Domaine La Croix-Belle
2004 Coteaux du Languedoc
Red Blend •Appellation Coteaux du Languedoc Controlee
What We Say
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Mission Codename: The Beautiful Cross
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Acquire a lovely southern French blend at an unbelievable price.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Domaine La Croix Belle
Wine Subject: 2004 Coteaux du Languedoc
Winemaker: Jacques & Francoise Boyer
The Languedoc-Roussillon, located along France’s southwestern Mediterranean coast is
the fifth largest wine producing regions in France. Primarily influenced by the cooler coastal climate, vast rolling plains leading up to rocky hillsides, and rich alluvial soils, the wines from here range from affordable Vins de Pays (VDP) to rich complex ultra-premier AOC cuvees of the local varietals.
Today’s selection from the Coteaux du Languedoc AOC is a collection of vineyard areas that stretches across the three departments of the Languedoc-Roussillon region. The red wines of this AOC are rich and full-bodied and must include Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre as well as a small percentage of the lesser varietals such as Cinsault or Carignon.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep burgundy with garnet hues and a clear dark core. Along the edges the garnet color fades to ruby and pink just at the very edge of the glass. When swirled slow fat legs inch down the side of the glass.
Smell – Well developed with complex notes of soft floral violets and roses; herbal tomato vine; and a hint of dark chocolate layered over aromas of black-cherry and ripe plum. A touch of flinty minerality and a rich meaty quality also emerge as this wine opens up and breathes.
Feel – An initially smooth and dry attack that is immediately followed by fine grained firm tannins, a touch of medium spice and a slightly tangy acidity that makes the mouth-feel of this full-bodied wine bold but also shows finesse.
Taste – Well integrated flavors of dark cherries, both tart and ripe; ripe plum; fresh Provencial herbs and dark chocolate mix with hints of mild oak, a touch of toasty oak and unique mineral and meaty qualities.
Finish – Long and rich with lingering old-world herbal and spice flavors followed with ripe fruit and a rich meatiness.
Conclusion – The 2004 La Croix Belle Coteaux du Languedoc is a lovely old-world classic blend that is truly representative of the region’s finest wines. Soft and pretty on the nose, bold on the palate and lingering on the finish. What else could you possibly want? At the price, this wine not only can be an every day bottle, but with the wide array of unique aromas and flavors makes this wine ideal for food pairing.
After our recent visit to France we were happy to have met several French families. This of course gives the double benefit of being able to visit great off the beat path places while we traveled but also the joy of having our French friends visit us here in the United States.
Just recently we had a great visit by one of our new friends. Originally from northeastern France, these covert operatives now lived in the southwest, along the Mediterranean coast. While here we had the joy of take a short flight up and over the vineyards of Santa Ynez just after bud-break. It was one of those perfect Southern California days that perhaps is only topped by a perfect day in the south of France.
Not to be outdone, (and after the flight), we exchanged our impressions of the flight and a couple bottles. I had brought a bottle of California’s classic, an Old Vine Zinfandel (soon to be featured), and they had brought today’s featured selection from Domaine Le Croix Belle as representative of the Languedoc-Roussillon.
While the wines were completely different in style, tradition, varietals and just about everything else, the one thing they had in common was the fact that there is no better way to toast good friends and share the good life than with a lovely bottle of wine.
A votre santé!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the vineyards of Domaine La Croix Belle can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Awards & Accolades:
90 Points – Wine Spectator – A brooding, muscular red, with concentrated flavors of roasted plum, sun-dried tomatoes and mineral. The rich, meaty finish shows chocolate and spice. Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Cinsault. Drink now through 2013. 1,000 cases made. –KM
About This Wine:
Luscious, rich and full-bodied, with layers of dark plum, chocolate, cassis and brandied cherry flavors. Muscular structure, with plenty of smoke and bittersweet chocolate on the finish. Kim Marcus
Food Pairing: Grilled or roasted red meat, lamb, strong or soft cheese.
About The Winery:
We have cared for this vineyard from father to son, so as a mere link in this chain, we want to entrust you with our determination to produce the best of all wines. We thank you for sharing this passion with us, it is our driving force.
We invite you to come and discover our everyday life.- Jacques et Françoise BOYER
History: Vines have always been part of the Languedoc historic heritage. Traces of wild vine leaves, dated back to the Miocene period, have been found near Montpellier. Southern France wine growing history only really started during Antiquity and the Roman Empire. The wine economy rose there with the reign of Auguste, légionnaires veterans were awarded land in the Narbonnaise region, where they grew vine and olive trees.
This vineyard stretches from the shores of the Mediterranean up to the Cévennes. The land of Domaine La Croix Belle is part of it. While ploughing in depth a parcel of our vineyard in the early seventies, two roman marble heads were found.
We associate a three-century-old family know-how, guaranteeing a continuous farming of Domaine La Croix Belle vineyard, with modern winemaking methods in the winery, which allows us to constantly improve the quality of our wine. This subtle alchemy gives birth to wines of character and true originality.
The winery: Adapted a couple of times and thermo-regulated, with the last addition being a new winery facility to vinify each grape varietals separately, field by field.
Vats: Composed of a large variety of vats in terms of size and structure: stainless steel vats, concrete, wood, etc., and a set of old and new French oak barrels.
Harvest: Partly mechanical, but always hand picked for our premium cuvées.
Vinification: The harvest is destemmed, grapes are selected, pigeage and traditional remontage are performed for the red wines, temperature control and ageing on lees for the white wines. Pneumatic presses are used for good extraction and gentle handling of the vintage.
Blend: 40% Syrah, 20% Grenache, 20% Cinsault, 20% Mourvèdre
Soil: Clay and pebble
Yield: 40 Hl/Ha, harvested by hand
Vinification: 100% without bunches, in tank with long maceration (30 days minimum)
Maturation: 80% of the blend is aged in French oak barrels for 15 to 18 months. 20% in vat.