Delighted to see La Pèira alongside the Terrasses du Larzac make an appearance in the Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book 2020.
The world’s best-selling annual wine guide, Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book (now in its 43rd year of publication) is an annual update guide.
Said to be the essential reference book for everyone who buys wine – in shops, restaurants, or on the internet.
It also take abbreviation to extremes (a necessity as it has to fit the world of wine into a pocket book). A brief entry is included for each producer, appellation, grape variety, person.
The customarily brief entries for La Pèira and the Terrasses du Larzac follow:
La Pèira L’doc r w English-owned, AL winemaker, rich intense reds. La Peira ( SYRAH / GRENACHE ), las Flors de la Peira (Syrah/Grenache/ MOURVÈDRE ), Obriers de la Peira ( CARIGNAN / CINSAULT ).
Terrasses du Larzac
Terrasses du Larzac L’doc r ★ ★ → ★ ★ ★ Most n part of AC L’DOC . Wild and hilly region from Lac du Salagou to Aniane, incl MONTPEYROUX , St-Saturnin; wide day/night temperature variation, coolth makes fresher wines. AC since 2014; 25 new growers in recent yrs, plus est names: CAL DEMOURA , CLOS des Serres, Mas de l’Ecriture, Mas Jullien , MONTCALMÈS , Pas de l’Escalette. LA PÈIRA . Over half organic/bio. Definitely to watch . White, rosé AC L’doc or IGP .
AC = AOC | L’doc = Languedoc | AL = ? | r = red | w = white | n = north | capitals = a separate individual entry
La Pèira makes an appreance in another Hugh Johnson (and Jancis Robinson) publication, The Oxford World Atlas of Wine: more here.
And the excellent Wine Behind the Label Guide is similarly comprehensive while going into great detail: more here.
The Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book is widely available in bookshops as well as online.
Nicolas Giraudeau joins La Pèira as a winemaker and régisseur.
About Nicolas Giraudeau
Nicolas studied oenology at the School of Viticulture and Oenology at La Tour Blanche – sited at Château La Tour Blanche – the 1er Cru Classé in the 1885 Classification in Sauternes. He then worked at Château Smith Haut Lafitte and Château Pape Clément Pessac-Léognan. In his time, he even worked as far as the canton of Valais, Switzerland, New Zealand, and as nearby as Saint-Chinian for a brief period. Nicolas also holds a master’s degree in vineyard management from Bordeaux Sciences Agro – École Nationale Supérieure.
La Pèira will be officially organic in 2020. Nicolas speaks about this transition and the viticultural year ahead in the Terrasses du Larzac in the short video above.
Nous sommes heureux d’annoncer que Nicolas Giraudeau a rejoint La Pèira en tant que winemaker et régisseur.
À propos de Nicolas Giraudeau
Nicolas a étudié l’œnologie à l’école de viticulture et d’œnologie de La Tour Blanche et a travaillé au Château Smith Haut Lafitte et au Château Pape Clément Pessac-Léognan. À son époque, il a même travaillé jusqu’au canton du Valais, en Suisse, en Nouvelle-Zélande et près de Saint-Chinian. Nicolas est également titulaire d’une maîtrise en gestion des vignobles de Bordeaux Sciences Agro – École Nationale Supérieure.
“THE 2017 LA PÈIRA IS BRILLIANT. THIS ESTATE CONTINUES TO FASHION SOME OF
THE MOST IMPRESSIVE WINES IN THE LANGUEDOC.” JEB DUNNUCK
THE 2017 VINTAGE NOTES
“There has been more ballyhoo about this domaine than any other since Daumas Gassac”, writes Paul Strang of La Pèira in his recent book Languedoc Roussillon The Wines and the Wine Makers. Indeed, in the new 11th Edition of Wines behind The Label, La Pèira remains the only producer for its region to be awarded the rare super 5-star rating designation ✪✪✪✪✪. This super 5-star rating is restricted to the true classics, out-and-out world class. Not only La Pèira is the sole estate in the Languedoc to receive this rating, it is one of a mere three domaines in the entire south of France. For some context, stalwarts such as Grange des Pères and Mas de Daumas Gassac received five-stars (outstanding) and four-stars (high quality) respectivly, while standout domaines outside the Terrasses du Larzac include Chateau de la Negly, five-stars (★★★★★ outstanding) and Puech-Haut four-stars (★★★★☆ high quality).
2017 THE VINTAGE
The instinct at La Pèira since the beginning has been to drive a middle line between the excessively traditional and the ultramodern, between finesses and elegance on the one hand, and power and richness on the other. To search for a typicité that is not obscured by an approach that is overtly backward, nor denied by perhaps the even greater limitation of being overly modern. As Jancis Robinson say of La Pèira: “There is clearly real sensibility for the local terrain and varietal traditions”. Andrew Jefford states that La Pèira bottles “wines of striking depth and originality yet great truth to place, too”. Joe Czerwinski writes in his review of the La Pèira 2017 vintage: “As all of the grapes are handpicked, the team does an initial triage in the vineyards, followed by another sorting at the winery. That care shows in the finished wines, which manage to combine ample weight and concentration with a rare degree of elegance and length.”
As if to underline the quality point, since our last vintage report, our outstanding importer in Belgium (Young Charly) – importer of the wines of Gaja, Ornellaia, Chapoutier and owners of Saint Emilion Grand Cru, Château Fougueyrat – discovered in the process of organising a vertical tasting that La Pèira had outperformed almost all of Bordeaux’s five First Growths over the last decade. Looking at the reviews of the Wine Advocate over a ten-year period, La Pèira averaged just hehind Château Haut-Brion, yet ahead of each of the other four Premier Grand Cru Classé rated First Growths.This is a testament to the work of all the La Pèira team and in particular winemakers Jérémie Depierre (vintages 2004-2014) and Audrey Bonnet (2015 -2019). A great testament, too, to the outstanding vineyard terroirs of La Pèira’s lieux-dits: the Bois de Pauliau and Bellefeuille (Belle Fiolle). The reviews of the 2016 vintage (‘…a candidate for perfection’ – Jeb Dunnuck) and of the 2017 vintage (‘…the 2017 La Pèira is brilliant’ ) as detailed in this report continue to be excellent.
All this serves to emphasise one central point: that in a current wine universe where true excellence is priced stratospherically and often out of reach, La Pèira, we hope, delivers the world-class while remaining firmly within grasp.
I hope you find wines here that might find a place in your collection. And thank you for your support which has made this exploration possible.
Rob Dougan et l’équipe de La Pèira
As across France in general, 2017 was characterised by a harvest of reduced quantity and high quality. As Jancis Robinson reports, in the Midi, the “condition of the fruit at harvest was generally very good, so the most quality-conscious estates have the potential to produce excellent wines”. The Wine Scholar Guild vintage chart for the region (compiled by Andrew Jefford) gives the vintage a four out of five glass rating (‘Excellent’). In the Wine Advocate the vintage is designated as ‘Outstanding’ and with maturity characterised by the symbol ‘T’ (indicating still tannic, youthful, or slow to mature).
It was somewhat of a surprise that the spring frosts that severely affected the vineyards of Champagne, Bordeaux Burgundy, the Loire valley, Alsace, Jura…touched the Hérault and our wider region in 2017. This is not an area known for April frost. Fortunately the La Pèira vineyards were spared the effects. But a cooler April here, as in Bordeaux and Burgundy, affected budburst and the flowering. And a dry summer and low rainfall (again as with the 2017 vintage in Bordeaux and Burgundy) saw small berries resulting in reduced yields.
Where the Hérault faired quite differently to other regions was the fair weather over the harvest period. This produced fine-quality wines but in small quantities. How small?
Decanter magazine reported wine production to be at “historic lows” for 2017. France’s agricultural statistics bureau estimates that it will fall short of the post-World War II record low set by the 1991 cropHere as in much of of France the year was characterised by an early picking season with grapes in good health and good maturity being harvested.
THE 2017 VINTAGE EN PRÉCIS
- Sufficient rain in the winter 2016 replenished soil water reserves
• Temperatures during winter not too cold so vines began their growing period early
• End of April temperatures fell and growth slowed restarting in May
• Frost touched some producers (unusually for Southern France).
• High temperatures dominated throughout June July August with the very little rain
• The 2017 harvest at La Pèira was a little earlier than usual but we had very good maturity.
• Yields were lower than 2016 due the somewhat dryer year and the flowering (coulure).
And the result?
- Aromatic suggestions of dark fruits, floral qualities,
spice (pepper), pencil lead
• Full-bodied reds that match richness, complexity and length with a high degree of purity of fruit, balance and elegance.
• Soft silky fine tannins
• A third very successful vintage under Audrey Bonnet-Koenig’s supervision (2015, 2016, 2017)
LA PÈIRA 2017 REVIEWS
LA PÈIRA 2017 The 2017 La Pèira is brilliant. This estate continues to fashion some of the most impressive wines in the Languedoc. Blockbuster notes of smoked black fruits, ground pepper, and graphite all give way to full-bodied red that has building tannins, stunning purity of fruit, and a fresh, balanced, elegant style that’s going to age gracefully. 95-97+/100 Jeb Dunnuck
LA PÈIRA 2017 I was shown a prospective blend for the 2017 Terrasses du Larzac La Pèira, which comprises 50% Syrah, 40% Grenache and 10% Mourvèdre. Still to fully absorb its oak, vanilla and cedar notes loom large against a backdrop of cola, plum and blueberries. Full-bodied and concentrated, it finishes long and dusty, with a fair bit of tannic clout.” 92-95/100 Wine Advocate
MATISSAT 2017 A wine to be sought out by the Mourvèdre lovers out there, the 2017 Matissat (100% Mourvèdre brought up in demi-muids) offers a terrific perfume of black raspberries, spiced meat, pepper, and earth that develops beautifully with time in the glass. As with all these 2017s, it’s slightly more elegant and streamlined than usual, yet it gains richness and depth with time in the glass. Medium to full-bodied, beautifully balanced, with silky tannins, it’s going to benefit from 3-4 years of bottle age and should keep for 15-20 years. 94-96+/100 Jeb Dunnuck
MATISSAT 2017 The most impressive wine I tasted during my visit to this exemplary estate was the 2017 Terrasses du Larzac Matissat, which was still in a single demi-muid. A blend of 70% Mourvèdre, 20% Syrah and 10% Grenache, it displays knockout aromas of red raspberries and seductive vanilla. Full-bodied, lush and creamy, this looks to be even better than the impressive 2016. It’s a true Wow! wine, with tremendous richness, complexity and length. 95-97/100 Wine Advocate
LAS FLORS DE LA PÈIRA 2017
LAS FLORS DE LA PÈIRA 2017 More Grenache-based, the 2017 Las Flors de la Pèira offers a fresher, medium to full-bodied, more elegant style than usual. Perfumed notes of black raspberries, flowers, ground pepper, and spice all define the bouquet, and it too is beautifully balanced, has good acidity, and a balanced, lengthy, elegant profile that’s going to drink nicely right out of the gate. 93-95/100 Jeb Dunnuck
LAS FLORS DE LA PÈIRA 2017 The 2017 Terrasses du Larzac Las Flors de la Pèira is likely to be a blend of 30% each Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah, plus 5% each Carignan and Cinsault. Still in barrel, it’s full-bodied but showcases beautifully delineated notes of spring flowers, mixed red and black fruit and a dusting of baking spices on the long, silky finish. 92-95/100 Wine Advocate
OBRIERS DE LA PÈIRA 2018
OBRIERS DE LA PÈIRA 2017 Tasted from tank, the 2018 Terrasses du Larzac Les Obriers de la Peira was showing lots of floral notes and red fruit. This medium to full-bodied blend of roughly 28% Mourvèdre, 27% Carignan, 25% Cinsault, 20% Syrah and “a drop” of Grenache is already silky, fine and fun to drink. 90-92 Joe Czerwinski Wine Advocate
LA PÈIRA WHITES
LA PÈIRA BLANC 2018 The tiny production of the 2018 La Pèira Blanc consists of three barrels: two of Roussanne and one of Viognier. Blended in those proportions, it’s not overly floral but instead delivers ripe apricot and pineapple notes. It’s full-bodied and creamy in texture, a rich white that retains a bit of citrus zest on the finish to provide lift and freshness. 91 – 93/100 Wine Advocate
DEUSYLS DE LA PÈIRA 2018 Tasted as a prospective blend drawn from barrel, the 2018 Deusyls de la Peira is a rich, creamy-textured blend of 40% Roussanne, 25% each Clairette and Grenache Blanc and 10% Marsanne. Fermentation starts in tank but finishes in barrel, with partial malolactic. Full-bodied and lush, I’d opt to drink it young for its plush pear and tangerine flavors, but it might evolve well beyond my conservative drinking window. 90 – 92/100 Wine Advocate
La Peira 2016: “Up with the finest vintages of this cuvée and a candidate for perfection” 97-99/100 Jeb Dunnuck
“Up with the finest vintages of this cuvée and a candidate for perfection” 97-99/100 Jeb Dunnuck
Up with the finest vintages of this cuvée and a candidate for perfection, the 2016 Terrasses du Larzac La Peira checks in as a Syrah-dominated blend raised all in barrel. It got more than one expletive in my notes and offers heavenly notes of black raspberries, garrigue, olives, lavender, and truffles. This full-bodied beauty has terrific mid-palate depth, sweet, polished tannin, and despite being a rich, powerful wine, has remarkable elegance and purity. I’ve called this estate one of the best in France, and I stand by that statement today. It’s going to benefit from short-term cellaring and have two decades of overall longevity. Hats off to the team at La Peira. 97-99/100 Jeb Dunnuck
“This will be another brilliant vintage for the cuvee” 95–97/100 Wine Advocate
This will be another brilliant vintage for the cuvee, and the 2016 Terrasses du Larzac la Peira is a more Syrah-dominated cuvee: 70% Syrah, 25% Grenache and 5% Mourvedre. The change in the blend was due to the difficulty in Grenache in 2016 for the region, and the Las Flors blend is shifted to include less Grenache as well. This 2016 has terrific notes of cassis, pepper and ample meatiness, full-bodied richness, sweet, sweet tannin and a beautiful elegance and purity that makes it a gorgeous drink even today. More open and supple than the 2015, it should drink nicely on release, yet evolve gracefully on its balance and purity. 95-97/100 Wine Advocates
Las Flors de la Pèira 2016
“I was able to taste the individual components of the 2016 Terrasses du Larzac Las Flors de la Peira, and this more Grenache-dominated cuvee always impresses for its upfront, sexy fruit and texture. The 2016 offers lots of both red and black fruits, spice and pepper, with medium to full-bodied richness, impressively sweet tannin and a finesse-oriented style.” 93–96/100 Wine Advocate
The more Grenache-heavy 2016 Terrasses du Larzac Las Flor de Peira offers a more red-fruited, floral character as well as complex notes of garrigue, Asian spices, and dried earth. It too is full-bodied and remarkably elegant, with a seamless, pure style that just begs to be drunk. This cuvée is always more forward and approachable than the La Peira release yet still ages remarkably well. 94-96/100 Jeb Dunnuck
Obriers de la Pèira 2017
Unreviewed as yet
Jancis Robinson on the Obriers cuvee
“Then there is also what might be regarded as a third wine, Les Obriers de la Pèira, that retails at around £17 a bottle (see my tasting notes on a wide array of vintages with an average score of around 16 or 16.5)”
Wine Advocate on the Obriers Cuvee
All previous vintages of the Obriers since 2005 have been rated 90/100 or over on release by the Wine Advocate.
Presentation of the La Pèira 2016
La Pèira Blanc 2017 and Deusyls de la Pèira 2017
This year we made our first ever En Primeur release of the La Pèira blanc and the second white Deusyls de la La Pèira!
Critics on the La Pèira Whites
• “This is one of the best white wines I have tasted from the Midi.” Simon Field MW Berry Bros. & Rudd
• “Like a lovely Northern Rhône white. Really exciting and good.” Jancis Robinson
“The rare white from La Pèira is surprising even its creators with its excellence and stamina, and new plantings have recently gone in of Roussanne as well as some Marsanne.” Wine Advocate
While the 2017 vintage has yet to be reviewed, past reviews of the La Pèira Blanc have been sensational:
· La Pèira Blanc 2013 “a sensational effort that competes in the top two to three whites of the Languedoc” 94/100 Wine Advocate
· La Pèira 2014 “this beauty is up with the top whites of the appellation.” 94/100 Wine Advocate
· La Pèira 2015 “citrus, white flowers and tangerine aromatics. It’s certainly an outstanding wine” 91-93/100 Wine Advocate
· La Pèira 2016 “it’s probably the white wine of the vintage.” 93 – 95/100 Wine Advocate
· 2016 Deusyls de la Pèira 90 – 92 Wine Advocate “Like everything here, it’s impeccably made.”
· 2015 Deusyls de la Pèira (89 – 91) Wine Advocate “Medium-bodied, elegant and balanced”
· 2014 Deusyls de la Pèira 92 Wine Advocate “medium-bodied, fresh and lively, with superb purity of fruit”
· 2013 Deusyls de la Pèira 92 Wine Advocate “Layered, downright classy, medium to full-bodied”
· 2012 Deusyls de la Pèira 94 Wine Advocate “it’s a smoking white”
· 2011 Deusyls de la Pèira 94 Wine Advocate “Vibrant, energetic and with a great finish”
· 2010 Deusyls de la Pèira 92 Wine Advocate “Elegant, seamless and full-flavored on the palate, with plenty of class”
· 2009 Deusyls de la Pèira (90 – 91) Wine Advocate “outstanding effort”
· 2008 Deusyls de la Pèira 91 Wine Advocate “offers mouthwatering salinity, lingering perfume, and intriguing, elusive mineral traces”
· 2006 Deusyls de la Pèira 92 Wine Advocate “demonstrates the striking potential of this site and talented team extends to white wine”
Since first bottling of first white at La Pèira in 2005, weʼve learned more about the background of the white varieties at La Peira, as this interview with Jancis Robinson for her article La Pèira vertical and other Languedoc treasures relates:
“ ‘Oddly for this region, La Pèira’s Bois de Pauliau vineyard has been designated AOC for over half a century, as the most northerly of the two zones of the Clairette du Languedoc AOC (1948). Near La Pèira, and still in the Clairette AOC, France’s earliest known winery (10 AD) was discovered in 2007. Indeed, the first mention of French wine in literature as being of significant merit is found in Pliny’s Natural History (77-79 AD) in which the white wines of Baeterrae [Béziers] nearby are cited as worthy of note (alongside the resinous reds of Vienne). (Béziers is situated on a vast plain of quaternary alluvium that follows two seams northward along the Orb river toward St-Chinian and along the Hérault river toward the Terrasses du Larzac). ”
Inspired by this history of white wine production, we planted Clairette, alongside Marsanne, Roussanne in 2009, and further Roussanne and Grenache blanc in 2013.
The La Pèira blanc (first released in 2013) is a blend of Roussanne, Marsanne, Viognier. Roussanne, of course, along with Marsanne, comprise the great Hermitage whites, with the Viognier grape comprising the wines of Condrieu.
The first of these implantations coming on board alongside the vineyard work and work with the Deusyls de la Pèira over 10 years lead to the development and first bottling of the La Pèira blanc in 2013 (albeit in limited availability).
The planting for the whites : Belle Feuille Roussanne planted 0,2573 ha Marsanne planted 0,0847 ha Roussanne 0,1720 ha Viognier 0,3000 ha Les Pointes Clairette 0,2860 ha Grenache blanc 0,2850 ha
The offer can be accessed here: https://store.la-peira.com/
A wonderful map showing the parcels, lieux-dits, and cepages of La Pèira can be viewed: http://www.la-peira.com/la-peira-map/
To purchase the map click here: https://store.la-peira.com/product/vignoble-de-la-peira/
La Pèira Blanc 2017
We are happy to present the Matissat 2016 -La Pèira’s 100% Mourvèdre cuvée The most surprising point for many will be the number of bottles produced: a mere 1,300. Even with the La Pèira wine 5000 bottles (or 400 or so cases) represent the record of each vintage. As such, retaining library bottles for future tastings is a challenge – but, of course, necessary.
Presentation translation: “Matissat 2016 has a lovely red, almost black colour. On the nose, we can find beautiful notes of spices alongside ripe small black fruits. There is a hint of chocolate. On the palate, it is well-balanced, with good structure. We find the same black fruits, alongside spices. The finish has good length. However, it needs at least another five years of ageing. In terms of wine-making, as for all the other wines,the grape varieties are vinified separately. Then the wine is aged, half in new barrels and half in barrels that have been used once before the previous year. And for Matissat 2016, only 10 hectoliters [1,300 bottles] were produced.”
Our pre-release offer ends soon: https://store.la-peira.com/product/en-primeur-matissat-2016/
“There has been more ballyhoo about this domaine than any other since Daumas Gassac” Paul Strang on La Peira in – Languedoc Roussillon The Wines and the Wine Makers
“There has been more ballyhoo about this domaine than any other since Daumas Gassac” writes Paul Strang on La Pèira in his Languadoc Roussillon The Wines and the Wine Makers.
La Peira is rated **** world class (the highest rating).
The book – the most up-to-date and comprehensive reference book on this the world’s largest wine region and a great place to visit (“white beaches, blue seas, country markets, maquis-covered hills” Lonely Planet’s top regions to visit in 2018″) – is available at:
“Paul Strang has been a main driver of the renaissance of South West France. This new edition confirms the coming-of-age of Languedoc Roussillon as France’s new fine wine region, a word of reference and a beautiful volume that wouldn’t have been possible five years ago, or with the combination of Paul’s research and Jason’s painterly eye. It’s already led me to brilliant wines I’ve never met before.” HUGH JOHNSON, OBE
We offered recently our first ever En Primeur release of Matissat – our pure Mourvèdre cuvee.
There were 1300 bottles (or around 222 wooden cases of 6 bottles) made in 2016. It’s a wine we only make in great years for this variety as it need perfect weather to ripen. Late-ripening Mourvèdre (found in Bandol – by the sea near Cassis – and sometimes Chateauneuf-du-Pape) is an interesting cepage.
“It reminds me of midnight: dark, quiet, impenetrable, enigmatic….but, at its best, full of strange magic”, writes Andrew Jefford of Mourvèdre. That same Andrew Jefford, writing on La Pèira’s Matissat:
“I’m not sure I’ve ever tasted better Mourvèdre; certainly not since I was last in Bandol”
Our pre-release offer (closed now for the 2016 vintage) was found on the La Pèira Especiariá –Especiariá the occitan word for the French Épicerie – here: https://store.la-peira.com/product/en-primeur-matissat-2016/
Matissat 2016 Reviews
“A wine I can’t get enough of is the Mourvedre-dominated Matissat from this estate, and I’ve yet to not love every vintage I’ve tasted”
Matissat 2016 95–98/100 Wine Advocate
A wine I can’t get enough of is the Mourvedre-dominated Matissat from this estate, and I’ve yet to not love every vintage I’ve tasted. The 2016 Terrasses du Larzac Matissat boasts a deep purple color as well as sensational notes of ripe dark fruits, violets, chocolate and massive chalky minerality. It’s a big wine, but it stays balanced, fresh and structured, with plenty of sweet tannin lending length and cut on the finish. I’d try a bottle right on release, and then forget it for 5-7 years, as Mourvedre has a tendency to close down shortly after release. Wine Advocate 95–98/100
“It’s up with the greatest expressions of this variety in France”
Matissat 2016 95-97/100 Jeb Dunnck
The deepest colored of the three wines in this report, the 2016 Terrasses du Larzac Matissat is a Mourvèdre-dominated cuvée raised all in barrels. This smoking good barrel sample is absolutely loaded with notions of cured meats, black currants, crushed rocks, game, and graphite. Deep, full-bodied, and powerful, it has no hard edges, a seamless texture, and building tannin. It’s up with the greatest expressions of this variety in France. Jeb Dunnuck 95-97/100
On first releasing the Matissat cuvee in 2012, we wrote the following:
Never ones to wish to distract from the La Pèira wines, we nevertheless found ourselves in 2007, harvesting Mourvèdre of excellent quality, that when it came to blending, could not find its place alongside the Syrah and Grenache in the La Pèira blend and so was bottled alone. This practice has continued, and each year for the last six years we have harvested a small plot of Mourvèdre that makes up the entirety of this wine – Matissat. The wine is grown a few steps away from where it is Vinified – on the same plot as the Syrah and Grenache of La Pèira on the Bois de Pauliau.
The Bois de Pauliau is a bit of an anomaly in our region of the south of France. It has been an AOC since 1948, as the most northerly zone of the white Clairette – so for just over half a century. It received its second AOC for red wines, the Terrasses du Larzac designation (Bettane and Desseauve’s French appellation of the year in 2011) in 2014. Just nearby, still in the Clairette AOC again, France’s oldest winery (10AD) was discovered (link: Decanter July 2007), and Clairette itself has been produced at least since 77-79 AD when Pliny the Elder named the whites of Baeterrae (Beziers) along with the resinous reds of Vienne as the sole two wines of exception from what is now France.
Harvested in the October mists, a time of chilled mornings, cold nights, and vine leaves turning to autumnal ruby, blood red, and rust, there is something special both about this time of year and this grape variety to us. Late-ripening, tannic, and with its own earthy inimitable character, Mourvèdre also has an extraordinary ability to age and to unfold and show more with time. Andrew Jefford’s description of the cépage is interesting: “It reminds me of midnight: dark, quiet, impenetrable, enigmatic….but, at its best, full of strange magic.”
Given growing areas such as Bandol come to mind when thinking of Mourvèdre, or certain wines such as the Beaucastel’s well-known ‘Hommage’, it’s a surprise to learn that these noted examples are mostly blends. The Beaucastel is 60 percent, and top Bandol estates such as Tempier advising against bottling pure Mourvèdre. After repeated tastings – and having held off releasing the wine for a while (7 years), we started to feel we had the proof in our glass.
And that like a Nebbiolo grown in Barolo or Barbaresco, or a Pinot Noir grown in Burgundy: here was a pure Mourvèdre that was complete, complex, and valid on its own singular terms. It’s an exciting side exploration for us, and hope it is of interest. Here follow reviews from Jancis Robinson, the Wine Advocate, David Schildknecht, Jeb Dunnuck, and Andrew Jefford (Decanter).
“I’m not sure I’ve ever tasted better Mourvèdre; certainly not since I was last in Bandol” Andrew Jefford (2008)
“What Mourvèdre it is! Harvested only in late October, that component of this wine displayed the variety’s archetypal chocolate, bay laurel, and raw meat.” Wine Advocate David Schildknecht (2009)
“Their increasingly celebrated Matissat” : Jancis Robinson: La Pèira’s varietal Mourvèdre (link)
“It’s up with the greatest expressions of this variety in France” Jeb Dunnuck
For en Primeur offers such as this in the future visit: https://store.la-peira.com
“Harvested in the October mists, a time of chilled mornings, cold nights, and vine leaves turning to autumnal ruby, blood red, and rust, there is something special both about this time of year and this grape variety to us.” – La Pèira Preamble to the first release in 2012