2009 L'oustal Blanc Minervois 'giocoso'
black currant, blackberry, dust, leather, currant, blueberry, strawberry, cherry, raspberry, licorice, anise, vanilla and musk
vanilla, toast, smoke, tobacco, dark fruit, red fruit, spice box, cedar, violet, rose petal, oak, mushroom, game, tar and dust
"65% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 15% Carignan. Lightly inky nose. Very cool - low serving temperature suits all this Grenache - and a little chewy and hot on the end. Not gracious. Drink 2012-2016. (JR)" - 15.5 out of 20 points, Jancis Robinson's Purple Pages
"Claude and Isabel Fonquerle began farming Minervois La Liviniere in 2002, in partnership with oenologist Philippe Cambie of Chateauneuf du Pape. (They also have a sliver of acreage near one of their two facilities, in the St. Chinian appellation.) Nearly all of their vines are old and head pruned. Fruit is rigorously selected at picking, chilled overnight, and then sorted twice more by bunch and berry before crushing, and fermentative skin contact can run for one or two months! "While Chateauneuf remains the source of my orientation," says Claude, "Burgundy is my inspiration. The purity of fruit and the minerality in those wines is something magical. Think of Henri Jayer!""
"I've heard that Burgundy line the world over, and I'm not sure to what extent I'd call these wines "Burgundian." But purity of fruit and elements one can only describe as "mineral," they surely display in abundance. It would be less misleading - and no exaggeration - to say that this team has already redefined the potential of Minervois, and bottled what are almost certainly the finest and most exciting wines ever grown in that appellation, not to mention their representing extraordinary values. This is not the same as saying "of that appellation," incidentally, because not all L'Oustal Blanc wines follow the blends permitted or the protocol prescribed for Minervois. The Fonquerle's mutual inspiration and admiration with horn player Jacques Adnet of the Paris Opera has resulted in the re-christening of their upper-level cuvees with names inspired by music."
Not all L'Oustal Blanc wines follow the blends permitted or the protocol prescribed for Minervois. A case in point is their remarkable whites, vinified in new and once-used Vosges demi-muids, and built around a rare stand of Grenache Gris, planted in 1948 under the direction of Baron Leroy (of Chateauneuf and A.O.C. fame) for blending with Grenache (the parcel that now informs Fonquerle's Prima Dona - see below) to make fortified sweet wine. Macabeu plays a bit part in this l'Oustal white. Surely it's no coincidence that what I unhesitatingly call the most exciting whites in the Languedoc share these two cepages with the most profoundly delicious whites of Roussillon. "Well, after all," Fonquerle says when I point this out (discounting the Macabeu), "most of the world's great wines are mono-cepage." - David Schildknecht, The Wine Advocate
This wine was also rated 89 points in the Wine Spectator.