Back when I first started to visit the Languedoc in the 90s, the wines imported into the USA from the region of Pic Saint Loup were dominated by a few producers like Chateau La Roque, Chateau Lascaux, and L’Hortus. Sure there was the occasional Lancyre that found its way in, and others like Cazeneuve and Mas Bruguière had fleeting moments of visibility, but by and large, eventually it was the Kermit Lynch trio of Ermitage du Pic, Lascaux and La Roque plus L’Hortus that led the way.
The more I visited the hilltop region, the more I found other producers who were not only making wines on par with La Roque and Lascaux but like L’Hortus were forging their own path, finding a USA importer and making wines that stood out. Clos Marie was one of them.
The first tasting I had of Clos Marie came at a small roadside restaurant in Lauret, the town where Clos Marie is. From there, I drove to visit the winery, to end up tasting with the grandmother of Christophe Peyrus, tasting four or five wines that the small winery made. Eventually, a few importers started to bring Clos Marie into the USA, and it would show up here and there. Thankfully, the 2014 Clos Marie L’Olivette Pic Saint Loup is one of those now available.
Here’s a typical Pic Saint Loup red blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre, but unlike Mourvedre from other parts of the Languedoc where Mourvedre is usually the second or third grape in the blend, in the Pic, the Mourvedre take the reigns. I’m not sure why, but for some reason when it comes from the vineyards that dot the mountain top Pic region, the Mourvedre has a certain quality that puts it on par with the great Mourvedre vineyards of Bandol.
Just as there are striking differences between wines from Burgundy and Bordeaux or the Rhone and Bandol, Pic St. Loup wines are different from other parts of the Occitaine. Often they are more akin to Gigondas and Vacqueyras, where the stony hillsides and ancient hillsides produce wines of great power from their chalky base, than neighboring villages where the wines are more lush and juicy when young.
The 2014 Clos Marie L’Olivette is that kind of wine. As the small winery’s entry-level wine, here’s a ready to drink now.
It’s a big gun red that is full of black raspberry, ripe blueberry, black pepper and a lush strawberry base that all blends with the Languedoc’s sister to Provencale herbal aromas, la Garrigue. That’s where the whiff of rosemary, thyme, and sage hits the fruit, giving the wine the telltale sign that it’s from the Pays d’Oc.
And for those factors and many more, it’s why the 2014 Clos Marie L’Olivette Pic Saint Loup is today’s WineSiders’ Wine of The Day.