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What our expert thought of Château Mignan, Cuvée Pech-Quisou, Minervois




the tasting

The Tasting


The wine is a deep ruby colour with some youthful purple at the rim, though it isn’t as dark or as purple as a pure Syrah would be at this age.
 
There’s an expressive, pure-fruited nose of ripe dark berries, along with some dark chocolate and quite a lot of wild herbs.  This has the scent of the garrigue  about it – the herby scrubland common in this part of France.  The nose is clearly Syrah-dominated and has the savoury, meaty quality often found in French Syrahs, combining to give an impression of herb-encrusted lamb being pulled from the oven.  There’s no discernable oak influence.
 
The palate is filled with ripe black fruits: blackberries and plums – perhaps shading into prunes.  It’s full-bodied and generous but remains properly dry, with fresher acidity than I was expecting in a 14.5% red from this hot region.  The afterpalate has a distinctive flavour of dry-cured black olives, those strong, meaty, slightly wrinkled ones marinated in oil and herbs de Provence.
 
The velvety tannins are superbly smooth and not drying at all.  They add structure and a peppery spiciness to the long warming finish.


Assessment


This is a wine with plenty of personality, yet its great balance makes it dangerously easy to drink.  I would not have guessed it as having 14.5% alcohol; it’s almost elegant, with only the warmth of the finish giving a clue to its strength.  I also wouldn’t have guessed it as a 2014; the use of older barrels has softened and rounded the wine so that it’s ready to drink now, without obscuring the savoury fruit flavours with identikit oak.
 
Somehow it tastes of southern France; this is a wine that is true to its terroir.  It may not be hugely complex but it is a delicious drink at a very modest price, and I think it could improve for a year or two.  I can see this becoming my new house red.
 
December 2017 update: I bought 12 bottles of this, and it has indeed become my default red.  It’s reliable, delicious and goes with everything.  Or even in it: its rich unoaked flavours and everyday pricetag make it the bottle I open when I want something to cook with, and something to slurp while doing so!  I’m looking forward to trying the 2015, which is a better vintage in the Languedoc than 2014 and may well be the one available when I come to restock.



Tasting notes

Appearance
clear deep- ruby, not as dark or purple as a pure Syrah
Nose

Intensity medium(+?)

Aromas dark berries (blackberry, mulberry), herbs (garrigue), savoury, meaty, Syrah-dominated, unoaked

Development developing
Palate

Sweetness dry

Acidity medium

Body full, though perhaps not 14.5%-worth

Tannins medium(+?), really smooth & velvety, not drying

Intensity medium+

Flavours ripe black fruit (blackberry, plum/prune), herby black olives
Finish

Length medium+

Flavours as palate, spice (black pepper), slight bitterness, warming
Other notes
Dryer-tasting and less hot than 14.5% suggests. Super balance and very quaffable. Almost elegant. Not reductive, but improves with air.


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