The Jourdan family has been established in Sommières, between Nîmes and Montpellier, since 1937. Endowed with an unusually high percentage of old vines, they make an array of blessedly old-fashioned and unaffected wines exclusively from grape varieties indigenous to the region. All wines are fermented and aged in concrete vats. They make a special point of not releasing their wines until they consider them ready to drink. Such resistance to the “latest vintage” syndrome naturally endears them to us. But, more importantly, we were utterly convinced by the purity and restraint of their various cuvées, which really offer something new and different to the range of Languedoc wines.
(Coteaux du Languedoc – 40% Grenache, 40% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre, 10% Carignan) Stylish, unemphatic wine made from low-yielding old vines, some dating back to 1935. In a region where producers are often tempted to justify higher prices by the artifice of profound colour and heavy oak, it is refreshing to find a wine such as this that is so comfortable in its own skin. Honestly spicy, just firm enough and crucially passing the second glass test with aplomb. Indeed, one of the singular qualities of these wines is their ability to swell and open with air, even two or three days after first being broached.
(I.G.P. Hérault) Cinsault is one of those overlooked grapes most usually consigned to oblivion as rosé. In the skilled hands of the Jourdans, however, it proves to be a wine of irresistible charm. The color is light, to be sure, but the heady strawberry scent is beguiling and the 40 year-old vines lend to the palate a startling intensity of sweet fruit flavour, cloaked in the gentlest imaginable veil of silk. It is hard to imagine anyone disliking such a pleasing wine.
In the pre-phylloxera era, Aramon was the variety most widely planted in the Languedoc. Today it is a relic, cultivated by a mere handful of diehards. In the hands of the Jourdans, it renders an unexpectedly fine and nervy rosé, pale in colour, fairly stony in effect but with a pleasingly fresh sour cherry flavour and an impressive vinosity in this new vintage.