Leon Stolarski Fine Wines
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Online Wine Shop  >  Wines by grower - alphabetical  >  Combe Blanche, Domaine - Minervois La Livinière

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Domaine Combe Blanche
Domaine Combe BlancheGuy Vanlancker in l'Enfer vineyard - February 2004
Guy Vanlancker is one of the most innovative and quality-minded producers in the Languedoc. He produces a range of Vins de Pays, Minervois and Minervois La Liviniere wines that represent excellent value for money and show how the best wines from this region have the ability to mature gracefully.

Guy is a Belgian former schoolteacher, who moved to the south of France in the late 1980's, in search of a complete change in lifestyle. He bought some old vines and, at vintage time, took the grapes to the local co-operative. Eventually, he bought some equipment and began to make a little wine himself. He now makes all the wine, in his own "cellar" (actually an old stone building, on three levels, crammed with barrels, vats and other winemaking equipment). The cellar is situated in the centre of the village of La Liviniere, in the heart of the "appellation" to which the village lends it's name - Minervois La Liviniere.




A cold February day in the l'Enfer vineyard, with the hills of Haut Languedoc in the background First sign of spring in the La Liviniere vineyards With some of the best vineyard sites, situated on hills above the village, the area in production at Combe Blanche is now around 15 hectares. Yields are low, ensuring full flavours and good concentration in the wines. (For the technically minded, average yields in Languedoc average 50-60 Hectolitres per hectare. At Combe Blanche, yields average around 30 h/l ha).

Guy Vanlancker and Diane Stolarski tasting barrel samples in the cellar - August 2003 The red Minervois and La Liviniere wines are blended from the traditional southern grape varieties of Syrah, Grenache, Carignan and Cinsault. Each variety is vinified and aged separately, some in oak barrels and some in vat, before blending and bottling. The La Liviniere wines are usually released at three years old, whilst the Minervois are released a little earlier. Guy also has Roussanne, Viognier, Pinot Noir and Tempranillo, from which he makes a varity of brilliant Vins de Pays. He likes to experiment, so he makes different cuvées in different years, depending on the style and quality of the vintage. 

In her book "The Wines Of The South Of France", Rosemary George M.W is fulsome in her praise when describing a tasting session in M.Vanlancker's cellar of various vintages of the different wines. She finishes by saying... "There is no doubt that Guy Vanlancker deserves greater recognition, for his wines are stylish and individual."  We couldn't agree more. Try them for yourself and see what great terroir and top-class winemaking can achieve in the Languedoc.

Domaine Combe Blanche Four A Chaux Roussanne 2015 IGP Pays de l'Hérault
La Combe Blanche Four A Chaux Roussanne 2015
Vintage
2015

Region Côtes du Brian, in the Minervois
Colour/Style Dry white - medium to full bodied, aged 3 months in oak
Grapes 100% Roussanne
Alcohol (a.b.v)
13.5%
Food Fish with rich sauces, chicken, pork, paella, cheese
Next day
As good
Drink Over the next 3 to 5 years
Heady aromas of honeysuckle, peach, apricot and soft citrus, with subtle notes of vanilla, garam masala, grass and wet stone. The palate too shows plenty of gently stony/saline minerality, with flavours of mandarin orange, nectarine, apricot and soft spice, making for a fresh, yet rather exotic wine of some complexity. The texture is medium-rich, slightly nutty and beautifully focused, with plenty of soft citrus acidity and a hint of grape tannin grip, with a very long, tangy finish. Although this is far from being a simple quaffer, it is actually really good to drink on its own. That said, it has enough body and complexity to match strongly-flavoured fish dishes, paella, lemon-infused roast chicken, or perhaps even pork with a sweet-sour apple sauce. Many a Southern Rhône white (including white Chateauneuf du Pape) would kill for such quality, freshness and verve as this! It is excellent to drink now, but will probably age and evolve nicely for a few years yet - but why wait? Top marks for another stunner, from our favourite winemaker and old friend, Guy Vanlancker.
 

Price:  £11.50 (Including: VAT at 20%)

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Domaine Combe Blanche Calamiac Terroir 2014 Minervois
Domaine Combe Blanche Minervois 2014
Vintage
2014
Region Minervois, north-east of Carcassonne
Colour/Style Dry red - medium/full bodied
Grapes Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah
Alcohol (a.b.v)
14.0%
Food Red meats, game, cheese, pizza.
Next day
Best on day 1, but still good for a couple of days
Drink Now or over the next 3 to 5 years
Bright cherry red in colour, with a pot-pourri of damson, cherry and raspberry fruit aromas, crushed nettles, spices and garrigue herbs. The palate has plenty of bright, succulent red and black fruit flavours, with earthy undertones, a backbone of ripe, tea-like tannins, juicy acidity and a long, spicy, gently warming finish. This is the sort of wine that has you sticking your nose in the glass and keeps you coming back for more. Textbook Minervois.
 

Price:  £9.95 (Including: VAT at 20%)

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Domaine Combe Blanche La Galine 2014 Minervois La Liviniere
Domaine Combe Blanche La Galine 2014
Vintage
2014

Region Minervois La Liviniere, north-east of Carcassonne
Colour/Style Dry red - medium/full bodied, part aged in old(er) oak
Grapes 50% Syrah, plus Grenache, Carignan and Cinsault
Alcohol (a.b.v)
14.5%
Food Duck, game, steak, lamb, chicken
Next day
Still good
Drink Now, or over the next 5 to 10 years
Deep purple core with a dark ruby rim. Highly aromatic, with multi-layered black cherry, bramble and raspberry aromas, accompanied by notes of damp earth, tobacco and freshly-baked sourdough bread, with subtle hints of flowers, older oak, savoury and spice - it really is a fabulously complex and alluring nose! The palate is relatively full-bodied and ripe and possessed of more than a little complexity and elegance, with a multitude of fresh red and black fruit flavours, infused with garrigue herbs, peppery spice and again a touch of earthiness, wrapped around a core of supple tannins and juicy, orange-tinged acidity, all of which makes for a delightful sweet and sour quality. The finish is long, spicy, warm and worthy of contemplation. The Syrah element is aged for 18 months in old(ish) oak barrels, whilst the other varieties are aged in vat. With such wonderful raw materials, it doesn't need to be dressed up in a cloak of new oak. And at this price, it really is a steal - the real "sweet spot" in the Combe Blanche range. You can drink it now, with pleasure, but it should also age nicely for another 5 to 10 years.
 

Price:  £12.95 (Including: VAT at 20%)

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Guy Vanlancker Clos du Causse 2015 Minervois La Liviniere
Guy Vanlancker Clos du Causse 2015
Vintage
2015
Region Minervois La Liviniere, north-east of Carcassonne
Colour/Style Dry red - full bodied. Aged in vat
Grapes 75% Syrah, 25% Grenache
Alcohol (a.b.v)
14.5%
Food Fillet steak, roast beef or lamb, game
Next day
Even better - takes a full day or more to open out
Drink Approachable now, but will age to 2025 and beyond
This is the first wine to be released under our friend Guy Vanlancker's own name, as part of the transition away from the Domaine La Combe Blanche estate name he has used for the last 25 years or more. And it's a cracker! 75% Grenache and 25% Syrah, from a single (1.5 hectare) north-facing vineyard in the hills above Felines-Minervois. Even at 14.5% abv, this wine smells and tastes so fresh and full of life. The nose has bramble, black cherry, kirsch, tobacco and spice aromas, all of which carry through onto the palate. Full-bodied and ripe, yet balanced and with the potential for elegance a few years down the line, it is nevertheless a lovely wine to drink now, with masses of fresh (and refreshing) black fruit flavours, with ample acidity, very fine tannins and a long, spicy finish. And there's no oak - this wine is aged only in vat, and is all the better for it. A really lovely expression of the La Livinière terror, with the potential to age to 2025 and beyond.
 

Price:  £14.50 (Including: VAT at 20%)

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Domaine Combe Blanche La Chandeliere 2015 Minervois La Livinière
Domaine Combe Blanche La Chandeliere 2015
Vintage
2015
Region Minervois La Liviniere, north-east of Carcassonne
Colour/Style Dry red - full bodied. 18 months in old oak barrels
Grapes 75% Syrah, 25% Grenache
Alcohol (a.b.v)
15.0%
Food Fillet steak, roast beef or lamb, game
Next day
Even better - takes a full day or more to open out
Drink Very approachable now, will evolve over next 10 years
A blend of 75% Syrah and 25% Grenache, grown high up in the sun-drenched hills above the village of the same name, and aged for 18 months in old oak barrels. Whilst the label displays its 15% abv with pride, the wine in the bottle is beautifully balanced and - dare I say it - almost elegant. The nose is complex and expressive, offering dense aromas of black fruits, leather, mint, garrigue herbs and a hint of forest floor. Rich and beautifully ripe in the mouth, the combination of spiced bramble and plum flavours with those oh-so-fine tannins, ample acidity, a gentle herbiness and just a hint of warming eau de vie is a joy to behold, with a lingering, gently peppery-spicy finish. And despite its sheer drinkability in its youth, I have no hesitation (based on previous vintages going back to the mid-1990's) that this will age and evolve for a good 10 to 15 years or more. Drink it now or stick it in the cellar for a decade - the choice is yours!
 

Price:  £16.99 (Including: VAT at 20%)

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Domaine Combe Blanche Misunderstood Cinsault 2015 IGP Pays de l'Hérault
Domaine Combe Blanche Misunderstood 2015
Vintage
2015

Region Minervois
Colour/Style Dry red - medium-full bodied.
Grapes 100% Cinsault
Alcohol (a.b.v)
14.5%
Food Barbecued meats, rich stews and casseroles, pizza
Next day
As good
Drink Perfect now, or over the next 2 to 3 years
Aromas of garrigue herb-infused red cherries, damsons and raspberries simply leap from the glass, with a touch of polished leather, spice and eau de vie. Succulent red and dark fruit flavours abound, in a wine that is rich in flavour, but surprisingly balanced and fleet of foot, with a seamless mix of warm spice, silky tannins and ample acidity, with a generous, long, tangy/spicy finish. A real treat for a mid-winter's evening. Although it is a delight to drink now, I have no doubt that it will keep nicely for a good year or three. Bargain!
 

Price:  £9.95 (Including: VAT at 20%)

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Domaine Combe Blanche Calamiac Terroir Tempranillo 2015 IGP Pays de l'Hérault
Domaine Combe Blanche Tempranillo 2015
Vintage
2015
Region Minervois
Colour/Style Dry red - full-bodied.
Grapes 100% Tempranillo
Alcohol (a.b.v)
14.0%
Food Grilled peppered steak or lamb, duck, game, pasta
Next day
As good
Drink Now, or over the next 3 to 5 years
Tempranillo is a genuine rarity in Languedoc, though I'm not sure why, for it makes lovely wines. This one is medium-deep red in colour with aromas of raspberry and loganberry, polished wood and damp earth - lovely and fresh, with a hint of citrus and very subtle savoury notes. The palate shows plenty of tannic grip, but plenty of fruit and acidity to match, with lashings of strawberry/raspberry compote flavours and a hint of creamy vanilla. There is no oak influence whatsoever, because it doesn't need dressing up, for this is a wine packed full of juicy, pepper and spice-laden fruit. As with the same grower's Pinot, this isn't trying to be anything else (and certainly not Rioja), for whilst it shows lots of Tempranillo character, it is proudly Languedocien in origin. Full-bodied, rounded and lovely - and ready to drink now.
 

Price:  £10.99 (Including: VAT at 20%)

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Domaine Combe Blanche l'Enfer Pinot Noir 2012 IGP Côtes du Brian
La Combe Blanche l'Enfer Pinot Noir 2012
Vintage
2012
Region Côtes du Brian, in the Minervois
Colour/Style Dry red - full-bodied. Aged in old oak barrels for 18 months
Grapes 100% Pinot Noir
Alcohol (a.b.v)
15.0%
Food Rich game dishes, lamb, fillet of beef
Next day
Even better
Drink Now, or over the next 10 to 15 years
This deep, dark purple coloured wine certainly smells and tastes like Pinot Noir, but don't expect a light, airy Burgundy look-alike! The aromas, flavours and texture of this wine are very definitely rooted in the warm south, with rich, ripe red and black fruits and a hint of classy oak, perhaps even similar in style to a Californian Pinot. The flavours are similarly rich and ripe, but far from heavy, with velvety tannins, a touch of red cherry sourness and a decent lick of acidity making for something really quite balanced and more-ish. It is approachable now and whilst certainly no shrinking violet, I have enough experience of Guy Vanlancker's Pinots (going back to the mid-1990's) to know that this could turn into something rather special and ethereal in 10 to 15 years. Either way, a lovely wine!
 

Price:  £14.30 (Including: VAT at 20%)

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Domaine Combe Blanche Les Dessous de l'Enfer Tempranillo 2010 IGP Côtes du Brian
Domaine La Combe Blanche Les Dessous de l'Enfer 2010
Vintage
2010

Region La Liviniere, north-east of Carcassonne
Colour/Style Dry red - medium/full bodied, aged 18 months in old oak 
Grapes 100% Tempranillo
Alcohol (a.b.v)
14.0%
Food Duck, game, char-grilled red meats, wild mushrooms
Next day
Even better
Drink Now, or over the next 5 to 10 years
Guy Vanlancker planted his Tempranillo in the early 1990's, high up in the hills above La Livinière, where the winters can be fiercely cold and the summers fiercely hot, hence the name Les Dessous de l'Enfer - roughly translated as "under hell"(!) The last time he made this cuvée was way back in 2001 (and a bottle we tasted recently was still yet to reach its peak). For this vintage, he used mostly old barrels. After 18 months, the wine was transferred to vats for a further year, before being bottled in the Spring of 2013. It is vibrant and full of life, with an expressive nose, redolent of black cherry, raspberry and bramble, with subtle hints of oak vanillin, mocha and dark chocolate. After a while, it develops further notes of roasted red capsicum and turkish delight. All of which adds up to a pretty complex and alluring wine. The palate is full-bodied, with a richly tannic structure and a gentle oakiness, but at the same time immensely fruity, with real mineral depth, subtle hints of spices and garrigue herbs. All of which, combined with ample acidity, makes for a wonderfully sweet and sour and considerably complex wine. It is already excellent to drink (especially after 24 hours in the decanter) but will no doubt age gracefully for a further 10 years or more.
 

Price:  £15.50 (Including: VAT at 20%)

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Domaine Combe Blanche Les Dessous de l'Enfer Tempranillo 2014 IGP Côtes du Brian
Domaine Combe Blanche Dessous de l'Enfer 2014
Vintage
2014

Region La Liviniere, north-east of Carcassonne
Colour/Style Dry red - medium/full bodied, aged 18 months in old oak 
Grapes 100% Tempranillo
Alcohol (a.b.v)
14.0%
Food Duck, game, char-grilled red meats, wild mushrooms
Next day
Even better
Drink Now, or over the next 5 to 10 years
Tempranillo has always been (indeed, still is) rather rare in Languedoc, which is surprising, as it can make lovely wines there. Guy Vanlancker planted his in the early 1990's, high up in the hills above La Livinière, where the winters can be fiercely cold and the summers fiercely hot, hence the name Les Dessous de l'Enfer - roughly translated as "under hell"(!) This wine is made only in certain vintages (in other years, a "standard" Tempranillo is made) and this is the first since 2010. It has an expressive nose of black cherry, raspberry and bramble, with subtle hints of oak vanillin, mocha and dark chocolate, with subtle notes of charred red capsicum, damp earth, tobacco and spice. All of which adds up to a pretty complex and alluring wine. The palate is full-bodied, quite rich and powerful and crammed full of tangy black cherry and bramble fruit flavours, a firm tannic structure and the merest hint of oak, with hints of spice and garrigue herbs, with ample acidity, making for a delightfully sweet-sour and considerably complex wine. It is good to drink now (preferably with food) but will also age and evolve for a further 10 years or more.
 

Price:  £15.50 (Including: VAT at 20%)

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Domaine Combe Blanche Dozen - Save 10%
Domaine La Combe Blanche offer
A specially priced 12-bottle sampler, covering our extensive range of wines from the enigmatic Guy Vanlancker at Domaine Combe Blanche. The wines in this selection normally retail separately for £153.58. This 12-bottle case is offered at the special price of £138.20 (a saving of over 10%). Please note - this offer is limited to one per customer. The selection comprises the following wines;

White:
2 x Le Four A Chaux Roussanne 2015 IGP Pays del'Hérault
 
Red:
2 x Calamiac Terroir 2014 Minervois
1 x La Galine 2014 Minervois La Livinière
1 x Guy Vanlancker Clos du Causse 2015 Minervois La Liviniere
1 x La Chandeliere 2015 Minervois La Livinière
1 x Misunderstood Cinsault 2015 IGP Pays del'Hérault
1 x Calamiac Terroir Tempranillo 2015 IGP Pays del'Hérault
1 x l'Enfer Pinot Noir 2012 IGP Côtes du Brian
1 x Les Dessous de l'Enfer Tempranillo 2010 IGP Côtes du Brian
1 x Les Dessous de l'Enfer Tempranillo 2014 IGP Pays del'Hérault
 

Price:  £138.20 (Including: VAT at 20%)

Quantity:


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Minimum order value, delivery charges, times and restrictions
We deliver only to UK and Northern Ireland addresses. The minimum order value is £75 (plus the delivery charge). You may of course choose a mix of any wines in our range. Orders between £75 and £200: delivery charge is £7.50. Orders over £200: delivery is free! (If your order is over £200, please remember to change the delivery charge in checkout to £0.00). Please note: Delivery to non-mainland addresses (Scottish Highlands and Islands, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man, Isle of Wight, etc.) is usually possible, but may not be on a next-working-day basis. It is also more expensive than delivery to mainland addresses, so will be charged at cost (for orders under £200) but with a small discount for orders over £200 - please call us for a quote.

Warning - you must be aged 18 or over
It is an offence to purchase or attempt to purchase alcohol if you are under the age of 18. (Section 149 Licensing Act 2003).We reserve the right to seek proof of age. Leon Stolarski says "drink less, but drink better!" Please consume alcohol in moderation.