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Featured Reviews

Calmel & Joseph ‘Les Terroirs’ and ‘Villa Blanche’ Wines

28 May,2018

Laurent Calmel and Jerome Joseph run an innovative and contemporary wine operation specialising as negociants in the Languedoc-Roussillon region in central southern France. They own a domaine which produces wine, but the core of the business is working with their growers and vinifying and elevaging on site. They encourage organic viticulture and aim to make wines that are expressive of their provenance. The wines under ‘Calmel & Joseph’ are placed in different tiers, these being ‘Les Languedoc’, ‘Les Terroirs’, ‘Les Crus’, ‘Les Cuvees Rares’, and sparkling under ‘Les Effervescents’. A most interesting range is the ‘Villa Blanche’ which highlights noble and ‘ancient’ grape varieties. Here, I review three wines each from the ‘Les Terroirs’ and ‘Villa Blanche’ ranges. The ‘Les Terroirs’ are a little more traditional, whereas the ‘Villa Blanche’ are modern in style. All offer extremely good value. The wines are imported into New Zealand by Wine Direct


Calmel & Joseph ‘Les Terroirs’ Saint Chinian 2015

Blended Red from France – Other


Very dark, deep, near impenetrable black-red colour with slight garnet on the edge. The nose is softly full and densely packed with very ripe aromas of blackberries, boysenberries, black plums and black pepper along with porty elements. Subtle notes of dark herbs, dark raspberries and earth emerge in the glass. Medium-full bodied, the palate is rich and rounded with plush and deep flavours of ripe blackberries, boysenberries and black pepper, unfolding some raspberry and dark herbal nuances. The fruit is sweet and very ripe with port-like elements, and the palate is rounded and juicy. The fruit is supported by balanced, fine-grained tannins with soft acidity, and the wine carries to an elegant, but juicy finish. This is a rich, plush and plump Saint Chinian with ripe flavours of blackberries, boysenberries, plums and porty notes on a juicy, rounded palate with soft tannins. Match with roasted and grilled red meats over the next 5+ years. A blend of 50% Syrah, 30% Grenache and 20% Cinsault, 65% of the fruit from clay-limestone soils and 35% on schist soils, destemmed but not crushed and fermented to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 12 months in concrete tank. 17.5+/20 May 2018 RRP $17.99

Calmel & Joseph ‘Les Terroirs’ Cotes du Roussillon Villages 2015

Blended Red from France – Other


Full, dark, deep, black-hued garnet-red colour, near impenetrable, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is elegantly proportioned with well-concentrated aromas of rich, black-berried fruits with notes of dark raspberries, hints of boysenberries with a suggestion of plum jam, lifted by dark-red florals. Medium-full bodied, the palate has rich, vibrant and juicy flavours of ripe blackberries and dark raspberries, hints of boysenberries and black pepper with notes of jam and lifted florals. The flavours form a finely concentrated core and the fruit is underlined by fine-grained tannin structure with integrated acidity. The fruit richness blossoms and carries to a long and sustained finish. This is an elegantly concentrated, ripe Cotes du Roussillon Villages with blackberry, boysenberry and raspberry fruit on a very fine-structured palate. Match with lamb, beef and venison over the next 6-8 years. A blend of 40% Syrah, 30% Grenache, 20% Carignan and 10% Mourvedre, 40% of the fruit from clay-limestone, and 30% each from schist and sandstone, hand-picked, destemmed and fermented to 14.5% alc., the wine aged in concrete tank. 18.5/20 May 2018 RRP $17.99

Calmel & Joseph ‘Les Terroirs’ Cotes du Brian Vieux Carignan 2017

Other Red from France – Other


Very dark, near impenetrable, purple-hued black-red colour. The nose is elegant in presentation with fine and firm, deep aromas of black-berried fruits entwined with a layering of dark herbs, with subtle mineral notes. This is youthful in expression, revealing some jam nuances with aeration. Medium-full bodied, the palate is well-packed with a firm core of concentrated black fruits along with a layer of dark herbs and minerals. The fruit sweetness and near unctuousness is enlivened by lacy acidity and the wine shows depth and presence, with fine-grained tannin extraction in support. The flavours intensify as the wine carries to a ling, vibrant finish. This is a vibrant and firmy concentrated Carignan with blackberry, herb and mineral flavours and fine structure. Match with herb-marinated grilled and roasted red meats over the next 6-7 years. 100% Carignan from vines planted in 1890 on clay-limestone soil, hand-picked, destemmed, but not crushed and fermented to 14.5% alc., the wine aged 12 months in vat. 18.0/20 May 2018 RRP $17.99

Villa Blanche Pays d’Oc Terret Blanc 2017

Other White from France – Other


Bright straw-yellow colour with slight green-gold hues, a little lighter on the edge. The nose is fresh with aromas of white and yellow stonefruits harmoniously melded with notes of fresh herbs and lifted white florals. This is taut and finely concentrated. Dry to taste and light-medium bodied, the palate is tightly bound with a firmly concentrated line of white stonefruit along with floral and herb notes. The mouthfeel is bright and enlivened by fresh, slippery, racy acidity, and the wine flows positively along a smooth line. This has good tension and the flavours carry to a rich finish with some phenolic tecxtured grip. This is a tightly bound Terret Blanc with stonefruit, floral and herb flavours on a slippery palate with a dry, grippy finish. Serve as an aperitif and with seafood over the next 2 years. 100% Terret Blanc or Terret Bourret, fermented to 12.0% alc., the wine aged a month on lees with batonnage. 17.0/20 May 2018 RRP $16.99

Villa Blanche Pays d’Herault Piquepoul Noir 2016

Other Red from France – Other


Dark, ruby-red colour with some depth, lighter on the rim with slight purple hues. The nose is softly fresh with aromas of dark-red cherry and berry fruit along with notes of dark raspberries, and an amalgam of spices, florals and liquorice. The aromatics build with soft density and concentration. Medium-bodied, the palate has soft and gently rich, vibrant fruit flavours of dark-red cherries and berries with subtle, savoury spice, herb and floral nuances. The fruit is sweet and juicy, and is underlined by fine, grainy structure with balancing fresh acidity. This has good energy and drive, and carries to a full-fruited and structured finish. This is a gently rich and juicy Piquepoul Noir with dark cherry and raspberry flavours with subtle savoury elements on a well-balanced and structured palate. Serve with poultry and pork over the next 5-6+ years. The first vintage of a Piquepoul Noir, destemmed and fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 10 months in cement vats. 17.5+/20 May 2018 RRP $19.99

Villa Blanche Pays d’Oc Syrah 2016

Syrah from France – Other


Full, dark, deep, near-saturated black-hued red with purple tints on the rim. The nose is elegantlt proportioned with well-packed and concentrated aromas showing an array of ripe black fruits with blackberries, hints of boysenberries, along with black pepper and plus, alongside a diverse herbal expression. Medium-full bodied, the palate has a rich and densely packed heart with juicy flavours of ripe dark raspberries, blackberries and black plums, melded with black pepper, herbs and florals. The mouthfeel is bright and vibrant, and the sweet, rich fruit is supported by fine-grained tannin grip with integrated acidity. A little jamminess emerges and the wine carries to a soft, light, lingering finish. This is a rich, plush and juicy, black-fruited Syrah with pepper, herbs and notes of jam on a fine, grainy palate. Match with roasted game meats over the next 5+ years. 100% Syrah 50% crushed and fully destemmed, and fermented to 13.5% alc., 50% of the wine aged 6 months in oak barrels. 17.5/20 May 2018 RRP $19.99

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