Looking at a map you would not normally assume that the area around Chateau Ricardelle, between Narbonne (11 Aude, Occitanie) and the Mediterranean would be suitable for fine wine production – along the coast the soils get sandier, it tends to be flat and the salt-laden winds off the sea can seriously damage the vine leaves.
But the sub-appellation of la Clape in the Coteaux du Languedoc is a major exception to this wisdom, primarily due to a massive outcrop of limestone rock – Montagne la Clape! (la Clape apparently means “the rock”!)

This mountain both shelters the vineyards from the sea and provides the neighbouring slopes with plenty of mineral richness to impart to the grapes.
The Cuvee Closablieres 2004 from Chateau Ricardelle was featured on a recent tasting of Languedoc wines . This is a blend of Grenache (40%), Syrah (30%), Carignan (30%), all of which are vinified separately in French oak, producing a glorious red which the chateau describes as its “seducteur” – and rightly so. Languedoc wines tend to be quite beefy, sometimes even a bit tough – but this wine had a wonderful balance of lush red fruits and spicy tannins all carefully blended to provide a smooth, elegant and delightful mouthful. I think what surprised me was its elegance, not something I generally associate with big Languedoc reds.

The Chateau also has accommodation available in the midst of the vineyards! -see Chateau Ricardelle

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