2007 Domaine Montcalmès - Coteaux du Languedoc
Wine Advocate: 90 Points
Montcalmes? 2,000 bottles worth of white 2007 Coteaux du Languedoc ? split between Roussanne and Marsanne as well as between the estate?s two soil types, and vinified in new demi-muids ? smells sweetly of heliotrope, lily, apple, melons, and honey, with lanolin and vanilla accents from the cask. Saline and chalky inflections to the wine?s honey and nut richness; glossy, creamy palate presence; and surprisingly vivacious finish, give this a decidedly mineral cast. Pourtalie expressed no urgency about bottling, and I suspect it will be worth following for at least 2-3 years post-bottling.
Frederoc Pourtalie ? who inherited his family?s extensive Puechabon and Aniane vineyards just over a decade ago, but retains only their best fruit ? displays the sort of ambition as well as vinous results one would expect on learning that he is a protege of nearby Grange des Peres? proprietor Laurent Vaille. Some of Pourtalie?s cobbled, Chateauneuf-like, south-facing acreage in Aniane is capable of ripening Mourvedre ? a favorite grape for him ? by mid-September. Most of the estate?s Syrah ? in northeast- and northwest-facing parcels of ochre-colored chalk resembling that at Mas Daumas Gassac ? was planted by his father with an old, local selection in 1980. (A small portion of Syrah on cobbles is subject to a separate bottling, which I did not taste.) The reds here are marked by an absence of new wood, with small barrels 2-3 years old for Syrah and Mourvedre, and even older for Grenache. Pourtalie?s impressively promising, mineral-inflected, and refined 2007 vintage red lots ? beautifully marrying richness with brightness and lift ? had not been assembled when I tasted them in December, indeed some had only recently finished malo-lactic conversion. -- David Schildknecht