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The wines of Mas de l’Ecriture, Coteaux du Langudeoc

Pascal Fulla has a legal background. After 20 years as a ‘juriste’ (a legal expert) he set out as a vigneron in 1999. On the evidence here, I think he made a wise choice.

Mas de l’Ecriture is in the commune of Jonquières, in the Terras du Larzac region. For those interested in these things, the soil is a stony, sandy clay over Jurassic limestone – once again, the chalk that seems to be such a common feature in great ‘terroirs’.

The domain is currently 17.4 hectares, with some 13 currently planted with the classic red Languedoc varieties of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Carignan and Cinsault. However, only half the vines are currently in production: the rest have been recently planted, with both rootstock and scion chosen to match the terroir..

Yields are abnormally low here, running around 20 hl/ha (although one has always to bear in mind that this designation doesn’t take into account the planting density). The emphasis is on careful viticulture, assisted with climatic monitoring in the vineyard. Each parcel is vinified separately and both the size and type of oak barrels used is chosen to suit the characteristics of the parcel and vintage. It’s a very hands on approach.

In the 1999 (inaugral) and 2000 vintages, three cuvees were produced, but from 2001 onwards it will just be two, with no more ‘Déclinasions’ being made.

These are very impressive wines, but come priced to match. However good a wine is, it has to be pretty self-confident to justify a £30 ticket in only its third vintage. No criticism of Pascal Fulla is intended here – his job is just to make the best wine he can and then the marketplace can assign it its value. And these are among the best wines being made in the Languedoc today.

The wines are available from La Vigneronne, with UK retail prices in brackets.

Mas de l’Ecriture ‘Déclinasions Occitanes’ 2000 Coteaux du Langudeoc
Grenache, Cinsault and Carignan are the grapes here. Quite a haunting, spicy, savoury herby nose. The palate shows a good intensity of very ripe fruit with a spicy, minerally underlay. Lots of character. Very good+ 89/100 (£15.50)

Mas de l’Ecriture ‘Les Pensées’ 2001 Coteaux du Langudeoc
Syrah, Cinsault and Grenache. This deep coloured wine has a savoury, spicy intensity to the nose, which displays ripe berry fruits. Lovely rich, firm spicy structure to the palate, which shows good intensity. Very good/excellent 92/100 (£18.95)

Mas de l’Ecriture ‘l’Ecriture’ 2001 Coteaux du Langudeoc
A blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre. This is deep coloured with a lovely rich, spicy concentrated nose. Huge concentration on the palate, which is firm, spicy and structured with lots of spicy intensity. A brilliant expression of the Languedoc, with intensity being the key word. Excellent 95/100 (£30)

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