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The wines of Robert Creus, Terre Inconnue, Languedoc, France

Domaine Terre Inconnue, 99 Rue Emilie Gaston, 13980 Alliens, tel. 04 90 57 38 54

Robert Creus is a part timer. Before he developed his passion for wine, he was a research chemist, working on silicon. Then he quite literally became a rocket scientist. Currently he’s working for the chamber of commerce and industry, helping to bring foreign industrial firms to France, but I suspect his real passion is for the remarkable wines that he’s fashioning in the Languedoc.

Terre Inconnue began life in 1996, when he bought his first vineyard, an 2000 metre square plot of old vine Carignan. Shortly after, he obtained some old vine Grenache. The first harvest was 1997, and since then he has added more Grenache and some Syrah (first harvest 2000). The Syrah is an old variant called ‘Serine’, some of which is found in Hermitage and St Joseph. Next year, he will make a new cuvée, called Guilhem. He’s also buying some Tempranillo, from a vineyard near to them.

Creus isn’t a shy, retiring sort, ‘My wines have a lot of personality because I have a lot of personality, he says. He prefers to work as naturally as possible, using only a little sulphur dioxide. He’s looking for phenolic maturity in his grapes and harvests by taste, when the seeds taste of nuts, and not by sugar levels.

Of grape varieties, he says Carignan is very difficult, arriving at maturity quite late. Syrah, in contrast, is easy, giving something good every year. Grenache is also capricious, but Carignan is the worst. Of vintages, 2004 was the best he has every done. The summer wasn’t too got and September was beautiful, helping to produce good maturity with good acidity.

These wines are unusual. I think they are prodound, but they are so individual they are hard to assess. Léonie is the Carignan, Sylvie is the Syrah and Abuelos is the Grenache.

Terre Inconnue Léonie 2002
This is a Carignan harvested after the rain which blighted the 2002 vintage here. Refined, spicy nose is smooth with sweet, supple yet savoury fruit. The palate is chunky and spicy with lovely supple fruit, a thick, lush texture and a savoury spiciness to the finish. Quite structured, but soft and fruity too. Very unusual. Very good+ 89/100

Terre Inconnue Léonie 2001
Much darker coloured. Smooth, supple, porty nose with a lovely savoury, spicy edge and some dustiness. The palate is rich and spicy with an appealing richness of smooth, elegant fruit. Thick and spicy with amazing personality. Very good/excellent 91/100

Terre Inconnue Los Abuelos 2002
Open, sweet, smooth nose with notes of herb and tea; some ripe red fruits too. The palate is supple and rich with lovely elegance and a peppery spicy structure. Very smooth with fine tannins. Nice balance with everything working together. Some garrigue notes. Very good/excellent 93/100

Terre Inconnue Los Abuelos 2001
Ripe, sweet open nose showing herby, peppery, raspberry fruit and some minerality. The palate is open and quite sweet with supple fruit. Rich and rounded, I like this a great deal. Very good/excellent 93/100

Terre Inconnue Sylvie 2001
Deep red/black colour. Lovely rich, liquoricey, spicy nose with supple rich fruit and a spicy edge. The palate is concentrated, dense, rich and sweetly fruited with lots of smooth tannic structure. Rich and full – a remarkable wine. Excellent 95/100

wines available in UK from: 

Grand Cru Wines, 1100-5 Avenue des Alpilles , 13310 Saint Martin de Crau, France
Email : gcw@wanadoo.fr Website: www.grandcruwinesltd.net  
Fax : (0033) 490 47 1321 Telephone : (0033) 490 47 2906

see also: Langudeoc Roussillon versus France's finest

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