Domaine de L’Hortus is set in an almost impossibly beautiful part of the Languedoc and is a true family affair with father Jean Orliac now having taken a back seat the domaine is run by his four children – Yves, Marie, Francois and Martin. They are undoubtedly one of the finest producers in this enclave that until recently was ‘Coteaux du Languedoc AOC’ (now just ‘Languedoc AOC’). This is one of those estates that just expect to try and do things right rather than cutting corners so perhaps it’s not surprising that despite buying the property in 1980 as a piece of barren scrub it took until 1990 for the first wines to be made.
As well as the wines of Hortus, the Orliac family make wines at Clos du Prieur also in Pic St Loup (headed by Marie) and good value range of wines under the ‘Le Loup’ label.
Loup y es-tu Blanc, Vin de Pays de Val de Montferrand 2014
A white blend based mainly on Viognier this is soft and slightly perfumed on the nose with citrus, and apricot blossom notes. Elegant and excellent value for money. 90
Bergerie de l’Hortus Blanc, Vin de Pays de Val de Montferrand 2013
A blend of 30% Rousanne, 20% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Viognier, 10% Sauvignon Gris, 10% Chardonnay, 5% Petit Manseng, 5% Bourboulenc. Fresh with a lightness and airy feeling yet at the same time concentrated. Mineral with bright citrus fruit, pear, peach and melon with honeyed richness running through it’s core. It’s long and precise on the finish. 91
Grande Cuvee Blanc, Vin de Pays de Val de Montferrand 2013
70% Chardonnay, 30% Viognier. Deep and quite profound lovely richness and complexity. This has apricot, peach, pear and melon fruit with citrus and green apple. Plenty of minerality this is long and mouthfilling and I love it. 93
Le Loup dans la Bergerie Rouge, Vin de Pays de Montferrand 2013
40% Syrah, 30% Merlot, 30 Grenache. Very fresh fruited with good concentration but relatively simply. It is however incredibly drinkable – one of those wines where the bottle is gone before you realise it! Good length. 89
Bergerie de l’Hortus Rouge, Pic St Loup – Languedoc 2013
60% Syrah, 20% Mourvedre, 20% Grenache. This has concentration and real depth. It’s not big and jammy but rather elegant and restrained. Fresh with a touch of savoury character this is a lovely elegant style of wine with good length and complexity. 92
Grande Cuvee Rouge, Pic St Loup, Langudoc 2012
60% Syrah, 35% Mourvedre, 5% Grenache. This is really deep with bright cherry notes, plenty of pepper and some savoury earthy notes. Thyme and oregano mix with fruit and mineral notes in a really complex wine that has fine ripe but ever so slightly rustic tannins. A pretty complete wine. 93