Domaine Les Yeuses is located in the heart of Picpoul de Pinet country, only eight minutes drive from the village of Pinet itself. Lying between the coast and the Mediterranean heartland gives it plenty of sun but not too much heat. It was the Knights Templar who constructed the Domaine on the site of an old Roman villa, though the buildings were put to several different uses over the centuries. The name comes from a forest of evergreen oaks, “les yeuses” in French (not to be confused with “les yeux” which means eyes).
The Domaine and its wines are nowadays in the hands of the Dardé family, with brothers Jean-Paul and Michel Dardé looking after both viticulture and winemaking, plus JP’s son Sylvain and Michel’s daughter Magali also on board. Land under vine extends to over 80 hectares, mainly on limestone.
The Domaine makes a wide range of wines:
- Whites: Chardonnay, Viognier, Sauvignon, Vermentino, Muscat à Petits Grains, Ô d’Yeuses (Viognier/Chardonnay blend), Délicieuse (Colombard/Viognier blend)
- Rosés: Ô d’Yeuses (Syrah/Grenache/Cinsault blend), Délicieuse (Grenache), Cuvée la Gazelle (Grenache/Syrah blend), Rosé Muscaté (Muscat Hamburg), Cinsault
- Reds: Ô d’Yeuses (Marselan/Cabernet Franc blend), L’allée d’Oliviers (Merlot/Syrah/Cabernet Franc blend), Syrah Les Epices, Grenache Les Fruits Mûrs, La Soure (Merlot/Syrah blend), Carignan, Délicieuse (Merlot/Syrah/Cabernet Franc blend), La petite Syrah, Le petit Merlot
Here are two Les Yeuses reds that I tried and enjoyed recently:
Disclosure: both bottles were kindly provided as samples, opinions remain my own
Domaine Les Yeuses Pays d’Oc Merlot Réserve 2017
One of the things I noticed when researching this piece is that the Merlot Réserve does not feature on Les Yeuses’ website – whether it is a new or recently discontinued wine, or just an oversight, I do not know. However, as it costs slightly more than the Syrah below – a variety which is usually regarded as more prestigious – it merits our consideration. In fact, there is a Merlot varietal on the Domaine’s website but it is their “Petit Merlot” which (to me at least) signifies younger vines and a simpler wine. This Réserve is therefore from older vines and is kept a little longer before release.
On the nose there are ripe red and black fruits, but also a strong graphite tang – which is often present in Cabernet Sauvignon and / or vines planted on gravel, but obviously neither of these are true for this wine. These notes continue onto the super-smooth palate with hints of leather. Fine tannins add structure and make this a well-rounded wine.
- ABV: 13.5%
- RRP: €16.95
- Stockists: Boutique Wines; Barnhill stores Killaney/Dalkey; Mortons, Ranalagh; Listons, Camden street; The Wine House Trim; Emilie’s, Glenbeigh Co. Kerry; Pat Fitzgerald’s (Centra), Dingle Co. Kerry; Grape and Bean, Portlaois; The Wine Pair, Clanbrassil Street; Blackrock Cellars; Gleeson’s, Booterstown Ave
Domaine Les Yeuses Pays d’Oc Syrah “Les Epices” 2017
The eagle-eyed among you may well have noticed that this post is not the first appearance of this wine on my blog; however, as it was the delightful Avril Kirrane McMorrough who wrote that piece I can legitimately say I’m not repeating myself. Les Epices is a selection from the Domaine’s oldest and lowest yielding Syrah parcels.
The nose is pure Syrah – spicy, red and black fruit, pepper and black olive, (parma) violets. The palate has more red fruit than I expected from the nose – the coastal breezes keeping the wine fresh, but without the outright savouriness of the northern Rhône. There’s a definite softness to this wine, without the jammy fruit of new world Shiraz; it’s eminently drinkable, yet doesn’t overwhelm your palate so much that you’ll hesitate at a second (or third!) glass.
- ABV: 13.5%
- RRP: €15.95
- Stockists: Boutique Wines; Barnhill stores Killaney/Dalkey; Mortons, Ranalagh; Listons, Camden street; The Wine House Trim; Emilie’s, Glenbeigh Co. Kerry; Pat Fitzgerald’s (Centra), Dingle Co. Kerry; Grape and Bean, Portlaois; The Wine Pair, Clanbrassil Street; Blackrock Cellars; Gleeson’s, Booterstown Ave; Nectar Wines, Sandyford