Les Darons 2014 LAnguedoc Red Wine (94WA)
- Size: 750ml
- Item Code: 097871013246
- Vintage: 2014
A wine that blew me away was the 2014 Languedoc Les Darons by Jeff Carrel. Still in barrel, it offers thrilling notes of black and blue fruits, violets, and peppery spice to go with a medium to full-bodied, elegant, seamless profile on the palate. A blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Carignan and 10% Syrah that was fermented and aged all in concrete tank, it has striking purity, integrated acidity and a great finish. It should drink nicely on release and have 7-8 years of overall longevity.(WA)
The region, aka Midi, produces majority of France’s vin ordinaire and vin de pays. Its principal grapes are Carignan, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, and Grenache.
In the recent decade, Languedoc-Roussillon wine has improved dramatically in quality. Australian and other international wine companies have invested in the region (in particular Vin de Pays d’Oc) and influenced viticulture with their modern-world technology. Compared to its neighbors, wine from Vin de Pays d’Oc has a softer and rounder New World style.
Carignan originated in Spain probably near the town of Cariñena in Aragon. It first appeared in the Pyrenées Orientales region of France in the Twelfth Century, and later expanded into Mediterranean France. Carignan is grown all around the Mediterranean. There are also large plantings in Argentina, Chile, Spain, and the United States, especially in California. Because Carignan wines tend to be hard and astringent and often lack character, the juice is usually blended with varieties such as Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Syrah. Carignan adds characteristics such as body, color, fruitiness, and length. As it matures Carignan becomes softer and loses its astringency. It can be a fine accompaniment to grilled meats, Poultry, Rabbit, and Sausages.
Syrah Legends have long persisted regarding the origins of the Syrah vine: one, that it was brought to southern France from the Iranian city of Shiraz by the Greeks; or that the Romans brought it from Egypt via Syracuse; or another that it was introduced by Crusaders returning from the Middle East via Cyprus. In any case, Syrah was widely planted in the Rhône by Roman times, leading pragmatists to think it indigenous to France. Syrah is a warm-climate variety which thrives in various conditions, but great Syrah is less forgiving. It requires warmth, but not excessive heat, and thin, rocky, well-drained, heat-retentive soils exposed to abundant sunshine. Its tendency to coulure, or the failure of the flowers to develop into berries, dictates it be sited on slopes protected from wind. Vigorous and moderately to highly productive in sandy loam soil, its concentration and character are enhanced in the shallow granite and mica schist of the northern Rhône which stress the vine and curb yield. The small, thick skinned berries are deep blue-black in color, high in extract, flavor, aroma and tannin, and of good acidity which evaporates at the first instant of over-ripeness. Important throughout France’s Mediterranean basin, Syrah is usually blended with other varieties. In the northern Rhône appellations, among them Hermitage, Cornas and Côte-Rôtie, it strongly dominates blends which may include Viognier, Marsanne or Rousanne. In the southern Rhône, in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and the Côtes-du-Rhône, it lends structure to Grenache and Cinsault. In the Languedoc-Roussillon it is blended with various other prolific grapes to enhance the whole. The rest of the world typically produces Syrah as a pure varietal, both in dry and fortified styles of wine. Syrah is a perfumed, seductively brooding wine marked by dense, rich, chewy black berry fruit with notes of tar, wood smoke, bacon, leather, chocolate, and sometimes violets. The tannins are steely yet elegant, and co-exist well with oak contact.