Firstly a disclaimer….I know the cheeky bugger that makes this wine. Paul “Flash” Gordon is an Australian winemaker that has chased the dream and is now producing wine from his estate in the Faugères AOP in the Languedoc.
We first met each other in the mid-nineties when we both worked in wine retail in Sydney, again when we both worked at wineries in Victoria….Paul in the Yarra Valley and myself on the Mornington Peninsula and we last caught up outside a bar in Marlborough, NZ about six years ago. I was having a cheeky tankard of ale with a mate that worked at Wither Hills and Paul and his wife Isla stopped for a chat before heading off to celebrate her birthday with a dinner at the Hotel d’Urville….we are well overdue for another drink that I know.
Paul and Isla Gordon established Domaine la Sarabande in 2009 at Faugères….an AOC within the Coteaux du Languedoc appellation in the Languedoc-Roussillon wine region. It lies just inland from Beziers at the foot of the Cevenes mountains. It’s only around 40km from the Mediterranean here and the soils consist of schist, a metamorphic rock that results from the compression of clays and ancient marine deposits at very high temperatures.
All the work in the vineyards is carried out according to organic principles without the use of chemical herbicides and fungicides. The grapes are harvested by hand, ferments utilise natural yeasts and the the wines go to bottle without filtration or fining.
The wine is a blend of 60% Grenache, 25% Carignan and 15% Syrah and Mourvedre. The Grenache hails from a North-West facing vineyard and lies on fine grey schists. The Carignan is from a very low yielding, 30 year old block that is goblet pruned and the Syrah and Mourvedre come from sites that lie over soils that are formed from fossilised coral adding firm tannins and a touch of rusticity.
A deep purple grapey hue with inviting aromas of dark cherry and plum fruits with a dash of cassis for good measure. There is an almost ferrous, earthy undertone to with wine with hints of schisty minerals. sous bois, licorice, rosemary, beef consomme, lavender and mushroom broth with a moody lick of dark spice sitting further in the background.
A lively fruit entry onto the palate that shows great freshness and purity with a well-weighted shape in the mouth. Again flavours of dark wild cherry and plum come to the fore with a touch of blackberry filling things out. There is a seam of minerally earth and freshly turned sod that carries through the wine flicked with hints of mushroom, roasted meats, polished leather, spice and herbs. It has a savoury lean on the finish with a raft of fine-grained, ripe, gravelly tannins kicking in as the wine exits the palate showing lovely balance and good persitance. Great drinking.
The kids done good….
Price: $30 – Closure: Cork – Alcohol: 14% – Source: Sample – Importer: World Wine Estates