La Peira: one of a select list of estates in France to receive a ✪✪✪✪✪ rating in 10th edition Wine Behind the Label Guide
La Pèira is one of a select list of estates in France to receive a ✪✪✪✪✪ (super 5 stars, restricted to the true classics, out-and-out world class) rating in the 10th edition of the Wine Behind the Label worldwide guide.
It is the only estate in the Languedoc to receive this rating. One of three in the entire South of France. By contrast, for example, there were over twenty estates in both Bordeaux and the northern and southern Rhone, and six estates in Champagne (see below).
About The Wine Behind the Label Guide
‘For me, by far the best of the wine guides’
Steven Spurrier, Decanter Magazine
‘I’m a fan.’
‘If you are passionate about your wine and pay serious attention to sampling the world’s finest bottles then this book should be on your shelf… I would strongly recommend this excellent guide’
Dr. Edward Fitzgerald, Oxford University Wine Society
Louis Roederer Award for Annual Wine Guide, André Simon Award, Glenfiddich Award Best Wine Book
★ a wine of good quality, not just sound but of good fruit and with some character.
★★ a wine with more depth, interest and concentration, usually with some aging potential
★★★ a very good, even fine, wine. In the case of many reds repaying lengthy cellaring.
★★★★ a wine of very high quality, among the very best even in a top appellation or region.
★★★★★ outstanding quality, potentially a classic.
✪✪✪✪✪ super 5 stars, restricted to the true classics, out-and-out world-class.
✩ white stars are used to show a superior wine at a given rating
We have rated as many of a producer’s wines as possible, but in some instances, the wines are too new or too scarce to have yet received a rating. Such wines are covered in the text only.
Southern France ✪✪✪✪✪ (Inc. Provence, South-west France)
La Pèira (Terrasses du Larzac) Hameau de Sainte-Brigitte, 34750 Map Link
Clos des Fées (Petite Sibérie) 69 Maréchal-Joffre, 66600 Vingrau Map Link
Domaine Gauby (Muntada) La Faradjal, 66600 Calce Map Link
Chateau Climens Barsac – 33720 Barsac Map Link
Chateau Cos d’Estournel 33180 Saint-Estephe Map Link
Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou 33250 Saint-Julien-Beychevelle Map Link
Chateau Haut-Brion Domaine Clarence Dillon 33608 Pessac Cedex Map Link
Chateau Lafite-Rothschild 33250 Pauillac Map Link
Chateau Latour Saint-Lambert, 33250 Pauillac Map Link
Chateau Leoville-las-Cases 33250 Saint-Julien-Beychevelle Map Link
Chateau Margaux 33460 Margaux Map Link
Chateau la Mission Haut-Brion 33608 Pessac Map Link
Chateau Mouton-Rothschild 33250 Pauillac Map Link
Chateau Palmer Cantenac, 33460 Margaux Map Link
Chateau Pichon-Longueville 33250 Pauillac Map Link
Chateau Rieussec (Sauternes) 33210 Fargues-de-Langon Map Link
Chateau d’Yquem (Sauternes) 33210 Sauternes Map Link
Chateau Angelus 33330 Saint-Emilion Map Link
Chateau Ausone 33330 Saint-Emilion Map Link
Chateau Cheval Blanc 33330 Saint-Emilion Map Link
Chateau L’Eglise-Clinet 33500 Pomerol Map Link
Chateau Lafleur (Pomerol) 33240 Mouillac Map Link
La Mondotte 33330 Saint-Emilion Map Link
Chateau Petrus 1 Rue Petrus-Arnaud, 33500 Pomerol Map Link
Chateau Le Pin Les Grands Champs, 33500 Pomerol Map Link
Billecart-Salmon (Nicolas-François Billecart) 51160 Mareuil-sur-Aÿ Map Link
Bollinger (Bollinger RD) 16 Rue Jules-Lobet, BP4, 51160 Aÿ Map Link
Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millénaires Vintage 51100 Reims Map Link
Krug (Clos du Mesnil Vintage) 5 Rue Coquebert, 51100 Reims Map Link
Moët et Chandon Dom Pérignon 51220 Épernay Map Link
Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill Vintage 51206 Epernay Map Link
Champagne Louis Roederer Cristal Vintage/Vintage rose 51100 Reims Map Link
Rhone (North and South) ✪✪✪✪✪
M. Chapoutier (Hermitage) Various 26600 Tain-l’Hermitage Map Link
Guigal (La Turque, La Landonne, La Mouline) 69420 Ampuis Map Link
Jean-Louis Chave (Hermitage Cuvée Cathelin, Blanc) 07300 Mauves Map Link
Auguste Clape (Cornas) RN 146, 07130 Cornas Map Link
Yves Cuilleron (Condrieu Les Ayguets) Verlieu, 42140 Chavanay Map Link
Delas Frères (Hermitage Les Bessards) 07300 Saint-Jean-de-Muzols Map Link
Pierre Gaillard Condrieu Fleur d’Automne) Chez Favier, 42520 Malleval Map Link
Paul Jaboulet-Aine (Hermitage La Chapelle) 26600 Tain-l’Hermitage Map Link
Domaine Michel Ogier ( Côte-Rôtie Belle Hélène) 69420 Ampuis Map Link
Rene Rostaing (Côte-Rôtie Côte Blonde) 69420 Ampuis Map Link
François Villard (Quintessence) 42410 Saint-Michel-sur-Rhône Map Link
Henri Bonneau (Réserve des Célestins) 84230 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Map Link
Chateau de Beaucastel (Hommage à Jacques Perrin, Vieilles Vignes Blanc) 84350 Courthezon Map Link
Chateau Rayas Châteauneuf-du-Pape 84230 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Map Link
Clos du Caillou Châteauneuf-du-Pape Réserve 84350 Courthezon Map Link
Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape 84231 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Map Link
Clos Saint Jean (Deus ex-Machina) 84231Châteauneuf-du-Pape Map Link
Domaine de La Janasse (Vieilles Vignes) 84350 Courthezon Map Link
Les Cailloux (Cuvée Centenaire) 84230 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Map Link
Domaine de Marcoux (Vieilles Vignes) 84100 Orange Map Link
Domaine du Pegaü (Cuvée da Capo) 84230 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Map Link
Domaine de La Vieille-Julienne (Vieilles Vignes) 84100 Orange Map Link
Domaine de Vieux-Télégraphe 84370 Bedarrides Map Link
La Pèira Full Entry in the Wine Behind the Label Guide
❁ La Pèira (Terrasses du Larzac) www.la-peira.com Rob Dougan & Karine Ahton Hameau de Sainte-Brigitte, 34750 Tel: 09 70 46 74 68
This is a significant new name, founded in 2004, for really top quality Languedoc reds. The domaine vineyards are located in the Terrasses du Larzac sub-region and are planted on gravely, limestone free-draining soils at the foot of the Larzac plateau. The approach to viticulture and vinification respectively is rigorous control of yields and non-intervention. As well as the magnificent La Pèira Terrasses du Larzac, the domaine also produces two other reds; Las Flors de la Pèira, a richly textured blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cinsault aged in small oak with concentrated black fruit character. There is also a cheaper red Les Obriers de la Pèira which comes from a combination of old Cinsault and Carignan. It is a more approachable style, aged in a combination of used demi-muids France 657 Languedoc and foudres. There are now two whites; Deusyls de la Pèira comes from Viognier, Roussanne and Marsanne with vines ranging from 10 to over 50 years of age. It is aged for up to two years in oak on lees. This has now been joined by a La Pèira Blanc. This is a brilliant stylish, elegant and intense white, combining mainly Roussanne and Viognier with Marsanne, Grenache Blanc and Clairette.. Vinification is in 300 litre French oak. The crowning glory though is the top red which is also one of the most expensive from the Midi, La Pèira. Perhaps it’s no surprise that MAS DE DAUMAS GASSAC and GRANGES DES PÈRES are nearby. This is an immensely rich and extracted red but with a fine balance as well. The wine is fermented at medium/high temperature 28-30º C and is macerated on skins for anything from six to eight weeks. Individual plots are separately vinified and additional extraction is kept to a minimum with limited pigéage. As you would expect the wine is bottled unfiltered and unfined. (DM)
La Pèira Terrasses du Larzac ✪✪✪✪✪ £G
Las Flors de la Pèira Terrasses du Larzac ★★★★ £E
Obriers de la Pèira Terrasses du Larzac ★★★★ £E
La Pèira blanc ★★★★★ £F
IGP de L’Herault Deusylys ★★★★ £F
Purchase La Pèira library vintages, large formats, rare vintages, and En Primeur offers here:
LE VIGNOBLE DE LA PÈIRA LE PARCELLAIRE ET LES CÉPAGES
To mark the 10th vintage of the current team at La Pèira we commissioned British designer, Simon Mercer, to create a limited edition print mapping the various / (with the cepages planted) where the wines are grown. La Pèira is grown on the Bois de Pauliau, Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvèdre from Belle Fiolle (Bellefeuille) comprise Las Flors, the estate’s second wine, Carignan and Cinsault from Belle Fiolle and Les Pointes make up the Obriers cuvee.
The Vineyards of La Pèira – The Land and Cepages By Simon Mercer
The limited edition print of 500 is printed on French fine art paper, with each print stamped and numbered. It can be purchased at the Especiariá Store here: Limited Edition Map Print | Le Vignoble de La Pèira – Le Parcellaire et les Cépages This is not the first time we’ve done this. Abigail Daker’s print Le Grand Cru du Sud de la France / Southern France’s First Growth issued at the beginning of 2015 can be seen here.
La Peira 2013 Vintage: “In contrast to elsewhere in France, 2013 was a superb vintage in Languedoc-Roussillon”
La Pèira Vintage 2013
“In contrast to elsewhere in France, 2013 was a superb vintage in Languedoc-Roussillon”
Decanter Magazine on the 2013 Vintage.
PDF of the Vintage (with Wine Reviews) here.
Cliquez ici pour le site français: La Pèira journal
If in Bordeaux, 2013 was one of the hardest vintages for 30 years; in Burgundy, the second growing season from hell in a row; and in the Rhône a tricky vintage as well – in our region the vintage has been reported to be as good as the best vintages of the 80s and the 90s, and a super year for Syrah. “Certainly the best vintage since 2001”, one grower opined, summarising the consensus view.
Jeb Dunnuck, of the Wine Advocate, concurred with growers and other observers in his 2014 overview of the vintage, stating:
“While the vast majority of France struggled in 2013 with cooler, rainy conditions, the perennial sunny Languedoc and Roussillon are on track to have a good, possibly exceptional vintage. A late harvest across the region, Jérémie Depierre of La Pèira calls the vintage “great” but atypical, and goes on to say that it “combines that delicacy and youthful feeling of finesse of the 2012 – but with more the frame and body of 2011 – or even a hint of the 2010.” Claude Fonquerle of L’Oustal Blanc also says that the vintage is atypical, but comments on the silkiness and high quality of the tannin. Anne Gros of Domaine Anne Gros calls the vintage great, going on to say that there was “late maturity with excellent acidity and moderate degrees (of alcohol).” She elaborates that the vintage is “one of precision, a touch of austerity, and in the future, great concentration? a great vintage … to keep!” (The Languedoc and Roussillon: 2011, 2012 and 2013 May 1, 2014).
The vintage in précis:
• A cold, wet spring
• A late Flowering in first & second week of June, several weeks behind schedule
• Moderate temperatures during the growing season and a cool summer
• A warm “Indian summer” at the end encouraged ripeness
• Glorious sunshine and warmth over the late-season of September and October at La Pèira allowed the harvesting of ripe grapes without the threat of rain, or rot
And the result?
• Aromatic similarities to the cooler, more blue fruit and mineral-driven 2012s
• Fresh, lively and focused wines. But at La Pèira with a concentration, purity of fruit, with ample tannin.
• 2013 is perhaps a contrast to the recent richer vintages like 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010
• Bright acidities, yet with depth on the mid-palate and concentration
La Pèira 2013 – Terrasses Du Larzac
It was also a special vintage at La Pèira, as it was the penultimate vinified by Jérémie Depierre (2014 the last), and the first where we bottled a certain cuvée that we’ve spent 10 years preparing for (growing, planting, tresising, planning): the La Pèira blanc 2013.
La Pèira Blanc
Since the first vintage we’ve made the white, Deusyls (the white equivalent of the domaine’s second wine, Las Flors.)
From the beginning it was received well:
“This is one of the best white wines I have tasted from the Midi. It has texture, warmth and viscosity, a nose that evokes fennel, spring flowers, lemon, crushed chalk and a hint of tobacco” said Simon Field of its first vintage, the 2005.
10 years later, in 2015, we’ve finally got to the point where, with a lot of work and preparation we’re confident enough to bottle the La Pèira white. We’ve worked with the white varieties now for a decade; a decade of really intensive vineyard work and farming. Over that period we’ve planted more white varieties, starting off with Viognier and the Roussanne, and then we added Marsanne and Clairette Blanche and also Grenache blanc. There’s been a huge amount of work that’s happened on the white side – and also the red side in the same vein – at La Pèira in the last ten years. All of which is just now finding its way into the cuvées. We have continually improved our viticulture, the trellising and working of the vines with an ambitious white development programme, and the planting of additional red grape varieties and plots.
On the red front, we’ve had the planting Syrah in Bois de Pauliau in 2009 & 2012 – which is now just coming into its own, and new Grenache on the Pauliau plot in 2012, (both of which will hopefully enter the La Pèira cuvee at some point) along with the acquiring very exciting old plots of Carignan and Cinsault that we’ve have nursed and worked with over the last years. So really the white has now come on leaps and bounds. We’re also now in a position to look back and taste the 2005 and see how is that white – the Deusyls de la Pèira – is tasting after ten years. We intend to make the La Pèira blanc in the same spirit as the La Pèira red. (Where there the La Pèira white is the first wine and the Deusyls is the second white.) The new plantings and all the vineyard work has finally given us the confidence to make a La Pèira Blanc. And exciting possibilities in the years ahead on the red front.
Robert Dougan July, 2015
La Pèira 2013
“ Moving to their top cuvee, the 2013 Terrasses du Larzac La Pèira shows the purity and freshness of the vintage. Tasted out of barrel and a blend of mostly Syrah, with one-third Grenache, it exhibits impressive raspberry, cassis, violets (and assorted floral nuances), exotic spices and licorice to go with a medium to full-bodied, vibrant and decidedly elegant and fresh profile on the palate. As with the other 2013 barrel samples, I expect this to continue to gain weight and richness in barrel. Given the overall purity and balance, I imagine it will be reasonably approachable on release, yet benefit from short-term cellaring.” Wine Advocate 95–97/100
Las Flors De La Pèira 2013
“ The 2013 Terrasses du Larzac Las Flors de La Pèira checks in as a blend of 50% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 10–15% Mourvedre and the balance Cinsault and Carignan. Aged 18 months in a combination of small and larger barrels, 15–20% being new, it is a pretty, perfumed and elegant rendition of the cuvee that exhibits plenty of strawberry, raspberry, lilac and exotic spices to go with a medium-bodied, energetic feel on the palate. Juicy and decidedly fresh, it should continue to gain weight in barrel and flesh out once bottled.” Wine Advocate 91–94/100
Obriers De La Pèira 2014
“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).”
“ Gorgeous blueberry, blackberry and raspberry notes jump from the glass of this elegant, pure, medium-bodied wine that has exceptional fragrance at this price point, excellent concentration and nice texture and overall equilibrium. This is a beauty that’s quite Burgundian in style and very pure. Drink it over the next 2–3 years.”
Wine Advocate, 90/100
Inaugural Release of the La Pèira Blanc
La Pèira Blanc
We’re excited to announce the release of the La Pèira blanc 2013. This is the first release of this cuvée, and there’s only 500 bottles, so we may follow this up with the release of the La Pèira blanc 2014.
As mentioned, we’ve bottled a second white, the Deusyls de la Pèira, since 2005, and from the first, the critical response was exceptional:
• “This is one of the best white wines I have tasted from the Midi.” Simon Field MW BBR & The World of Fine Wine –
• “Like a lovely Northern Rhône white. Really exciting and good.” Jancis Robinson on the same 2005 Deusyls vintage
• “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.” David Schildknecht Wine Advocate & The World of Fine Wine.
Since then, we’ve learnt more about the background of the white varieties at La Pèira, 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’ve planted Clairette, alongside Marsanne, Roussanne in 2009, and further Roussanne and Grenache blanc in 2013.
The La Pèira blanc cuvee 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 plantings are coming on board. And this, alongside the vineyard work, and the encouraging tastings of the Deusyls 2005 and other vintages over the last 10 years has led to the development of the La Pèira blanc (albeit in limited availability).
Audrey is from Strasbourg, Alsace. After studying science, she changed course to study as an agronomic engineer at the University of Bordeaux, then joined the research lab of Denis Dubourdieu, Professor of Oenology at the University of Bordeaux (working with Château Doisy Daëne, Clos Floridène, and consultant at Château Cheval Blanc) also working at the associated oenological lab.
Audrey takes up the baton from Jeremie Depierre, whose time at La Pèira, over 10 years, ending with the 2014 vintage was one of extraordinary achievement. (See own piece first published March 11, 2009. For more details click here.)
Gaining some international experience working in Franschhoek, in the Stellenbosch region, she returned to France finally becoming Directrice technique at Château de Sérame a 500 hectare property located near the Canal du Midi and owned by the Dourthe / CBGB Grand Crus groupe. There she was responsible for the winemaking, and vine growing, converting the entire 175 hectares of vineyard to organic farming. For the last 7 years, she’s worked with Oenologist Claude Gros who has worked with us at La Pèira from the start.
La Peira Offer En Primeur 2013 Finishes
At the end of last year, the ‘Who’s Who in France’ by Meininger’s Wine Business International, after citing names such as Bize Leroy, Aubert de Villaine, & the Guigal Family (along with Dubourdieu, Rolland, and Derenoncourt) made the following observation:
“Finally, a tip for forward looking wine buyers. There is speculation that investing, for both pleasure and profit, in Languedoc Roussillon rather than Bordeaux might be the way to go. Names cited as worth watching include Isabelle and Mathieu Champart at Mas Champart, Jérémie Depierre and consultant oenologist Claude Gros at La Pèira, Olivier Jullien at Mas Jullien and Claude and Isabel Fonquerle at L’Oustal Blanc.”
Uniquely in France, 2013 was an exceptional vintage in this region.
And for the very first time, this year, we made an En Primeur offer for the 2013/2014 vintage (now closed).
We offered a ‘bespoke’ option, and had impressive requests for everything from a Magnum to Salmanazars…
And also a default option where a half case or full case of one or several wines could be selected.
For those who didn’t take advantage of this, do drop us a line regarding next year, and do search out these wonderful wines (notes follow) now they’ve been released.
2013 La Pèira
“Moving to their top cuvee, the 2013 Terrasses du Larzac La Pèira shows the purity and freshness of the vintage. Tasted out of barrel and a blend of mostly Syrah, with one-third Grenache, it exhibits impressive raspberry, cassis, violets (and assorted floral nuances), exotic spices and licorice to go with a medium to full-bodied, vibrant and decidedly elegant and fresh profile on the palate. As with the other 2013 barrel samples, I expect this to continue to gain weight and richness in barrel. Given the overall purity and balance, I imagine it will be reasonably approachable on release, yet benefit from short-term cellaring.” 95–97/100 Wine Advocate
2013 Las Flors de la Pèira
“The 2013 Terrasses du Larzac Las Flors de La Pèira checks in as a blend of 50% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 10-15% Mourvedre and the balance Cinsault and Carignan. Aged 18 months in a combination of small and larger barrels, 15-20% being new, it is a pretty, perfumed and elegant rendition of the cuvee that exhibits plenty of strawberry, raspberry, lilac and exotic spices to go with a medium-bodied, energetic feel on the palate. Juicy and decidedly fresh, it should continue to gain weight in barrel and flesh out once bottled.” 91-94/100 Wine Advocate
Obriers de la Pèira 2014 Unreviewed as yet
“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).” Jancis Robinson on the Obriers cuvee *
All previous vintages of the Obriers since 2005 have been rated 90/100 or over
Wine Advocate on the Obriers Cuvee
(* See: Article: La Pèira vertical and other [Languedoc treasures] http://www.jancisrobinson.com/articles/la-peira-vertical-and-other-languedoc-treasures _
To the beautiful city of Antwerp and the wonderful portside restaurant, Het Pomphuis, for a La Pèira dinner with Young Charly.
2012 was an interesting and perhaps atypical vintage at La Pèira. Jancis Robinson spoke some its qualities in her review below of the 2012, pinpointing, “lots of sinewy appeal”, “Cool and fresh”. Jeb Dunnuck of the Wine Advocate spoke of “medium to full-bodied wines”, “Pure, focused and nicely concentrated”. This vintage is matched with the 2013 bottlings of the Obriers de la Pèira, the domaine’s third wine, and the white, Deusyls de La Pèira. Both in the wonderfully exuberant primary phase at the moment.
Information about the vintages and La Pèira are set out (alongside some lovely images of the domaine) in the following brochures in English ( La Peira: Vintages 2012-2013 ) and French ( La Peira: Notre Millesime 2012-2013 ).
La Pèira 2012
The 2012 Terrasses du Larzac La Pèira is similar in style, with lively and fresh cassis, black raspberry, graphite, licorice and cedar notes flowing to a medium to full-bodied, profile on the palate. Pure, focused and nicely concentrated, enjoy it over the coming 10–12 years. Wine Advocate 94–96/100
Mid ruby. Very different from the previous vintages – and I suspect not just because it is younger. Broader and more floral and transparent somehow. A real joker with none of the intensity of the previous vintages but with lots of sinewy appeal. Cool and fresh and with lots of freshness. To be drunk sooner than some? Jancis Robinson 17/20
Las Flors de la Pèira 2012
In the same mould, with an overall elegant, seamless feel, the 2012 Terrasses du Larzac Las Flors de La Pèira gives up ample blackberry, pepper, crushed flowers, resinous herbs and hints of licorice in it’s medium-bodied, nicely textured and balanced personality. It should drink well on release and evolve gracefully through 2022. Wine Advocate 90–93/10
Obriers de la Pèira 2013
Moving to their entry level, Cinsault-based release, the 2013 Terrasses du Larzac Les Obriers de la Pèira (65% Cinsault and 35% Carignan aged half in oak tanks and half in 600-liter barrels) is perfumed and complex, with plenty of sweet kirsch, exotic pepper, spices and leatherstyled aromas and flavors. Medium-bodied, lightly textured and elegant, with a seamless profile, it should easily be an outstanding example of this cuvee and drink nicely for 5–8 years. Wine Advocate 90–92/100
Deusyls de La Pèira 2013
The 2013 Deusyls de La Pèira Blanc, which was tasted out of barrel, is a blend of 55% Roussanne, 40% Viognier and 5% Marsanne that’s aging all in smaller barrels. Offering up gorgeous apple, citrus blossom and ample minerality in its medium-bodied, fresh and pure profile, it has both freshness and richness, with beautiful length. Enjoy it over the coming 3–5 years. Wine Advocate 92–94/100
Especiariá de La Pèira: Online store
After some time, we’re delighted to announce the launch of our Especiariá de La Pèira (our online store purely for the sale of unavailable vintages & large format bottling, as well as en premier offers).
Especiariá – an Occitan word – finds its match in French with the word: épicerie.
For some time we’ve had a small store in French only, supplied from our home in Southern France, for delivery in France only. It is here. That’s where this first came about.
Now for the first time we’ve extended this into English, and with a wider delivery range.
Current vintages of the wines of La Pèira cannot be acquired there (see here for stockists)
Abigail Daker Limited Edition Print
Excited to be able to offer a few old hidden treasures from the cellars at La Pèira, we commissioned the British fine artist, Abigail Daker, to create a limited edition print to mark the opening of our Especiariá.
Abgail took a view of the Lieu-dit that produces the La Pèira cuvée (the Bois de Pauliau) and combined it with some kind words of Andrew McMurray (Vice President of Zachys Wine Merchants) on La Pèira, creating a striking Limited Edition print.
Inspired in part by the vintage iconic Southern France advertising prints – those of Pernod and Railway & Travel graphic works spring to mind – the print is released in an edition of 400.
More about a launch voucher marking the same below – but, before that, here it is the print:
It can be seen here at the Especiariá Store:
As we’ve just launched – and while everything functions smoothly – just in case there any small issues that need to be ironed out, we’re offering a voucher (with a discount of 10%) over the period until the end of the End of January.
The voucher code is: LaPeiraBetaLaunch
The domaine can be contacted (below) and with a similar form on each page on the Especiariá site. This form can also be used for any questions or queries.
Again the address is here: Especiariá de La Pèira . Feel free to peruse and let us know regarding an comments, requests, or complaints.
“Below most significantly is an account of all vintages ever made of the grand vin of one of the Languedoc’s most ambitious estates, La Pèira en Damaisèla”
reports Jancis Robinson MW in her article on her November La Peira vertical tasting of the vintages 2005-2012.
November can be grim. “No sun – no moon! No morn – no noon – No dawn – no dusk – no proper time of day”, the poet Thomas Hood wrote of the month. But for its many imperfections, it’s surely the perfect month of the year to pair with red wine. You hear no no’s in November when the subject of a glass of red wine is raised. After November, merriness turns to indulgence, indulgence to indolence, indolence to reflection, and reflection to thoughts of self improvement, and with that the New Year has begun.
So it was that early in the New Year, Jancis Robinson MW published her November vertical tasting notes of the wine of La Pèira – vintages 2005-2013.
This was not the first vertical tasting of the La Pèira wines. No, the very first took place at royal warrant-holding wine merchants Berry Bros & Rudd London’s St James’ cellars on a June evening in 2011.
There, after an aperitif (Champagne Pierre Péters) several flights of older vintages of the wines of La Pèira were looked at by a small but appreciative audience lead by Simon Field MW.
The second occurred after strong spring rains in Southern France in 2013 with wine writer Andrew Jefford and was written-up for Decanter Magazine and Gourmet Traveller Wine. Gathered around a wooden table in the center of the chai at La Pèira, Mr Jefford marveled at the soil’s capacity to absorb the vast amounts of water these exceptional spring rains had visited upon them.
Anyway, fortunately for us – be it a valiant defiance of the November gloom, or a popular appreciation of the region – Jancis Robinson’s tasting article takes an in-depth look at the history, geology, and background of the La Pèira estate.
The article begins with an interested fact. Apparently, a recent survey of what articles are deemed most popular on her site reveal her readers have a particularly interested the wines of the Languedoc. As she relates, “I’m thrilled by this as I sincerely believe that the best wines of the Languedoc represent some of France’s best value: great handcrafted, terroir-influenced wine”.
On the La Pèira wines:
“These wines really are very good as they should be since they cost around £70 a bottle from their principal UK retailer Berry Bros although admittedly only about 300 cases are made each year. They also make about 500 cases of a second wine, the red Rhône blend Las Flors de la Pèira (about £30 a bottle), and a white blend Deusyls de la Pèira at the same price. And as though this were not enough, there is a varietal Mourvèdre called Matissat, about which I wrote last year in La Pèira’s varietal Mourvèdre.”
La Pèira Location and Quarternary Allvium in the Hérault
In a region where excellent wines are made from a blend of different grape varieties grown significant distances from each other on differing sites with various aspects and soils, La Pèira cuvée is unusual. Why? All the grapes are on grown on plots meters away from each other (on the Bois de Pauliau) and vinified meters away again. As Jancis reports:
“The grand vin is generally made up of about 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache grown, unusually for the region, side by side on the same soils, deep gravelly quaternary alluvium. Co-owner Rob Dougan describes these deposits as ‘set down here over the same period, and in the same way as those in the Médoc, Graves, St-Émilion or Pomerol but just on a different side of the Massif Central. Instead of the Gironde you have the Hérault river…”
The full article is here, and an excerpt follows:
La Pèira vertical and other Languedoc treasures
An analysis of which of our many articles is most popular reveals that you seem particularly interested in the Languedoc. I’m thrilled by this as I sincerely believe that the best wines of the Languedoc represent some of France’s best value: great hand-crafted, terroir-influenced wine, generally without the price tags associated with the most famous (I nearly wrote ‘best’) wines of Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Rhône.
Mid ruby. Very different from the previous vintages – and I suspect not just because it is younger. Broader and more floral and transparent somehow. A real joker with none of the intensity of the previous vintages but with lots of sinewy appeal. Cool and fresh and with lots of freshness. To be drunk sooner than some? 14.5% Drink 2016-2022 17
Crimson and not that dense. Mid crimson. Treacle notes with herbs and spices. Dry finish. Still neat and racy. Transparent. Lively. Overall there is the trademark combination of minerals and sweetness. Sweetness dominates at the moment. Then a bit chewy on the end. 14.5% Drink 2017-2030 17
Very dark indeed. Complex, well-balanced nose. Still very youthful but with most impressive raw ingredients. Lots of both tannin and acidity. Young but hugely promising. Not too hot but very nuanced with a dry, terroir-driven finish. Neat, reminds me of a particularly good Douro red table wine. 14.5% Drink 2017-2030 18
A warm year. Pruney colour. Scented and charming. More obviously sweet and pruney than the earlier vintages. Not as refreshing as some. A bit drying on the end. Very sweet overall. A dramatic wine but less my style than some others. Quite chunky tannins. Heat on the finish. 14.5% Drink 2017-2025 17
A cool year. Dark brownish crimson. Scented and expressive. Quite marked acidity but lovely texture and fluidity. Still with tannins lightly in evidence on the finish. Dry, as opposed to sweet, overall. Lots of minerals and interest here – all nicely showcased. 14.5% Drink 2015-2023 17
Dark purplish crimson. Particularly intense nose – so intense that it needs a great deal of coaxing out of the glass. Very intense, almost mentholated nose. Still introvert. Masses of tannin and fruit density but at the moment not much expression. Thick and embryonic with a bit of heat on the finish. 14.5% Drink 2015-2025 17+
Healthy crimson. A cooler year maybe but a much more refined wine than the very slightly rustic 2005. Polished with a wonderfully sumptuous texture and delightful freshness on the finish after a richly dark-fruited start. There’s something black about this wine: tar? liquorice? But overall it has great presence on the palate. Neat finish. 14.5% Drink 2010-2022 17.5
La Pèira 2005 Terrasses du Larzac
Hot year. Very concentrated ruby right out to the rim. Warm and savoury on the nose. Really dense and satisfying, even if far from subtle. Quite a charge of tannins still – quite 2005 (as in Bordeaux)! Sweet and with a lightly burnt note. A wine to make an impact, and one that does slightly remind me of Trevallon. Sweet blackberry fruit on the finish and a certain graininess. As though the grape skins were pretty thick. 14.5% Drink 2010-2020 16.5
MAS DE DAUMAS GASSAC
Viognier, Chardonnay, an unspecified Manseng and Chenin Blanc. Honeyed Viognier elbows its way to the front on the nose but there is admirable tang (thanks to the Manseng?) and acidity (Chenin?). Complex and saved from being fat. Already fun to drink but it tastes as though it will become more interesting. Still a bit tense on the finish. 13.5 Drink 2013-2017 16.5
80% Cabernet Sauvignon. Still very youthful nose (to be fair, the back label suggests three to five years old for drinking young but up to 25 years for drinking it ‘en majesté‘. Dark crimson with more than a suggestion of warm earth underlying the Cabernet structure. Interesting wine with real depth but no excess of sweetness nor alcohol. Halfway between claret and La Pèira? It would be a waste to drink something so embryonic now but it certainly seems to have potential. Just a bit inky on the finish at the moment. 13.5% Drink 2016-2028 16.5+
I had to guess at the alcohol since there was a mark over the relevant figure on the label. 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest is a big mix. Pale evolved ruby. Tasted immediately after two rather smart 2000 St-Emilions, this by no means disgraced itself and arguably had more complexity and grunt. Lovely sweetness on the finish but really appetising savoury fruit beforehand. Good freshness too. Some floral notes on the nose and a little dusty soil taste on the palate. Good wine! 13% Drink 2009-2013 18
Bravo et Bonne Chance
Jérémie Depierre at La Pèira: Millesimes/Vintages 2005–2014
It is due to Jérémie’s hard work (often in impossible circumstances) and diligent efforts that La Pèira has been such a success since the beginning.
Now, after 10 vintages, and almost a decade at La Pèira, Jérémie is making a well-deserved departure for a new job at a beautifully-situated domaine near the village of Roussillon in Provence.
While this year sees his last vintage at La Pèira (2014) – due for release in 2016 – we hope to have Jérémie as a long-standing presence at La Pèira verticals for many years to come.
The domaine’s debt to him is immense. And it is with great thanks – and much anticipation – that we look forward to what comes next.
A good account of Jérémie’s time at La Pèira can be read here, and is worth reading, if only perhaps as it conveys how brilliant work was done in trying circumstances.
We’re certainly of the view that magnificent work was done by M. Jérémie Depierre at La Pèira over Millesimes/Vintages 2005–2014. So Bravo et Bonne Chance with all the exciting challenges the future brings.
Terrasses du Larzac: France’s Oldest Viticultural Region Southern France’s Newest Appellation
It’s been reported in Decanter Magazine, by the Wine Spectator, and around the world from Sweden to Hong Kong.
The Terrasses du Larzac has been approved by the French authorities as a stand-alone appellation. (The name reflects the region’s northerly position inland in the piedmont of the high Larzac plateau, Southern France.)
As the famous French wine critics, Bettane et Desseauve awarded it ‘French Appellation of the Year’ in 2011, the Mondavi family famously battled for a slice of it, and Andrew Jefford described it in 2009 in the pages of the Financial Times as, “some of the greatest vineyard land in the south of France” you’d be forgiven for thinking it already was an appellation.
But for much this time it was a sub-appellation, as part of the (now retired) Coteaux du Languedoc.
As from time to time there are new appellations decreed in France this is not news.
But that Southern France’s newest AOC sits in France’s oldest-known viticultural region – and the birth place of France wine – probably is.
“The first extensive vineyards in France we can be certain about”
As Hugh Johnson (the world’s best-selling wine writer) writes of this area in his authoritative, The Story of Wine:
“These are the first extensive vineyards in France we can be certain about”.
More has come to light since his history was published in 1989 (with a new edition in 2004) but further on that later.
The announcement means La Peira’s commune of Saint-André-de-Sangonis is now part of two stand-alone AOC’s.
The first, held for over half a century, is for the white Clairette du Languedoc AOC decreed in 1948.
The second now is for the production of red wine as Terrasses du Larzac.
(On a side note, it’s often overlooked just how recent wine appellations are in France. The first came about in 1936. In fact much to do French wine is comparatively recent. The first estate to bottle its own wine was in 1924 [Mouton Rothschild]. By contrast this is something Coca-Cola has manage since 1886.)
With regard to the history of appellations in France, two villages of the Terrasses du Larzac AOC (Pégairolles-de-l’Escalette and Octon) overlaps with that of Roquefort, France’s oldest and the world’s first appellation (1925). Here the grazing of Lacaune, Manech, and Basco-Béarnaise for the production of Roquefort occurs alongside the growing of Grenache, Syrah, and Mouvedre for Terrasses du Larzac wine.
Nearby: the Discovery of the Oldest Winery in France
Nearby La Peira, in 2007 – and still in the Clairette AOC mentioned above – France’s earliest know winery was discovered. [link: Decanter France’s earliest winery found 2 Jul 2007 – see also The oldest winery in France & La villa de Quintus Iulius Primus ]
Founded in 10 AD by Quintus Iulius Primus, it is established near ancient Roman road that ran along the Hérault river , and linked the Via Domitia at Cessero (today’s St. Thibéry) to Luteva (Lodève) and Segodunum (Rodez)
This (as mentioned above) is part of a series of discoveries made since the last publication of Johnston’s book.
As can be seen the image (lower left hand corner) below from a report in 2009 by Stéphane Mauné (Director of research at CNRS) the Roman road that ran from Cessero (St Thibéry) to Segodunum (Rodez) through the Hérault valley and along the Hérault river, features a concentration of early wine growing (and other) settlements.
This make sense as the Cessero/Segodunum road not only runs along a source of fresh water (the Hérault river), but linked also to the great commercial road of the Via Domitia which linked the vineyards to the great wine town of Beziers (then Baeterrae).
First mention of French wine in literature as being of significant merit
And so it may come no surprise to find that the very first mention of French wine in literature as being of significant merit is found in Pliny’s Natural History (AD 77–79) in which the white wines sold at Baeterrae / Beziers nearby are cited as worthy of note (alongside the resinous reds of Vienne):
“When ye are passed once into Fraunce or Gaule, the wine of Beterræ is in chiefe request.”
[CHAP. VI. Pliny’s Natural History: Of kindly wines made of the best Grapes. Trans. PHILEMON HOLLAND 1601]
So perhaps the real news is that this area of the oldest wine region in France, where wine growing began for that country over 2000 years ago, has finally a stand-alone connection to the appellation system of France, yet to celebrate its first century.
As Andrew Jefford wrote of the estate in 2008:
“Languedoc varieties like those used in La Pèira seem to me to be what the stones long for, and it is with them that wine from these old Roman roads can best rival wonderful but overadulated Bordeaux”
Let’s hope they all – stones, wines, roads, and vines – continue to flourish for some time yet.