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The wines of Domaine de la Marfée, Languedoc, France   

Domaine de la Marfée came into existence in 1997, when accountant Thierry Hasard (above) purchased 5 hectares near Montpellier at Murviel. Murviel translates as old wall, and there’s still a wall here dating back 2000 years to the Romans. Hasard waned to make great wine from the outset, and his choice of vineyard was influenced by the advice he had: he had five or six to choose from. He was more interested in the potential of the terroir than the actual state of the vineyards, so when he got hold of his plot he kept some old vine Grenache and Carignan and pulled out the bad varieties. Now the domaine is 9 hectares in size. His philosophy is simple: he wants to make wine with personality, respecting the soil. He chooses to eschew chemical products and just ploughs a bit (not deeply). ‘I want to respect and reinforce life’, he says. He also thinks that terroir is more important than the grape variety, a sentiment echoed by many of France’s leading growers.

The wines are represented in the UK by Grand Cru Wines (www.grandcruwinesltd.net), and their prices are given in brackets.

Les Gamines de la Marfée Blanc 2002 Vin de Pays de l’Hérault
A blend of Roussanne (60%), Chardonnay (30%) and Petit Manseng. Ripe, smooth open nose is rich but with a lovely open nuttiness. The palate is savoury edged with ripe, smooth dense fruit and a hint of mineraliness. A lovely white. Very good/excellent 90/100 (£9.95)

Les Gamines de la Marfée Rouge 2002 Vin de Pays de l’Hérault
Ripe but fairly tight sweet spicy nose with good focus. Alluring ripeness and suppleness: sweet and intense. The palate is concentrated and spicy with good acidity and lovely earthy, spicy structure under the sweet red fruits. Very good/excellent 91/100 (£9.95)

Les Gamines de la Marfée Rouge 2000 Vin de Pays de l’Hérault
The nose is ripe, intense, sweet and spicy with a liqueur-like richness and delicious spicy earthiness. On the palate this is concentrated and ripe with a lovely earthy structure. Very good/excellent 91/100 (£10.95)

Domaine de la Marfée ‘Les Champs Murmurées’ 2001 Vin de Pays de l’Hérault
Lovely perfumed intensity to the nose: ripe, sweet and full, displaying sweet liqueur-like black fruits. The palate is concentrated, full and dense, showing supple, slightly sweet fruit with some smoky, spicy complexity. A big, lovely wine. Very good/excellent 93/100 (£18.50)

Domaine de la Marfée ‘Les Champs Murmurées’ 2000 Vin de Pays de l’Hérault
Smoky, slightly roasted nose: savoury, spicy and quite complex. The palate is dense but supple with nice savoury structure and good concentration. Great balance and good acidity. Quite a big wine. Very good/excellent 92/100 (£20)

Domaine de la Marfée ‘Les Champs Murmurées’ 1999 Vin de Pays de l’Hérault
Alluring savoury, spicy earthy nose with dark fruits dominant. The palate is earthy, showing a bit of evolution with firm structure. Lovely stuff and quite serious. Very good/excellent 91/100 (£21.50)

Domaine de la Marfée ‘Les Vignes qu’On Abat’  2000 Vin de Pays de l’Hérault
90% old vine Carignan. Deep, firm, earthy nose is dusty, spicy and expressive. The palate is quite supple but with a lovely earthy spiciness, very fine grained tannins and a subtle roasted edge. Very good/excellent 92/100 (£20)

wines tasted March 2005

For an earlier report on this domaine, click here

see also: Languedoc wines

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