France’s southern swath of vineyards is home to many overlooked gems. Among them is Domaine de Montcalmès, owned and run by Frédéric Pourtalie, who farms 16 hectares of vines around the towns of Puéchabon and Aniane in the Languedoc region.
Pourtalie worked with renowned Northern Rhône vigneron Alain Graillot and other producers in the Rhône and Languedoc before deciding to start his own estate, which debuted officially in the 1999 vintage. Previously, the Pourtalie family had been selling their grapes off to the local co-op.
The 2007 La Sy bottling, which is 100 percent Syrah, is sourced from vines planted on a north-facing limestone plateau, which results in the wine’s sleek, racy minerality. While that characteristic takes the lead, it does so without making the wine overly taut and angular; mouthwatering black cherry and lavender notes emerge through the finish, which fleshes out more as it airs in the glass. I scored this red 91 points, non-blind, and its $22 price is very modest for its quality.
WineSpectator.com members: Get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated reds from the Languedoc region of France.