Vincent Licciardi and his wife Laurence farm a total of 32 hectares of vines around the sleepy village of Moux, in the foothills of the Montagne d'Alaric, between Carcassone and Narbonne. We first visited the estate in June 2012, en route from a week's holiday in the Ariège region to our second week in Faugères. And although our rather fraught journey (including a horrendous traffic jam on the autoroute) made us around 2 hours late for our appointment, we were treated to an excellent 4-course lunch, including an absolutely wonderful summer truffle risotto, accompanied by virtually the full range of Prieuré Saint Marie d'Albas wines. I have to say, it would be difficult to find a more friendly and welcoming couple than the Licciardis - and their wines (as with Laurence's home cooking) were all delicious!
Later the same year, we imported our first batch of wines from the estate and they proved very popular with customers who tried them. And yet, for some reason (mainly due to geographical location and the associated logistics of importing mixed pallets from more than one grower) we didn't manage to make a follow-up order..... until now. And we are so glad we did, because this latest batch of wines are just as lovely - perhaps even more so - as when we first tasted them.
The vines at Prieuré Saint Marie d'Albas grow on a subsoil of limestone and clay and benefit from a terroir defined by the warm Mediterranean sun and the dry winds of the northerly Cers Tramontane. Sustainable viticultural practices are employed, with only minimal use of spraying in the vineyards, when absolutely necessary. The grapes are hand-picked at the height of their maturity (at yields averaging no more than 35 hl/ha) and are pre-selected during the harvest itself, prior to being vinified in such a way as to bring the best out of the fruit and yield genuinely expressive wines.
The reds are mainly vinified using the carbonic maceration method (i.e. whole bunches - a la Beaujolais) and manage to be at the same time rich but elegant, fruity and beautifully balanced - and always imbued with typical Languedoc warmth and spiciness. They also make a rather delicious Pinot Noir - indeed, one of the best we have tasted from anywhere in southern France. The white, based on Grenache Gris, is full of juicy citrus and tree fruit flavours. We now have a quintet of the latest releases in stock. Try them - you won't be disappointed!