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|92-93 Pts David Schildknecht - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
|Grenache / Garnacha, Syrah / Shiraz, Carignan / Carinena, Cinsault
92-93 Pts David Schildknecht - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
"From tank, the l'Oustal Blanc 2009 Minervois Giocoso - incorporating some Cinsault along with its usual Grenache, Syrah, and Carignan - is redolent of incense, freshly-baked ginger cookies, and confitured cherry and black raspberry. Thickly and seamlessly rich, it displays, surprisingly, no greater sense of superficial sweetness than the corresponding 2008 (the leavening or fluxing effect of the Cinsault perhaps decisive in this regard). For all of its high-alcohol richness this also evinces an uncanny sense of finishing buoyancy of a sort that growers are quick to attribute to the magic of chalk and clay. There is terrific grip and lingering spice here yet without any objectionable heat, while a sustained sense of salinity serves for saliva inducement. This ought to superbly for at least 6-8 years." (06/11)
93 Pts Jeb Dunnuck - The Rhone Report
"More refined, elegant, and lively, the 2009 Giocoso is a similar blend to the '08, yet has a splash of Cinsault that lends notable freshness to both the nose and palate. It shows superb complexity and beautiful purity of fruit, with more red berry and spice driven aromas to go with incredible minerality, spring flowers, seaweed, and licorice on both the nose and palate. Also full-bodied and elegant on the palate, with a balanced, juicy mouth feel, layers of ripe tannin, and fantastic precision and length on the finish, it blossoms over the evening and has serious class and depth. While the 08 has a certain southern Rhone like chewiness, the minerality and mouth feel here are almost reminiscent of a young Nebbiolo. It will benefit from another 1-2 years in the cellar, and drink nicely for over a decade." (03/13)
"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.