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The wines of Château Coupe-Roses, Minervois

34210 La Caunette, France
Tel: 0033 4 68 91 21 95 Fax: 0033 4 68 91 11 73

The Minervois is one of the many regions in the Languedoc that is currently undergoing somewhat of a revival. Estates such as Borie du Maurel are establishing quite a reputation for lush, herby, sometimes sexy reds. Another of the emerging quality-minded producers is Château Coupe-Roses, and I was pleased to catch up with this producer at a recent trade fair. Apparently, despite the high reputation of the celebrated 1998 vintage in the South of France, 1999 was even better in the Minervois, with more homogeneous grapes producing wines in a more open style. I was impressed by the three reds, but I'd tip the less expensive Les Plots as the one to go for, because it's a less ambitious wine that works brilliantly, without the excess new oak of the loftier cuvées. However, given a few years, this oak may well integrate.

Minervois White 2000
Very modern fruity white with racy acidity. Good+

1999 Minervois Les Plots
(Available in Majestic.) A super wine that represents great value for money: for me, this typifies why the Languedoc is such an exciting place at the moment. A blend of Syrah, Grenache and Carignan, this is a perfumed wine with a bright nose of herby, medicinal fruit. The palate is full and lovely, with a mineral edge and some tannin. Very good+

1999 Minervois Cuvée Prestige
This expressive wine is actually a varietal Grenache that has seen some new oak. The dense herby/smoky nose shows firm tannins with good density and concentration. It's quite firm now, and there's still new oak evident, but this will probably integrate with time. Very good+

1999 Minervois Cuvée Orience
Varietal Syrah aged in new oak. There's a big menthol kick on the nose from the new oak, with chunky, smoky fruit underneath. With firm tannins on the palate, this is dense, concentrated stuff, perhaps with a little too much new oak evident at the moment. Very good+

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