2010 Domaine l'Oustal Blanc Minervois Giocoso
Expert Rating
RP 92-93+ points
(Read the full review below)
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Peter Weygandt and Claude Fonquerle Parker's 92-93+ Top Rhone Bargain of 2010

If you've never visited the sun-bleached backroads of the Minervois, it's time to book a trip. Set almost equidistant between Narbonne and the fortified town of Carcassonne, the tiny hamlet of La Livinière seems locked in time, harkening back to the days of Pagnol and Fernandel.

The 500 inhabitants of the village share a thick local accent, their French almost incomprehensible to the untrained ear. The medieval stone village is dominated by the requisite church and its striking stone tower. There's one bakery, a restaurant, a general store, a post office — and then there's the white house ("l'Oustal Blanc" in Patois) at the edge of town, where some of the most richly concentrated, mercurial reds of the magical 2010 vintage were crafted.

Renowned importer Peter Weygandt discovered Claude Fonquerle's l'Oustal Blanc in the summer of 2005. Fonquerle had just formed an alliance with Robert Parker's soon-to-be-named Winemaker of the Year, Philippe Cambie. Weygandt got off to a fast start, as Cambie and Fonquerle quickly garnered raves from The Wine Advocate. Over the course of the next years, Fonquerle steadily refined and honed this luscious blend — culminating with the harvest of September 2010.

The Wine Advocate called Fonquerle's small-lot blends the "most exciting wines ever grown in the [Minervois] appellation," adding that l'Oustal Blanc's ethereal aromatics have invited comparisons to Burgundy — some calling the exquisitely chiseled, red-fruit gems "the Vosne-Romanée of the south."

In Parker's exhaustive coverage of the magnificent 2010 vintage, just five under-$20 wines would flirt with 94 points. Now l'Oustal Blanc Giocoso joins La Janasse in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Pesquié in Gigondas at the top of that bargain list.

The 2010 L'Oustal Blanc Giacoso is a stunning mix of old-vine Grenache and Carignan, plumped up with plush Syrah. The Wine Advocate described an "improbable combination of richness with vivacity. Black raspberry and elderberry preserves are complemented by smoky black tea, brown spices," before lobbing on that 92-93+ point score.

Tasting Notes

2010 Domaine l'Oustal Blanc Minervois Giocoso
"In a close approximation to what will be bottled around May of next year, l'Oustal Blanc's 2010 Minervois Giocoso features roughly two-thirds Grenache and the rest Syrah and Carignan. Even by the exalted standards of this estate, here is an uncommonly fine, otherwise improbable combination of richness with vivacity. Black raspberry and elderberry preserves are complemented by smoky black tea, brown spices, iodine, and a salinity that serves for invigorating and mouthwatering as well as strikingly sustained persistence. This should be worth following for a decade."
92-93+ points -- Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate


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