David Schildknecht’s Wine Advocate reviews 2005-2007
From Regional Article
On regional stylistic differences:
“And among the very greatest wines of the Languedoc are to be found some of the starkest contrasts. Mas Jullien and La Pèira en Damaisèla inhabit the same neighborhood, but different stylistic worlds; Peyre Rose and Clos la Truffiers stand less than a mile, yet poles apart.”
On Cinsault and Carignan:
“Any authorities or growers who doubt these grape varieties’ quality potential need to check out the results at D’Aupilhac, Mas Conscience, L’Oustal Blanc, La Péira en Damaisèla, and others lauded in this report.”
2007 La Peira Terrasses du Larzac (95-96)
Consisting of 68% Syrah with correspondingly small amounts of Grenache and Mourvedre, the seductive 2007 Coteaux du Languedoc Terrasses du Larzac La Peira adds violets and white truffle to the lilies present in the Las Flors, and the fruit shifts into a low register, with cassis, blackberry, and purple plum informing a thickly-rich, decadently sumptuous palate. Here, too, there is a hidden source of energy that conveys lift to the finish and keeps the wine from seeming at all over-ripe. Nor is there even a hint of heat in a finish of astonishing richness and sheer length, with floral perfume hanging in all the way to a reverberating, bitter-sweet, multifaceted finish.
This wine will ring changes on your palate for a decade, I predict, and will enter that select – though rapidly expanding – elite of Languedoc wines that need not fear comparison with any of the world’s wine icons. (David Schildknecht Wine Advocate June 2009)
2007 Las Flors de la Peira Terrasses du Larzac (93-94)
The 2007 Coteaux du Languedoc Terrasses du Larzac Las Flors de la Peira is around 40% each Syrah and Grenache, with the rest Mourvedre, but what Mourvedre it is! Harvested only in late October, that component of this wine displayed the variety’s archetypal chocolate, bay laurel, and raw meat, and for all of its alcohol, remained juicy and bright. It would have made a gorgeous bottling on its own, but the synergies in this blend are even more formidable. Coconut, lily, marzipan, black raspberry with high-toned distilled fruit notes all pour from the glass. Chocolate richness and an amazingly vivid sense of decadently-sweet inner-mouth floral perfume inform a creamy-textured, liqueur-like palate. A reservoir of fresh black fruits flows into this rich lake from somewhere, preserving vivacity and a sense of sheer refreshment, while saline and chalky notes creep into the long finish, enhancing a sense of cool complexity that helps ward off the slight sense of heat from analytically high alcohol.
This beauty strikes me as likely to benefit from at least 6-8 years in bottle. (David Schildknecht Wine Advocate June 2009)
2007 Obriers de la Peira (91-92)
In my fantasy world where the authorities require every Languedoc vigneron to protect some old Cinsault and Carignan vines, they should all be required as well to taste La Peira’s 2007 Les Obriers de la Peira, or any other vintage of this remarkable blend of two parts Cinsault and one of Carignan. Production has already “ramped up” to over one thousand cases, or a bit more than the combined production of the estate’s other three cuvees. That said, the yields permitted these old vines (to say nothing of those that inform the other bottlings at this estate) would stop most growers dead in their tracks. This could be called “almonds (Cinsault) meet walnuts (Carignan)”and the nutty, toasty, richness is enhanced by fermentation and aging in young oaken uprights (whence I tasted it, with a small component from barriques having been added). To be sure, dark cherry and blackberry abound here too, along with hints of mint.
Silky smooth and seductively palate-coating, enormously ripe to the point of resembling a liqueur, yet with its alcohol hidden and with a bright, vivacious core of fresh fruit, this will be irresistible on release, but who knows how many years it might go on delivering pleasure? (David Schildknecht Wine Advocate June 2009)
2006 La Peira Terrasses du Larzac 95
Mocha, honey, cassis, lightly-cooked cherry, and iris inform the strikingly bitter-sweet and complex 2006 Coteaux du Languedoc Terrasses du Larzac La Peira. Its confectionary hints as well as its ultra-polished texture suggest butter cream on the palate, with bitter-sweet floral perfume wafting throughout, and the same reservoir of fresh-fruit juiciness that is retained by all of the wines in this collection. The lift and refinement surpass the already in those respects remarkable Las Flores, although this cuvee is slightly less enveloping in its richness.
A shimmering, crystalline sense of minerality here is no less remarkable for being illusive, and is in distinct contrast with the chalky manifestations found in the 2007 (David Schildknecht Wine Advocate June 2009)
2006 Las Flors de la Peira Terrasses du Larzac 94
The 2006 Coteaux du Languedoc Terrasses du Larzac Las Flors de la Peira – with a bit more Grenache and correspondingly less Syrah than its 2007 counterpart – displays a simultaneously ravishing and decadent nose of fading lilies, iris, candied black fruits, mint chocolate, resin, and baking spices. Chalky, stony foundations under-gird the chocolate-drenched and spice-dusted black fruits on the palate, and an inner mouth floral profusion persists right though to a superbly soothing finish. In both perfume and its cocoa-powder richness and velvet texture, this puts me in mind of a great Pomerol. For as far-gone on sheer ripeness and decadence as it is, this retains a wonderful sense of lift and elegance.
Here is further proof (in a dramatically different style from Olivier Jullien’s wine) that 2006 was especially favored in this sector of the Terrasses du Larzac, and certainly this wine bids fair to evolve fascinatingly for at least a decade. (David Schildknecht Wine Advocate June 2009)
2006 Obriers de la Peira Terrasses du Larzac 90
The 2006 Les Obriers de la Peira smells of lightly cooked cherry, toasted nuts and marjoram. Less polished and complex, but with great purity of fruit, and every bit as exuberant and refreshing as the 2007, this still retains a sense of low-toned richness, with walnut oil and chocolate that become more prominent in the finish.
Certainly it will be worth following for a few years, even though intended for – and quite capable of – being enjoyed right away. (David Schildknecht Wine Advocate June 2009)
(Note: Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate review of the same wine is below)
2006 Obriers de la Peira Terrasses du Larzac 93
Although this blend of 65% Cinsault and 35% Carignan is not from the Rhone Valley, since my colleague, David Schildknecht, has not had an opportunity to taste it, it’s included here. This estate aims to rival the great Negly for making the top wines in Languedoc, and this 2006 is their introductory offering. Falling somewhere between a great Cote Rotie and a top-notch Hermitage, it boasts a dense purple color along with a super-ripe nose of blackberries, cassis, charcoal, wood smoke, and spice.
Beautifully textured, full-bodied, and opulent, it is a stunning example of what can be accomplished in this backwater appellation. Drink it over the next 5-7 years.(Robert Parker Wine Advocate August 2008)
2006 Deusyls 92
While reflecting an annual production of only 1,000 bottles, the 2006 Deusyls de la Peira – a blend of Viognier with one-third Roussane –demonstrates that the striking potential of this site and its talented team extends to white wine. Pungent notes of lime, tangerine, pepper, narcissus, and acacia tweak the nose. On the palate, the juxtaposition of creamy richness of texture with zesty pungency and fresh citrus is striking and readily enticing of the next sip. The oily and pit-fruited aspects of Viognier are absent here but (at least for this taster!) not missed. While this spent nearly two years feeding from its lees in barrel, they were not stirred. Lift, refinement, and clarity mark a finish that is like very subtly-bitter liquid floral perfume.
Is it at its best now? Who can know? But it is significantly more impressive than when tasted a year ago and before bottling. (David Schildknecht Wine Advocate June 2009)
2005 la Peira Terrasses du Larzac 93
Mace, mint, black pepper, resin, baked black fruits, and a hint of roasted meat rise from the glass of 2005 Coteaux du Languedoc Terrasses du Larzac La Peira. Saline, stony, chalky, and iodine-like mineral suggestions lend added dimension to the rich, spiced, chocolate-dipped berry fruits, yet as with all of the wines from this estate, a measure of levity and juicy core of fresh fruit acids remains.
This doesn’t display the floral dimension that makes so many of the other wines at this address especially striking, but it nearly makes up for that in sheer opulence, and will almost surely be worth following for a half dozen more years, during which it may assert itself vis-a-vis the very different Las Flors. (David Schildknecht Wine Advocate June 2009)
2005 Las Flors de la Peira Terrasses du Larzac 93
Continuing to explore Right-Bank Bordeaux allusions, the 2005 Coteaux du Languedoc Terrasses du Larzac Las Flors de la Peira displays a Cabernet Franc-like combination of gardenia, machine oil, and crushed stone to accompany its abundance of black fruits, toasted nuts, and chocolate. With terrific richness on the palate, like a mingling of nut paste and fruit preserves, this incorporates a roasted meat dimension that was there already 18 months ago, but does not (yet, at least) have a carnal counterpart in any of the younger wines from this cellar. Suggestions of caramel enhance the sweet, baked sense of dark, rich fruit, yet an element of sappy refreshment and levity carries into its long finish. Prior to bottling, I under-estimated this wine’s potential.
It represents an impressive performance in the context of its vintage – not to mention for an inaugural wine –and should be worth following for at least 3-5 more years, although obviously with a new project, only time will truly tell. (David Schildknecht Wine Advocate June 2009)
2005 Obriers de la Peira Terrasses du Larzac 92
The 2005 Les Obriers de la Peira offers perfectly ripe, bright-edged cherry and blackberry with a rich dusting of cocoa powder and piquant walnut and pungent herbal accents. The blend here is the same as in subsequent vintages, but the hot, stressful ripening season seems to have slightly diminished the efficacy of the Cinsault, and brought-up the characteristics of Carignan in spades. This finishes with terrific tenacity and richness, as well as with peat, fruit pit, and sheer crushed stone suggestions that add depth and complexity. It tastes significantly better today than it did a year ago, and I wouldn’t doubt it will be worth following for at least several more years.
Furthermore, at its price, it represents an amazing value which I cannot imagine any wine lover not wishing to buy as much of as he or she could and to follow in bottle. Too bad only 447 cases were bottled, but production more than doubled with the 2006. (David Schildknecht Wine Advocate June 2009)
La Peira en Damaisela is the property of London-based composer Robert Dougan, located between Jonquieres and Aniane, on two adjacent parcels of no known previous distinction, but to which in 2004 instinct led him either with remarkable prescience or remarkable luck.
The deep alluvial fan that is the basis for this site is only barely tilted, as it might be in St. Helena or Rutherford, St.-Estephe or Pomerol … and these comparisons will not seem inapt once you experience the quality of La Peira’s wines. Claude Gros (of Chateau de Negly fame) consults here, expense seems not to have been spared on a new facility (with, of course, lots of new barrels), and Bordeaux-trained Jeremie Depierre is the hands-on (or, as I am sure he and Dougan would prefer me to put it “hands-off”) winemaker. New barrels of 500-600 liter capacity are favored here, incidentally, rather than classic (225 liter) barriques. I had the good fortune to taste the La Peira cuvees of 2005 and 2006 in late 2007 – before any wines had been released – and again this past December, when I tasted the extraordinary 2007s here for the first time. As this report goes to press, the first of the three red bottlings is about to be released in its 2007 rendition, but neither of the two other red cuvees from the 2006 vintage although all three were bottled at around 20-22 months has even been released yet. (David Schildknecht Wine Advocate June 2009)
Importer: Eric Solomon Selections, Charlotte, NC; tel. (704) 358-1565
David Schildknecht’s complete reviews and regional articles on the Languedoc & the Roussilion in Issue #183 of the Wine Advocate can he found here.
Berry Bros & Rudd Cellar Notes courtesy of Simon Field MW can be found here.
Gary Vaynerchuk’s Wine Library reviews can be found here.