What, a Chardonnay from S France?

Discussion in 'UK Wine Forum' started by bob parsons, Sep 12, 2018.

  1. When a staff member downtown (he has a pretty good palate) mentioned a nice Chardonnay from S France, I tried to hide my scepticism, but when I saw that Domaine Lafage was the producer, my eyes lit up!

    TN: 2016 Domaine Lafage Chardonnay Novellum, Languedoc-Roussillon.

    Attractive looking modern package, good natural cork, $24 Cdn. I resisted serving the wine too chilled and I think it showed better for it. Think I read somewhere in my research that some viognier might have been added?
    Pale yellow in color, showed some nice pineapple and pear on the nose. Some lemon citrus hints too I thought. "Hint of oak" from across the table..could be? Initial entry thought is crisp, lightish, soft tannin, good acidity. Melon quite obvious and grapefruit too, apple, medium length. Had to think it could have been a Chard from anywhere really, so many different styles world-wise eh. Smooth finish and great with some pot stickers.

    **seemed nicely balanced on day 2, bit more depth and character. Seems to be a huge Costco sellar!
  2. Tom Cannavan

    Tom Cannavan Administrator


    They're definitely not as rare as you think I suspect. Limoux in the Languedoc is home to some very fine Chardonnay - that's what it specialises in - but I think there are quite a lot of good Chardonnay wines from that region on our shelves, and a lot of them sound in the same ballpark as yours with the subtle oak and white fruit-type flavours.
  3. While down that way this summer I had a Gerard Bertrand Cigalus. The sommelier seemed to think it was a Marsanne / chard mix but I must be starting to get some basic knowledge as wasn’t convinced there was any Marsanne / Roussane.
    Was a very pleasant bottle though I also requested it was removed from ice bucket and it was better for being just a little warmer. Young waiter gave me a very puzzled “idiots” look.
    looked later and saw it was 80% chard.
    Will pickup a case and their reserve wine at some point.
  4. One has to bear in mind that up here, wines from the Limoux area are very hard to find.
  5. I remember there seemed to be a real glut of Languedoc-Roussillon Chardonnays made by English people 10-20 years ago. Usually sold in Sainsbury’s or Majestic. Wonder what happened to them all?

    Limoux, as Tom says, seems to be Chardonnay Central now. Anyone remember that series of terroir wines from the co-op in the early 1990s, Tocques et Clochers or something similar?

    Some quite decent Chardonnay Méthode Trad fizz there as well if the one Yapps sells is anything to go by. Made by an exile from the now rather famous Colin family.
  6. Tom Cannavan

    Tom Cannavan Administrator

    I think Bertie Eden was the English man behind a lot of that pioneering Languedoc chardonnay.
    David Crossley likes this.
  7. Fat Bastard being arguably the most famous Languedoc Chardy - been around donkeys years.
  8. Tom Cannavan

    Tom Cannavan Administrator

    Had actually forgotten about that. Haven't seen or heard about it for a long time, nor 'Old Git' or the other comedy labels.
  9. I haven't had the 2016 wine that Bob mentions, but I have had an earlier vintage chardie from Lafage. I don't recall it being called Novellum, so maybe they have been working on it, or there is now more than one cuvée. But in general, I remember that one as being a decent representative of the grape when grown in the south of France - which is to say it tended towards more melony fruit and lacked the focus of more northerly chardonnays from, say, Burgundy or the Jura.
  10. Old Git (and Old Tart) seem to have vanished.

    Fat Bastard is still around and is now a range that includes many varieties FAT bastard Wines: Live Large

    At the beginning it was a pretty good Chardonnay, and it's name punned and alluded to Bâtard-Montrachet, but it was soon so popular that production increased immensely and it was no longer the same, to my taste. It was the biggest selling French Chardonnay in the USA
    Tom Cannavan likes this.
  11. David, I think that you are referring to the co-op Sieur d'Arques. I have never had a white from them but I enjoyed a red (50% Merlot + Mediterranean grapes.), a gift from my son, which had an original flavour profile. I agree that LImoux seems to have climate and soils which work well with Chardonnay. In particular, I recall an excellent Chard from Domaine de Mouscaillo about 10 years ago which had plenty of tension and minerality. Otherwise I tend to be wary about Chardonnay from the midi and indeed from any warm climate region without reliable recommendation.
    David Crossley likes this.
  12. these were great - I drank quite a few around the turn of the millennium. You could buy barrels from then (or maybe it was an auction) and I remember 1 Cuvee that was sold to a famous restaurant in Rotterdam. Good solid wine, but after a few years it turned into the most wonderful layered butterey Chardonnay.

    They brand is still sold in the Netherlands and it’s a restaurant backup.
  13. Weren't they Boutinot brands?
  14. Tom Cannavan

    Tom Cannavan Administrator

    Might have been Andrew - just can't remember and don't think I actually drank them.
  15. Speaking of Boutinot brands, I just bought one theirs, solely because of the label. It's a gift to a couple I know who own a couple of dachshunds. They're not fussy about their wines so it should be okay. Nothing on the back label as to the varietals so I presume it is a southern rhone blend.


    EDIT: Just to be clear, I won't be giving my friend an empty bottle, the picture is from Cellartracker.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2019
  16. Mahmoud Ali likes this.
  17. It's a red wine Mike, though I must say the thought of a Grenache blanc, marsanne, rousanne wine sounds appetizing.
  18. Majestic used to stock a couple of cracking value Southern French Chards, though alas their range has been dumbed down to include neither anymore.

    Regarding Domaine Lafage, I have to admit to being slightly disappointed by their wines - we did a tasting of 6 or 7 last year and although everything was "nice", all were pretty homogenous and lacking character tbh. I toyed with buying some of this Chard, as it is little over £10 from Vinissimus and comes with some cracking reviews, but decided against it on the basis of my opinion of their other wines.
  19. Mahmoud Ali likes this.
  20. Thanks Mike. Looks like there are some differences in the labelling, one with a "naked" dachshund, the other with a dog coat. The bottle I bought (a 2016) has the "naked" dog and looks exactly like the cellartracker photo yet, having bought it in Canada, I would have thought Boutinot would have used the dog prepared to face our winters.
  21. Yes my expertise in the wines is one google search :)
    The naked dog threw me hence I thought it may be white as it was a Chardonnay thread. The pictures are of the 2017 though so is the possible variation
  22. Ahh, I had not mentioned red in my original post but assumed that it was the empty bottle from cellartracker might make it look like a white. I edited the post just in case some people might have thought that I drank the wine before I got around to gifting it. Ha, ha.

Share This Page