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  • Thursday, February 6, 2014

Domaine de l'Arjolle Wine Tasting

Domaine de l'Arjolle Wine Tasting
A I had the pleasure of attending the Domaine de l'Arjolle tasting hosted by their Ontario wine agent H.H.D. Imports. The tasting was held at the Summerhill LCBO, inside the Premium Tasting Room beside the Vintages section.

This Languedoc winery was formed in 1973 by brothers Prosper and Louis-Marie Teisserenc. That same year they planted their first vines - Cabernet Sauvignon - the fruits of which are now found in their very nice 2011 Cabernet (wine review below and my favourite wine of the session). During that same period, they also planted Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc.

In the mid-80's, soon after their brother-in-law Charles Duby and nephew Guilhem de Fozières joined the winery, Domaine de l'Arjolle subscribed to the Terra Vitis Charta for sustainable viticulture. Prosper's son Roland joined the team in 1986. In 2002, Proper's other son, Roch, and Louis-Marie's son, François, joined the family winery, making the total number of men running the show equal 7.

Geoffroy de La Besnardière describing sustainable viticulture at de l'Arjolle
Prosper has since retired, reducing the number to 6. However, Geoffroy de La Besnardière, who was leading our tasting on this day, is excited to bring that number back to 7, as he will officially become an associate at Domaine de l'Arjolle later this year.

As part of d'Arjolle's commitment to sustainable agriculture via the Terra Vitis charter, they produce their own compost using goat manure, while also using earthworms (instead of machinery) to improve and aerate the soil. They are also currently undergoing certification for biodiversity.

It's interesting to note that this winery, unlike others in Languedoc (and perhaps the world?) produce an equal amount of red and white table wines. Also, l'Arjolle is the only winery in all of France to make a Zinfandel. It is nothing like what you may have tasted from California, but is very good. I very much prefer this style of Zinfandel over the sweetish versions from Cali. They also make a Carménère which, even though it's considered to be one of the original 6 grapes from Bordeaux, is now not commonly found throughout France, let alone in Languedoc.

The two wines listed below with the 6-digit LCBO product number can be purchased at the LCBO - click the link to view inventory in your area. Joining the 2011 Cabernet as my two favourite wines of the tasting was the 2013 Equilibré Viognier-Sauvignon - I can only hope the LCBO brings both of these to their stores so you can taste these wonderful wines for yourself. And if they don't bring them in, you can order them privately, along with the other wines not found at the LCBO through the agent H.H.D. Imports Inc.

Domaine de l'Arjolle Wine Lineup

Tasting Notes:
L'ARJOLLE SAUVIGNON BLANC-VIOGNIER 2012 - Côtes de Thongue, Midi, France (#348904) (XD) - $11.95
60/40 blend led by Sauvignon Blanc. Medium-high intensity aromas with the Viognier dominant consisting of herbal, anise, fennel, minerals, and some lime from the Sauvignon Blanc. Palate expresses more of the Sauvignon Blanc with notes of gooseberry, kiwi, herbal, lees and hints of spice. It's medium-bodied with fresh acidity and a medium-long finish. Round mouthfeel and easy drinking. Would pair well with seafood. Part of the LCBO General List and widely available. Pretty good for $11.95. Score: 88 pts

DOMAINE DE L'ARJOLLE EQUILIBRÉ VIOGNIER-SAUVIGNON 2013 - Côtes de Thongue, Midi, France (XD) - $15.95
Blend of 60% Viognier, 35% Sauvignon Blanc and 5% Sauvignon Gris. Fresh gooseberry, kiwi and cat pee aromas of medium intensity, along with hints of herbal and lees. Medium-full bodied with very nice aroma replays. Shows good complexity and is very balanced, with mouth-watering acidity and a long, slightly creamy finish. Enjoy over the next 2 years. Score: 89+/90 pts

L'ARJOLLE MERLOT-CABERNET 2013 - Côtes de Thongue, Midi, France (#) (XD) - $11.95
Bottled only 3 weeks ago, this 60/40 blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon has a nose of very fresh herbal and eucalyptus aromas. It is light-to-medium bodied with oak, fresh red currant, cassis, and hints of dried fruit on the palate. Easy drinking with ripe tannins and a lingering finish. Evident alcohol, but not intrusive. Chill slightly. Score: 86 pts

DOMAINE DE L'ARJOLLE CABERNET-MERLOT 2012 - Côtes de Thongue, Midi, France (#) (XD) - $15.95
Blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot. Medium intensity aromas of oak, crushed red fruit and hints of cassis. Medium+ bodied with ripe tannins that are a bit chalky. Clean flavours of red currants, vanilla and hints of mocha. Balanced acids and a medium-length finish. Score: 87 pts

Z DE L'ARJOLLE ZINFANDEL 2011 - Vin de France, Midi (#346072) (XD) - $19.95
Was released in Vintages January 4th and is still currently in stock at the LCBO. Contains 10% Cab Sauv. Medium intensity aromas of barnyard, oak, plum and dark fruits. Medium-bodied with big, chalky tannins. Aromas replay in the mouth and are joined by herbal and cassis notes. Good acids and a long finish with some heat. Big wine that will age 4-5 years. Score: 88 pts

K DE L'ARJOLLE CARMÉNÈRE 2010 - Vin de France, Midi (#) (XD) - $19.95
Medium intensity aromas of fresh herbal and vegetal notes typical of Carménère, plus some undertones of oak. Medium-bodied with an initial burst of spice that gives way to aroma replays and hints of mocha. Taut, firm tannins with mouth-watering acidity and long finish that shows some heat. Score: 87 pts

DOMAINE DE L'ARJOLLE CABERNET 2011 - Côtes de Thongue, Midi, France (#) (XD) - $21.95
70/30 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Medium-high intensity aromas consisting of oak, dark currant, cassis and black cherry. Full-bodied with a smooth and lush mouthfeel. Black cherry, oak spice, milk chocolate and hints of vanillan on the palate. Nicely balanced with fresh acids. Has good structure for ageing and a long, smooth oak and spice tinged finish. Enjoyable now, but will reward 3-5 years ageing. Score: 90 pts

Wine Label of 2013 Domaine De L'Arjolle Equilibré Viognier-SauvignonWine Label of 2011 Domaine De L'Arjolle Cabernet

Geoffroy de La Besnardière and the History of l'Arjolle


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