Some winery visits feel like a waste of time. The wine isn't good enough. Or it's too expensive. Or the winemaker doesn't share a similar philosophy to you.
But occasionally, the stars align. The wine is great. The winemaker is great. The prices are great. And you get to do a happy dance. In January, this happened and we found the rather beautiful wines of Les Eminades in Saint Chinian in the Languedoc, Southern France.
Les Eminades are a husband and wife team, Patricia and Luc who have 21 separate plots of classic Languedoc grape varieties spread over 14 hectares. Think Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Marsanne, Grenache Blanc, to name a few. They farm organically, using only natural yeasts and as little sulphur as they can get away with. Luc learnt his trade from Alain Brumont, arguably the best winemaker in Madiran. Luc himself is now thought of as one of the best winemakers in Saint Chinian. We'd be hard pressed to disagree.
OK, so the prices are not rock bottom; quality never is. But trust us, these wines are game-changing. Give them a go next time you fancy a treat. Or it's the weekend. Or a weekday. Heck, just get them down you on the C2C on the way to work. They'll make any day better.
Wines are available online or come in and pick some up.
80% Grenache Blanc, 20% Marsanne, this wine has been fermented in large old oak barrels, designed to impart no flavour but give texture. The result? An intensely mineral wine backed up with notes of lemon curd and ripe peach. The length goes for days.
If you like Sancerre, grab a bottle of this. Smoky, intense, mineral with hints of tropical fruit, this is a Sauvignon like no other from the region.
We couldn't believe that Sauvignon Blanc could taste so good from this area; take a punt on it. Only 2000 bottles of this are made each year.
60% Syrah.30% Grenache and 30% Mourvedre, the latter of which sees some oak time.
Although the wine has great concentration, its the lightest of the 3 reds. Notes of redcurrants, red cherry, violets and signature garrigue herbs. A classic Saint Chinian red, with fine tannins (nothing too grippy).
Syrah is the star of this wine and shines through. There is also 30% Grenache in there too.
Darker, meatier and more well structured than Cebenna, this could easily be mistaken for Northern Rhone Syrah. Violets, smoked meat, herbs and spice are all in there. A pairing with a smoky ham hock would be perfect.
Made from 112 year old Carignan vines, this is the fullest and most complex of the range. Best decanted for an hour before opening.
Expect notes of smoke, bramble, smoked meat, black cherry and woody herbs. 14 months in oak rounds the wine out - great to drink now but has the potential to age for another 1-5 years.