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LM Wines: 11 Southern French wines tasted from this new online merchant

There's no doubting it: the south of France is currently one of the most exciting and dynamic wine regions in the old world, making interesting, individual and affordable fine wines. Because this dynamism is largely driven by small producers, it's quite hard to get your hands on these new wave wines - you don't find many of them in supermarkets or high street stores, and the gems from the Languedoc and Roussillon are spread rather thinly among the independents. 

For this reason, it's nice to see the rise of small mail-order and internet wine merchants, who can carry affordable, small production wines like these. A newcomer, LM Wines, recently sent me a case to try, and I was impressed. The standard of the wines was consistently very good, with a few real high points: my notes are below. Value for money is also pretty good.

LM Wines have agreed to offer all wineanorak readers a 15% discount on their first case order: just type 'anorak ' (all lower case) in the discount box in the checkout section of the site. Below each tasting note is a link to that wine’s entry on the LM Wines website.  

Cave des Vignerons de Florensac Cassiopea 2003 Vin de Pays de Côtes de Thau
Deep yellow colour. Lovely open nose is rich and apricotty with some spice and a bit of nutty oak (all well integrated). A bit Sauternes like. The palate is rich, spicy, quite fat and has a nice fresh marmaladey edge to the fruit. A nice wine with lots of personality. Very good/excellent 92/10 (£7.95)

Cave l’Etoile Collioure 2002 Côtes du Roussillon 
Not a dark wine, but it has a lovely perfume of sweet open Grenache fruit (red berries, sweet herbs, liqueur-like fruit). The palate is open and shows nice peppery, spicy structure which makes it quite savoury. Very good+ 89/100 (£8.99)

Domaine Gaujal Ludovic Picpoul de Pinet Late Harvest Vendange Extreme 2001
Pretty unusual stuff: Picpoul is made from ripe grapes which are then dried a bit and only partially fermented, resulting in a very sweet wine. A deep gold colour, this has a sweet grapey nose with spicy apricot and citrus peel complexity. The palate is rich and sweet with nice offsetting acidity. Very interesting. Very good/excellent 90/100 (£12.95)

Château Rieutort, La Bastide des Charmes 2002 Coteaux du Languedoc
Refined nose of ripe berry fruits with subtly roasted new oak. The palate marries together the slightly earthy red berry fruits with new oak quite successfully. A sophisticated, ambitious wine: perhaps neds time to develop real interest. Nice concentration and may develop in interesting ways. Very good+ 88/100 (£9.45)

Domaine Rieutort, Pavillon des Charmes 2002 Vin de Pays de la Vicomté d’Aumelas
Quite deep yellow colour. Nice, intense savoury nose counters bright lemony fruit with a herby, waxy edge. Quite serious, tight knit structured palate is savoury and nutty with good acidity. The oak is well integrated with the fruit. There are some oxidative notes but it works really well. A complex food friendly white. Very good/excellent 90/100 

Domaine Ollier Taillefer Allegro 2004 Coteaux du Languedoc
A very distinctive white with a full, herbal, melon and lemon peel nose with a pithy edge. It’s floral and nutty. The palate shows fresh, vivid fruit with a savoury pithy edge to it. Finishes a bright and a little spicy. An unusual, appealing wine. Very good+ 89/100 (£8.45)

Domaine Piquemal Côtes du Roussillon Villages 2001  
There’s a subtle roast coffee/spicy edge to the nose, which shows some sweet open liqueur-like fruit. The palate is open with sweet red fruits finishing with a spicy, earthy edge. A nice ripe southern wine with a savoury bite. Drinking nicely. Very good+ 86/100 (£8.99)


Domaine St Michel les Clauses Chorus 2000 Corbières
This has a lovely, stinky, spicy earthy, slightly animally nose, which is dark and warm. The palate is quite rich and spicy with lots more of that rustic, slightly stinky complexity. Finishes savoury and dry: there’s a lot of brett character, but in the context of this wine it works well. Very good+ 89/100 (£14.95)

Mas des Cigales Campredon 2003 Coteaux du Languedoc
There’s some smooth, ripe, sweet ripe fruit here: blackcurrant and red berry, together with some earthy spiciness. It’s nicely balanced and slightly peppery on the finish, with a bit of grippy tannin. A terroir-style wine. Very good+ 89/100 (£8.99)


Mas du Novi St Jean de Noviciat Prestigi 2003 Coteaux du Languedoc 
Sweet, ripe open nose of raspberry and blackcurrant fruit is quite lush and liqueur like. The palate is ripe and inviting with a nice spicy core to the open sweet fruit. A delicious red wine in an elegant style for early drinking. Some minerality on the finish. Very good/excellent 90/100 (£8.99)


Villa Serra 2002 Minervois
Quite a lush dark fruits nose: smooth, pure and sweet, with a bit of spice in the background. The palate has a nice savoury, earthy, acidic tang to the bright pure fruit. This is a deliciously savoury food wine. Earthy and fresh. Very good+ 87/100 (£10.45)

wines tasted February-April 2006

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