Domaine des Aurelles - Coteaux du Languedoc - Aurel - 2008
is currently backordered. You may still purchase it now but we won't be able to ship it until it becomes available again.
Appellation: Coteaux du Languedoc
Varieties: 65% Mourvèdre, 20% Syrah, 15% Grenache
Domaine des Aurelles is the brainchild of two ex-Bordeaux vignerons, Karl Maguin (who worked at Latour) and Basile St Germain (Haut Brion). It's a relatively recent operation, with the first vintage in 1995.
The winery is located in Caux, while the vineyards are close by in Nizas. Nearest large town is Beziers, and a few kilometres up the road from the well known estate Prieure de St Jean de Bebian, and not too far east of Faugères. There are five parcelles of vines, some 15 ha in all, with average yield 25 hl/ha (this is pretty low, even for the South of France). The varieties grown are fairly typical for the region, with Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah and Carignan making up the red contingent, and Rousanne, Clairette, Terret Blanc and Ugni Blanc the whites (I just tasted the Aurel Blanc here, but a Solen Blanc is planned).
They use new oak for the whites but not the reds: a couple of Bordeaux barriques (from Domaine de Chevalier) were used for the first vintage, but the results weren't great, so now Karl and Basile just use large oak vats to age their red wines. This is an encouraging sign: unfortunately, the first thing many ambitious vignerons do with their top wines is to smother their character with new oak. It's also good to see Carignan being used, a non-trendy grape that can do really well when low yields and old vines are involved.