Château de la Negly “La Falaise” 2010
Hailing from the village of Fleury, in Languedoc’s AOP La Clape, Château de la Negly “La Falaise” 2010, is a blend of 55% Syrah, 40% Grenache and 5% Mourvedre. A 50ha estate, Negly overlooks the Mediterranean, which sits past the rows of old-vine Mourvedre that reside in front of the 18th century Château. At the base of the hill La Clape, which was once an island during the Gallo-Roman era, there are rocky soils of sandy loam and decomposing sandstone with alluvial deposits. Home to winemakers since Roman times, Château de la Negly has gone through a few incarnations, owned by the Rosset family for several decades, until Jean Paux-Rosset took the place of his then recently deceased father in 1992.
Investing in the cellars and vineyards, Jean reduced yields and increased the quality of fruit selection, which led to the estate’s production of three high-profile red wines, including “La Falaise” in 1996.
Old-vine Mourvedre outside of Château de la Negly
In such close proximity to the sea, the property sees high humidity that’s kept in check by the Tramontane wind, which comes in dry from the north. And though often thought of as one of the Old World’s warmer wine yielding regions, Languedoc actually sees lower average temperatures than California’s Central Valley. With yields that range from 35hl/ha to 10hl/ha for the top cuvées, Chateau de la Negly hand-harvests only perfectly ripe bunches that go into 8kg trays, before being brought to the sorting table, where they are picked through once again.
To avoid any traces of oxidation, Negly whisks its small crates of grapes to the cellar within 45 minutes of harvest. Here, the Syrah is deposited at 2-4 degrees C into oak cone-shaped tanks (tronc conique) where it’s topped with CO2 and punched down daily for four to five days. Then fermented at 15-22C, with daily punchdowns, the temperature for the Syrah increases to 28 degrees C for an extended maceration for 45 days.
Château de la Negly
For “La Falaise” the Syrah spends 12 months in 300L barrels, which are from Bordeaux and are dry but not toasted, while the Grenache and Mourvedre are aged for 12 months in oak foudres.
Deep and rich with savory and herbaceous notes of plum, cassis, chocolate and tobacco leaf, the Château de la Negly “La Falaise” 2010 is more muscular than fat with balancing acidity that lifts mid-palate and leads into a spicy finish that lingers with fresh leathery tannins. As summer quickly turns to fall, it’s the perfect wine to take the edge off of the transition, leaving us longing for both the warm days of the Languedoc and for a place by the fire on a chilly September night.