Regional profile: Saint-Chinian

The Languedoc's oldest winemaking region could historically be a minefield in terms of style and quality. Today wine lovers can buy with far less trepidation, as the wines have never benten better, writes James Lawther MW.

Top 10 St-Chinian wines

Les Terrasses de Gabrielle, 12 de la Noche en la Habana 2012
16.5/20pts (88/100pts)
A white St-Chinian produced from Roussanne and Grenache Blanc and partly aged in acacia barrels. Lovely honeyed, floral scent. Palate rich and opulent. Better acidity and balance than the 2011.
Price: N/A UK +33 (0)6 31 77 11 38
Drink 2014-2016.
Alc 13.5%

Borie La Vitarèle, Les Schistes 2011
17/20pts (90/100pts)
Syrah and Grenache. Powerful but complex wine with blueberry, plum, spice and black pepper notes. Ripe and round on the palate with fine, silky tannins. Firm, persistent finish.
Price: £17.50 H2Vin
Drink 2014-2016
Alc 14.5%

Domaine La Madura, Grand Vin 2010
17/20pts (90/100pts)
Mainly Mourvèdre and Syrah with a little Grenache and Carignan. Ripe but fresh and vibrant with black fruit, liquorice and smoky notes. Firm and intense on the palate but approachable as well. Splendid length and balance.
Price: £21 (2009) Flint Wines
Drink 2014-2018
Alc 14%

Domaine Navarre, Cuvée Olivier 2010
17/20pts (90/100pts)
Old vine (70-90 years) Grenache and Carignan plus Syrah. Great depth and intensity. Red fruit aromas with a note of local brush and herbs. Full, round and ripe on the palate.
Price: £15.50 Stone Vine & Sun
Drink 2014-2018
Alc 13.5%

Vivien Roussignol, Les Païssels 2012
17/20pts (90/100pts)
From old vines (30-60 years) on schist soils. Dark and ripe but balanced. Palate round and full with dark fruit flavours to the fore. Freshness despite the alcohol.
Price: £13.90 Pierre Hourlier
Drink 2014-2017
Alc 14.5%

Domaine La Grange Léon, L’Audacieux 2012
16.75/20pts (89/100pts)
50% Mourvèdre with Syrah and Grenache. Minerally and fresh with lovely fruit behind. Spice and garrigue aromas. Tannins present but sweet and fine. Long and balanced.
Price: N/A UK +33 (0)4 67 89 73 61
Drink 2014-2017
Alc 13.5%

Mas Champart, Côte d’Arbo 2011
16.75/20pts (89/100pts)
Impressive for an entry-level wine. Fruit driven but with substance. Dark fruit (cherry, plum) notes with a touch of herbs behind. Fresh finish. Good value.
Price: £12.50 Berry Bros & Rudd, The Wine Society
Drink 2014-2016
Alc 13.5%

Domaine La Linquière, Le Chant des Cigales 2011
16.5/20pts (88/100pts)
Aromatic wine with Syrah (70%) clearly to the fore. Dark fruit, liquorice and violet notes. Palate ripe and full but with a hint of the minerally, schistous soils. Vintage freshness on the finish.
Price: £14.45 (2010) Berry Bros & Rudd
Drink 2014-2016
Alc 14.5%

Domaine Rimbert, Mas au Schiste 2010
16.5/20pts (88/100pts)
A third each Carignan, Syrah and Grenache. Ripe and round with notes of cherry and kirsch but schist minerality evident as well. Firm finish.
Price: £13.41 (2009) The Sampler
Drink 2014-2016
Alc 13%

Cave de Roquebrun, La Grange des Combes 2011
16/20pts (86/100pts)
Syrah (50%), Grenache and Mourvèdre. Ripe and aromatic with cherry, plum and chocolate notes. Schist soils impart freshness on the palate.
Price: £12.99 Majestic
Drink 2014-2016.
Alc 14%

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