eye after the portcullis at Blackrock has slammed shut, I'm posting a summary of Thursday's meeting of the Blackrock Castle Wine Club, the second of the year and of the club, which looked at and tasted some wines from the world's largest wine-producing region, the Languedoc-Roussillon in the south of France.

Generalizations really don't mean much at all when discussing such a huge and diverse vineyard, but I did my best to supply enough fragments of information for those present to piece together their own interpretation of the night's theme.

We talked (I shouted) about
history: Greeks, Romans, Vandals, Huns, Visigoths, Saracens, Normans, Cathars &c.
grapes: Aramon, Alicante Bouschet, Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, Mourvèdre (whoops forgot Cinsault); Grenache blanc and Grenache gris, Roussanne, Marsanne &c.
rules and regulations: AOC Languedoc, Vin de Pays d'Oc, Vin de Table, defrauding the Americans (the Red Bicyclette Pinot Noir episode), defrauding the Chinese (400,000 bottles of counterfeit Mont Tauch Fitou), sequestration of the Costières de Nîmes AOC into the Rhône Valley catchment, &c.
food: The magnificently just-right early menu offered by our hosts at the Castle Trattoria;  and all the furred, feathered and even bristly things you should kill and eat with these wines,

and in between times there was practical investigation and debate of the following wines from our list:

I forgot to ask for a show of hands about who liked what most, least, and so on. If you were present on the night and disappointed that I denied you the chance to articulate your views, please follow the links through to each wine you felt strongly about and have your say in the LouderVoice review box you'll find there. Stars out of five and a comment would be lovely.

Mas des Bressades Tradition blancMas des Bressades Cuvée Tradition Blanc 2008 €13.00
À Manduel, AOC Costières de Nîmes
50% Roussanne, 5% Marsanne, 35% Grenache Blanc, 10% Viognier
(Click the bottle to find out more & buy or review it)

Mas_des_Bressades_Excellence_BlancMas des Bressades Cuvée Excellence Blanc 2009 €17.50
À Manduel, AOC Costières de Nîmes
70% Roussanne, 10% Grenache Blanc, 20% Viognier
(Click the bottle to find out more & buy or review it)

Château de la Tuilerie Cuvée des AmoursChâteau de la Tuilerie Cuvée des Amours 2006 €12.50
À Nîmes, AOC Costières de Nîmes
60% Syrah, 20 % Grenache, 20% Carignan
(Click the bottle to find out more & buy or review it)

Château la Villatade Minervois AOCChâteau la Villatade Minervois 2006 €14.50
À Sallèles, AOC Minervois
50% Syrah, 30% Carignan, 20% Grenache
(Click the bottle to find out more & buy or review it)

Château Jouclary Guilhaume Cabardès AOCChâteau Jouclary Cuvée Guilhaume 2006 €21.00
À Conques-sur-Orbiel, AOC Cabardès
60% Merlot, 20% Syrah, 20% Grenache
(Click the bottle to find out more & buy or review it)

Domaine Rimbert, Le Mas au Schiste, St-Chinian AOCDomaine Rimbert Le Mas au Schiste 2005 €18.50
À Berlou, AOC Saint Chinian
60% Carignan, 20% Syrah, 10% Cinsault, 10% Grenache
(Click the bottle to find out more & buy or review it)

Domaine Rimbert, El Carignator II, VdTDomaine Rimbert El Carignator II VDT NV €29.00
À Berlou, Saint Chinian
100% Old Carignan
(Click the bottle to find out more & buy or review it)

Mas des Bressades, Cabernet-Syrah VdP du GardMas des Bressades Cabernet Syrah 2006 €17.50
À Manduel, vin de pays du Gard
70% Cabernet, 30% Syrah
(Click the bottle to find out more & buy or review it)

Mas Amiel Vintage blancMas Amiel Vintage Blanc 2006 75cl 16% €30.00
À Maury, AOC Maury
100% Grenache Gris
(Click the bottle to find out more & buy or review it)

Mas Amiel Mini MauryMas Amiel Mini Maury 37cl 16% €15.00
À Maury, AOC Maury
100% Grenache Noir
(Click the bottle to find out more & buy or review it)

The overwhelming impression I got from talking to people on the night of this second meeting is that we are getting the balance pretty much right. It strikes me as presumptuous, though, to think that we can let nature take its course now that we've harvested and crushed the grapes. That may be an approach for the more experimental winemakers, but a bit of application in the cellar can be no bad thing when it comes to dealing with the diverse blend of opinions and expectations we're constellating at Blackrock Castle.

It was very hard work (hooray!) to find anyone who would offer proper constructive criticism, by which I mean suggestions about how we might improve the way the club is run. Finally I managed to get some ideas about what might be done differently for everyone's good. I'll put these into a separate post because this one has gone on long enough, and I daresay you have homes to go to.

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