Saturday evening Ray McKewon and I got together for our usual wine and food sharing night at Pamplemousse Grille where the conversation flowed, friends stopped by the bar to say hello and the food continues to be about the best around. We both kept our Paleo friendly menu, with Caesar salad and bone-in rib eye. I pulled wines from the bottomless cellar, two from the Maury region of France and one from the area known as the Cabardes.
The two from Maury were from Mas Amiel, a producer best known for the fortified late harvest wines. First up was the very, very good 2002 Le Plaisir - a stunning blend of Grenache, Carignan and Syrah. The second Mas Amiel red was the 2000 Careades, which has a much higher percentage of Grenache, more Syrah and less Carignan. They were very different and very enjoyable. The Le Plaisir was surprisingly the richer of the two, but also the one that was the most complex of the two from Mas Amiel. I was expecting the opposite, but where in the Careades the Grenache was obviously the wine setting the stage, the younger wines larger component of Carignan gave it an appealing layer of black fruit in the mid palate and a long blueberry and black pepper finish.
The 2000 Mas Amiel Careades was the more fruity of the two. Raspberry, black raspberry, blueberry, strawberry and cherry fruit. It was elegant, aging nicely and like the Le Plaisir nowhere near its peak. The third wine is basically a Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab Franc, Merlot, Malbec and a hint of Syrah.
The 2000 Château de Pennautier is from the Cabardes, a town north of and not far from Carcassonne. It's ancient France. Where the Cathars and Templars once roamed, and where vineyards are far and wide. The wine was right up Ray's alley, as he prefer the more Napa varietals, and it sure wasn't a disappointment. Black plums, black and bing cherry, cassis and blueberries all came through showing another example of how well Bordeaux grapes grow and thrive in the Languedoc-Roussillion.