La Pèira’s Matissat tops Andrew Jefford’s Decanter Blind Tasting of “almost ninety of Languedoc’s finest red wines”

La Pèira’s Matissat tops Andrew Jefford’s Decanter Blind Tasting of “almost ninety of Languedoc’s finest red wines”

Writing for Decanter Magazine, Andrew Jefford reports on a blind tasting of, “almost ninety of the Languedoc’s finest wines”, whereas he relates, “the winner was a new arrival: the 2009 Matissat from La Pèira”.

The tasting was organised by Christian Seely, Managing Director of AXA Millésimes (Owners of Château Pichon-Longueville, Chateau Suduiraut, and Quinta do Noval among others and one of France’s most prestigious wine companies), and held last month at the company’s property in the Hérault, Mas Belles-Eaux.

Andrew Jefford, in his article for Decanter, writes:

“…I blind-tasted, over a couple of days recently, almost ninety of Languedoc’s finest red wines.

The tasting finished with a flight of wines whose prices march boldly into  Bordeaux and Burgundy territory: €55 for La Grange des Pères 2007, €64 for La Pèira 2009, €82 for the 2007 Porte du Ciel from La Négly and €83 for the 2008 Clos des Truffiers, also from La Négly. It was, in taste as well as in price, a battle of the sauropods, but on my scoresheet as well as for those I  was tasting with, the winner was a new arrival: the 2009 Matissat from La Pèira (€40 from the cellar; Berry Bros, by the way, will be stocking both the 2007 and 2009 vintages later this year).

It was pure Mourvèdre, but I don’t think Bandol-lovers would have recognized it, so pristine were its black fruits, and so elegantly had the garrigue allusions been incorporated. Yes, it had tiptoed right up to the tipping point, looked over — and stepped back:  delicious.”

AXA Millésimes,  the wine investment arm of the AXA insurance group, acquired Mas Belles-Eaux (situated between Pézenas and Caux, some 20 Kms. south-west of La Pèira) in 2002, stating:

“We believe that, in the future, the Languedoc will be recognised as the source of some of the greatest wines of France”.

As Christian Seely relates: “when I told Michel Chapoutier I’d bought the vineyard and where it was, he said it’s the greatest terroir in France!”

In last month’s Decanter, Michel Chapoutier, (who has also invested in the region) is on record saying:

“Languedoc-Roussillon will be viewed at the level of Bordeaux and the Rhône in 20 years’ time”.

Seely explained the rationale behind the tasting:

“This is something we like to do from time to time to see where we are in relation to others, and to get a good feeling of what is going on in the region. This was a particularly extensive tasting, as it is now nearly ten years since we have been at Belles-Eaux”.

Map: Hérault River – Aniane to Pezenas

Standout Wines 

While La Pèira’s Matissat is not widely available, standout wines from this tasting included wines such as Grande Cuvée Domaine de l’Hortus (Pic St Loup) 2009, Clos du Serres’ La Blaca 2009, Clos de la Simonette 2009 from Mas Champart (St Chinian), Chant des Cigales Ch la Liquière 2009 (St Chinian), Carline Ch de Cazeneuve 2010 (Pic St Loup), La Pèira 2009, La Grange des Pères 2007,  and, of course, the Ste Hélène Mas Belles Eaux 2010.

Christian Seely sums up on his blog:

“I was very encouraged by how well our wines showed at the big tasting, which was done blind, but also thrilled by how many great wines are being made in the Languedoc now.”

Hérault River and a few of her Domaines 

Lastly, in much the same way the Gironde is useful in understanding Bordeaux, or the Rhône river its eponymous growing region, a useful fixed point in exploring this wine region is the Hérault river.

For it’s the Hérault river on whose banks to the right or the left (in this picture on the right) can be found, not only La Pèira – or for that matter Belles-Eaux (both marked) , but such names as Grange des Peres, Daumas Gassac, Peyre Rose, La Negly‘s Clos des Truffiers, or the Prieuré de Saint Jean de Bébian, to mention but a few.

The image to the right shows how (with a kayak and some hiking boots) you could make – not just the trip between the two – but visit many of the top estates of the region in the process.

(click to the right>)