Ermitage Du Pic St. Loup Coteaux du Languedoc Pic Saint Loup Tour de Pierre 2009
Rhone Red Blends from Languedoc-Roussillon, France
Nice, even color with purple highlights. Very expressive on the nose with notes of blackberry, raspberry and red currant. Nutmeg with a hint of slate comes through after aeration. The wine is big and delicious on entry. We again detect blackcurrants, blackberries and red currants with spicy notes and cinnamon.
The Wine Advocate - "The outstanding 2009 Pic St. Loup Tour de Pierres is composed of 50% Syrah, 40% Grenache and 10% Mourvedre. Its dense ruby/purple color is accompanied by abundant aromas of blackberries, cassis, charcoal, graphite and damp earth. Medium to full-bodied with silky tannins and a long finish, this big-time overachiever should drink nicely for 4-5 years. "
Ermitage Du Pic St. Loup Winery
Pic Saint Loup is an appellation named for the mountain 20 kilometers north of Montpellier. A huge landmark, it rises from the scrub and vine-covered plain like a colossal amphitheater, creating a unique microclimate which provides cooler temperatures and slightly greater rainfall. Such conditions are rare this far south, and are ideal for varieties like Syrah and Mourvedre, which gain complexity with a longer cooler growing season. The viticultural area of Pic Saint Loup is one of the cru of the Coteaux du Languedoc, along with other greater appellations along the Herault River Valley: Montpeyroux, Faugeres, and Saint-Chinian.
The vineyards are located in the foothills of the Pic Saint Loup Mountain, benfitting from a south-southwest exposure at altitudes of 100-300 meters. The soil vary, but include sand, schist, clay, and pebbles.
Several different wines are produced by the family, and all are vinified in the tradition of the Languedoc. Varietals are vinified separately, and later blended depending upon the cuvee. During vinification the must benefits from long maceration in order to obtain deeply colored and concentrated wines.
The domaine is owned by the Ravaille family, residents of the area for at least a thousand years. View all Ermitage Du Pic St. Loup Wines
About Languedoc-RoussillonView a map of Languedoc-Roussillon wineries (LAHN-guh-dock) (ROO-see-yohn) France. The region stretches along the land above the Mediterranean, bordered by the Rhone river on the east and almost reaching Spain on the west. Only 10% of the wines from the area are AC, with the remaining wines often landing in the Vin de Pays or Vin de Table category. Wines in the Vin de Pays category are classified here as Vin de Pays d'Oc.
Notable Facts80% of the wines here are red. The grapes of the neighboring Rhone region are popular, with the focus on Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Cinsaut and to a lesser extent, Carignan. White grapes include Rousanne, Marsanne, Clairette and other white Rhone varieties. Parts of the region are also enjoying success with international varieties like Merlot, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. For many of these international style wines, you'll see the grape variety on the label – very un-French, but since they qualify as Vin de Pays d'Oc, it's allowed. Not so for the AC wines of the region, which are relegated to using most of the regional varieties and labeling their bottles by region. Appellations in the Languedoc include Corbières, Minervois, Costières de Nimes, Banyuls and the largest of them all, Coteaux de Languedoc. Corbières and Minervois are found on the western side of the region and produce sometimes very concentrated red wines. Costières de Nimes lies just southwest of the Rhone and produces wines of comparable character. Banyuls creates decadent fortified wines with Grenache and Coteaux de Langeudoc does triple duty, using international and regional grapes to produce white, red and rose wines that are often fantastic values.
RoussillonA region located between the Spanish border and Languedoc, Roussillon is often mentioned in conjunction with Languedoc, but is an entirely separate, albeit smaller, area. Producing white, red and rose wines, Roussillon is in the Catalonia region, which bleeds into Spain and France. The area has equal amount of Spanish influence as it does French. It is most well-known for Banyuls, a potent dessert wine made from concentrated old-vine Grenache. Vines are old and planted on steep, rocky, terraced hillsides overlooking the coast. The region is also making still wines, mostly from Grenache but with a good amount of Carignan as well.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.