Possibly the best known of the 10 Grand Crus of the Languedoc, La Clape nonetheless remained a recent discovery for me–but what a discovery! At a recent tasting held by Winefield’s Auctioneers where such luminaries as Château Giscours 1975 and Château Palmer 1970 stood on the table, I found myself coming back repeatedly to taste the La Clape “La Falaise” 1998 from Château de la Negly.
Considered by many to be the red-headed stepchild of France, the Languedoc does not get its fair share of respect. But a simple google search will show you that Château de la Negly is an exception. I happened to be in the region, and decided to pay them a visit. I was greeted by the young Dylan Tabaret, who for the past eight months has been working for the Château as an apprentice.
I tasted a total of 11 wines by Negly, but it is important to note that only four of them are called La Clape, and this does not necessarily mean that they are the best wines. La Clape is a mountain just south of Narbonne and the legal requirements state that the whites must contain at least 40% Bourbolenc, while the reds must be an assemblage made principally from Grenache, Mourvèdre or Syrah. Other permitted grapes for the whites include Grenache blanc, Clairette, Marsanne, Roussanne, Rolle and Picpoul, and for the reds, Carignan and Cinsault. Any wines made from any other proportion of grapes fail to meet these regulations, but the result is deceiving. In fact, Negly’s top wines fall under the generic Côteaux du Languedoc appellation. more>>