The wines of Domaine Jones, Maury, France
Impressive wines from Katie Jones' new project in the south of France

Website: www.domainejones.com

Katie Jones (pictured above) has lived and worked in the Languedoc region of France for almost 20 years now. For the majority of that time she was the export sales and marketing director for the dynamic Mont Tauch cooperative. But since 2009, she has been a winegrower, with her own estate: Domaine Jones.

Katie left Mont Tauch in June 2009, and soon after was in the midst of her first vintage. Altogether, she has 3.5 hectares of vines, which is quite small scale, but it means that she can do the bulk of the work in the vineyard by herself. 

Her approach is to aim for quality, producing limited quantities of top wines. Itís the only sustainable business model in the region at the moment. Most of her vines are in Maury, at altitude, which helps keep the wines fresh. But she also purchased a small 0.5 hectare vineyard in Fitou, with 100 year old Carignan and Grenache vines, as well as some Muscat. The Grenache is an old clone called Ďlladuner pelutí, which translates as hairy Grenache, because of its hairy leaves. This small vineyard, fringed by garrigue, was available at a knock-down price (Ä2500) because none of the coop people wanted it: itís too small, with a number of different varieties, making management more expensive. But for Katie, aiming to make top quality wines, itís ideal, especially as it is at altitude (300 m), helping preserve acidity and freshness.

So how are the wines? Sheís doing a great job. The style aims at freshness and drinkability, and this has been achieved. But theyíre not just simple wines: here thereís some real concentration and complexity, but this hasnít been achieved simply by picking late and using lots of oak, which is a common mistake in warm climates such as the Languedoc. David Morrison advised Katie when she was setting up her winery, which is based in a small stone garage owned by her husband. Morrison must have given her some good advice.

Iím also really taken by the packaging. The label design is by a guy called Martin Case, who doesnít normally work with wineries. This is probably a good thing, because the labels have a really distinctive and quite unique look to them.

THE WINES

Domaine Jones Muscat Sec 2011
Just 400 bottles made; this is a bit of a one off. In previous vintages Katie has made a sweet Muscat, but this is dry. Nicely aromatic and fresh with some grapey notes and hints of spice on the nose. The palate is dry and spicy but with nice full texture and sweet grapey fruit. 88/100

Domaine Jones Blanc 2009
Half oak aged, this is predominantly Grenache Gris, with 5% Muscat. Intense and richly fruited nose with notes of melon and pear, as well as herb and spice notes. The palate is textured and broad with rich melon and herb fruit and a bit of bite. Lovely wine. 90/100

Domaine Jones Rouge 2009
14.5% alcohol. Grenache and a bit of Carignan, half oak aged. Sweet, bright red berry fruit nose is aromatic and fresh. The palate is fruity with a bit of grip. Deliciously lively and open, showing sweet red fruits and great definition. 90/100

Domaine Jones Fitou 2010
Aged in oak; just 4 barrels made. This comes from a single vineyard with 100 year old vines. Nicely complex nose of sweet berry fruits and notes of herb and spice, with a savoury, mineral edge. The palate is fresh and elegant with nice bright fruit and lovely tannic structure. Complex, promising and structured, this wine shows no hints of over-ripeness at all. 93/100

UK agent: Dudley and de Fleury Wines

Wines tasted 09/11  
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