Château d’Anglès is located in the AOC of La Clape in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of southern France, an area of France with a history of over production, high volumes, low pricing and government instigated vine-pulling schemes. Why then, we hear you asking, are we interested?
That’s the past, and the future is very bright indeed for this part of the wine world. A somewhat overlooked region thanks to its chequered history, the quality drive by a new generation of producers is at a speed perhaps unseen by other French regions. Knowing this and keen to get under the hood, Glengarry GM Liz Wheadon ventured south earlier in the year after having been in Bordeaux to taste En Primeur.
A nice segue, as Château d’Angles was purchased and given a new lease of life by Eric Fabre when he ‘retired’ from his role of 20-plus years as winemaker at Château Lafite-Rothschild. While he was there, Eric was involved in many trials exploring new varieties. One that caught his attention was Mourvèdre; Eric was taken with the fruit profile and the impressive balance with its savoury overtones, along with the way the vine grew and its ability to express the terroir.
This, along with a desire to be somewhere warm and dry after many years in the Médoc, led Eric to Languedoc and specifically to the AOC of La Clape. Eric was joined there by his son, Vianney Fabre, who was for many years at Champagne Bollinger. With such a formidable pair working in tandem, the quality at Château d’Anglès is outstanding, as is the value these wines deliver.
The La Clape AOC is located not far from Narbonne towards the coast. The general area is mostly flat and sandy, and famous for its flamingo inhabitants. Very dry, with a fresh wind that keeps moisture off the vines, the conditions make organic viticulture a lot easier than it is in many other regions.
Sitting above the sandy flats is the AOC of La Clape, just 10km from the coast. Recognised as an AOC in 2015, the wines are creating quite a stir, critics even referring to La Clape as ‘the next Châteauneuf-du-Pape’. Indeed, the grape varieties grown bear some similarity to the Southern Rhône Valley: Grenache and Mourvèdre, with Syrah. Carignan and Cinsault are also permitted.
Grenache must in fact be 20% of the blend, a minimum of 70% of the wine must be from the GSM trio, with at least two featuring in the blend. The dominant white variety and the one that excites the team at Château d’Angles is the white Bourboulenc grape. You’ll also find Grenache Blanc, Picpoul, Rolle, Marsanne and Roussanne. Bourboulenc is a historic variety in the region, a late ripening variety that sets well and tends away from botrytis, with an ability to retain acidity even in warm climates.