We can’t drink first growth claret or grand cru burgundy all the time, and even if would had the means, a diet of the very best will soon lead you having a palate that can only appreciate a tiy segment of the market. We need to taste more ordinary wines to let us know how good the top wines really are. However things do get a little blurred when the ordinary wines perform way above their country status. It’s the reality of the modern world of wine nowadays where quality, even at levels of modest aspiration can indeed be very, very good.
Such is the case with a trio of wines from Calmel & Joseph, two winemakers who operate as Languedoc-Roussillon negociants. However, they are not your typical negociant, because they take an active and personal interest in the wines they produce from the very start – at the vine and vineyard level. They have a great deal to say on how the vines are treated throughout the growing season, and decide on picking. But also at vinification level, and then at the elevage level. The results are that their ordinary wines have become nearly extraordinary.
SWMBO and I has the chance to try three of the latest arrivals into the country. The 2015 Calmel & Joseph ‘Les Terroirs’ Saint Chinian, a Syrah-based blend was deliciously plump and fleshy. Super-ripe fruit, you could almost say a little porty, but packed with plush flavours and soft structure. For those who live in a cooler-climate country, this has warmth and generosity. Then a 2015 Calmel & Joseph ‘Les Terroirs’ Cotes du Roussillon Villages. This has ripeness, defined fruit clarity, with poise, perfumes and finesse. They stylishness of this wine made it a winner. Then a more interesting Calmel & Joseph ‘Les Terroirs’ Cote du Brian Vieux Carignan. Made from vines over 120 years old, the concentration, depth of flavour and rich texture gave credence to the benefits of vine age. The flavours initially unusual, with dark red fruit and a streak of herbs. With aeration, these became melded together and more harmonious. I rated them all pretty well with one wine at 5-stars. What’s so remarkable is that they retail at around $18.00 per bottle. These were indeed fantastic quality country fare.