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The plan was to scoot up to London for an hour or two at the PIC Wines tasting before a jaunt down the Northern Line to join Planet of the Grapes for their first public tasting. Sadly the, slightly chaotic, PIC tasting went on too long - I had to give the excellent array of wines full attention after all - so I ran out of time and didn't make the second session. Sorry to the Planet-people; hopefully next time.

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Eleven wines were opened by the delightful Julie, partner in the business. They ranged from an interesting Viognier based blend (6.80) through to a superb Grenache-Syrah blend (at 17.75 a bottle) and ended with a sherbet-drenched Muscat de Frontignan (9.40). Many of these wines are available in premixed 'discovery' cases.

Domaine Font-Mars Picpoul de Pinet, 2004, Languedoc, France.
6.80 per bottle.
New to the Pic Wines list. Medium-bodied and crisp with simple lemon and lime flavours with a pea-green edge. Refreshing. Would make a great match with seafood. 100% Picpoul Blanc.
Scribblings Rating - 88/100

Terre Mgre La Galopine, 2003, Vin de Pays d'Oc, France.
9.80 per bottle.
Gentle restrained nose. Similar palate too with pear and apple flavours and a touch of sherbet complexity. The producer was one of the first in the region to plant Viognier. It is highly drinkable, but I doubt I would recognise it as a Viognier. Many at the tasting thought it a very good, reliable glugger. Thought it was a touch expensive myself. Alcohol 13.5%. Viognier 55%, Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Clairette.
Scribblings Rating - 86/100

Mas Brunet Ros, 2004, Languedoc, France.
This was superb. Gorgeous pale rose colour with hints of orange. Pure strawberry fruit on the nose and on the weighty palate. A touch of sweetness giving way to a dry finish with a suspicion of tannin. Excellent and one of the best ross I have had this year. Long lasting flavours. Alcohol 13.5%.Syrah 75%, Cinsault 15%, Grenache 10%.
Scribblings Rating - 94/100

Chteau Laquirou Champ Rouge, 2003, La Clape, France.
Good deep spicy nose but quite light on the palate with gentle tannins. Deep black-fruits appear on the finish. Interesting. A lightness that could make the wine suitable for chilling. A sprinkling of vanilla add to the spicy cherry flavours - perhaps an edge of liquorice in there too. Grenache 30%, Syrah 30%, Carignan 25%, Mourvedre 15%.
Scribblings Rating - 88/100

Domaine Navarre Le Laouzil
Le Laouzil Bottle
Domaine Navarre Le Laouzil, 2003, St Chinian, France.
Thierry Navarre utilises bio-dynamic methods of viticulture; an organic and holistic approach to wine-making. A little swirling revealed a ripe blackberry led nose, typical Grenache with hints of spice adding complexity from the Syrah. The palate is impressive. Rich, full with well-integrated tannins. 'Sun-dried loganberries' someone bellowed. Smooth, rich fruit and hugely drinkable. Grenache 60%, Syrah 5%, Carignan 35%. Laouzil means schist (shale) in Occitan - the soil type that forms the terraces of this vineyard.
Scribblings Rating - 94/100

Domaine Fraisse Fleur de Cuve, 2001, Faugres, France.
Superb aroma - big, ripe brimming with juicy blackcurrants and blackberries. Super palate too; deep and spicy with a dark chocolate complexity. Deep spicy finish with hints of cinnamon and a meaty character emerging. Excellent. Alcohol 13.5%. Syrah 80%, Carignan 20%.
Scribblings Rating - 94/100

Chteau Ricardelle Closablires, 2002, Coteaux du Languedoc, France.
9.25 per bottle.
Very deep colour with a jammy aroma. A serious, tannic finish but backed up with rich full spicy flavours complementing the black fruits and cherries. Quite full and heavy. Perhaps a little young at the moment. Alcohol 13.5%. Grenache 40%, Syrah 30%, Carignan 30%.
Scribblings Rating - 90/100

Mas Bruguire La Grenadire, 2003, Pic St Loup, France.
The estates flagship blend - and I love it! Mouthfilling and concentrated flavours, a tad young still with plentiful tannins. But this backup with rampant, vibrant fruit flavours and herb/spice complexity of cloves and floral hints. Lovely. Alcohol 14%. Syrah 60%, Grenache 20%, Mourvdre 20%.
Scribblings Rating - 94/100

Domaine Navarre Cuve Olivier, 2001, St Chinian, France.
Another superb deep red. A multi-award winning wine and a big boy too. Impressive concentrated fruit finishing with chunky tannins. Liquorice edge, ripe, deep and serious. Excellent length. Alcohol 14.5%. Grenache 30% Syrah 34%, Carignan 33%.
Scribblings Rating - 92/100

Mas de l'Ecriture Les Penses, 2001, Coteaux du Languedoc, France.
A divided reaction to this wine - not because of the taste but the price. Is it worth the extra 5 a bottle over those priced at 11.55 or less? Those with deep bank balances thought so as the cheque books emerged. I thought it was superb; expensive admittedly but a perfectly poised and well integrated wine. Coffee edge to the flavours, spice and perhaps a hint of caramel. Delicious and very classy. Grenache 50%, Syrah 15%, Carignan 20%, Cinsault 15%.
Scribblings Rating - 92/100

Chteau de La Peyrade Sol Invictus, 2004, Muscat de Frontignan, France.
I was a little underwhelmed with this at first - a pale lemon colour and a gently sweet palate. Then as more was sipped a fresh nut enhanced lemon meringue pie flavours emerge - plenty of pure Muscat character with sherbet and sweet limes backed up with a cinnamon twist. Very sherbety finish. Muscat 100%.
Scribblings Rating - 90/100

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