Best buys | From the cellar: Domaine d’Aupilhac Montpeyroux 1992, Coteaux du Languedoc

Best buys

From the cellar: Domaine d’Aupilhac Montpeyroux 1992, Coteaux du Languedoc

One of the pleasures of being at our house in the Languedoc is diving into the cellar and fishing out old, overlooked bottles.

We normally open at least three on the basis that only one is likely to have survived. Last night it was this amazing 23 year old bottle from Sylvain Fadat of Domaine d’Aupilhac which was better than it had any right to be for its modest price tag and the fact that it was only his third vintage. I can’t remember what we paid for it but it would certainly have been well under £10.

There’s no back label so I can’t tell you exactly what the grapes were either but the current 2013 vintage is a blend of mourvèdre, syrah, carignan and grenache - in that order. The ageability is almost certainly due to the mourvèdre according to Doug Wregg of Aupilhac’s current importers Les Caves de Pyrène, a view that gave my husband particular satisfaction as he said it tasted to him like old Bandol.

The colour as you can see was still extraordinarily vivid - it was hardly faded - nor was the gentle, sweet, mellow, plummy fruit. And, more surprisingly still, it was only 12.5% in those days. (The current ABV is more like 14%-14.5%). Considering the conditions in which we keep our wine - not even a proper cellar but a dark, former kitchen with a dirt floor on the ground floor of an old village house its survival in such good condition was nothing short of miraculous*.

The current 2012 vintage is available from les Caves at Pyrene at £12.35 plus VAT (£14.82) or, if you want to sample an older vintage, Terroir Languedoc has the 2000 vintage for £11.95 and the 2006 for £10. You can also buy it direct from the domaine for €14.70 (£10.84 at the current rate of exchange). They have old vintages too.

(What did we eat with it? I’m embarrassed to say nothing grander than a vegetarian pizza we had so little hope of any of the wines being drinkable but it wasn’t a bad match. In an ideal world some roast or grilled lamb would have been a better foil.)

*although the website does say it will age from 4-20 years.

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