Find out who won the regional trophy for under £10. And the winner is...
Donnadieu, Cuvée Matthieu et Marie, St Chinian, 2010
A hat-trick of Trophies, over three successive Decanter World Wine Awards? In the small-producer jungle of Languedoc-Roussillon, it’s surely not possible.
Even if a single estate was managing to perform at that exalted level, it’s asking a lot of our judges to fasten on the same unique qualities of excellence every time.
Yet that is exactly what Christine Deleuze and her wine-making brother Luc Simon have managed to achieve.
In our 2009 competition, it was their 2008 Clos Bagatelle Cuvée Tradition (grown in the limestone sector of St Chinian) which came through to win both its Regional and International Trophy.
In our 2010 competition, the 2009 Donnadieu Cuvée Mathieu and Mathilde (grown in the schist sector of the AOC) took the Regional Trophy. Improbable as it may seem, the 2010 vintage of the same cuvee won through in 2011.
The key to the success of the Mathieu and Mathilde cuvée is Syrah – and altitude. “That cuvée,” says Christine, “is 60 per cent Syrah – older vines, now, and planted in the highest part of the appellation at over 200 m.
Not only that, but the vines face north-west, adding to the effects of coolness and freshness. Vines from those schist soils need cooler fermentation and carefully managed extractions, in order not to drown the purity of fruit in too much matter.
We’re looking for something delicious, to drink in the first five years of its life, where you can really see the quality of the fruit and the terroir come through.”
Sure enough, the beguiling aromatic precision of this wine is what our tasters applauded: a model for its region and globally unique, too.
Written by Andrew Jefford