This year (Jan 2015), top British writers and sommeliers have selected their favourite Absolutely Cracking” French Wines, all available in the UK.

IGP d’Oc
Domaine des Trinités
Roussanne 2012
ABV: 13%
Grape varieties: Roussanne
RRP and retailer(s): £9.45 – Cambridge Wines
White under £15 + House wines / Languedoc Roussillon
“A superbly enticing and fragrant nose leading to an opulent,
voluptuous body supported by a clean and strong mineral
back-bone. Its richness comes from the schist soils and the
solid extracts, not the alcohol. Simple, but beautiful.”

Rosemary George MW November 2013

Domaine des Trinités

Friends came to stay from Provence, who very sensibly wanted to stock up on the Languedoc’s finest.   They are not very francophone, so we opted for an English wine grower, and fortunately Simon Coulshaw was at home.  First he wanted to show off his new pneumatic press, which had set him back about 15,000€, the price of a new BMW, he observed.   It is all highly computerised, and will maintain the same pressure throughout the pressing.    Apparently with other less streamlined presses, the pressure diminishes as the grapes become less juicy.
I’ve been a bit tardy in posting notes on September cellar visits, so this visit was just before the harvest was about to begin,  and the grapes were looking good.  There would only be a small crop of Grenache, thanks to rain at flowering.  ‘It’s been a funny season’, commented Simon.  I have since heard from him that he is very pleased with his Syrah.
We kicked off with:
2012 Viognier – 6.50€
Grown on a north facing basalt slope.  Whole bunch pressing.    A cool débourbage, followed by a cool fermentation.    Initially dumb, it develops beautifully in the glass, with peachy notes. And the palate is quite elegant and peachy, with some texture and length.  However, Simon favours quite a crisp style, asserting that he did not want to make Condrieu.
2012 Roussanne – 6.50€
Stayed on the lees with regular bâtonnage for about a month.  It never sees any oak.  Some white flowers on the palate.  Quite rounded, with some acidity. Youthful and restrained with nice mouth feel.
2011 Roussanne
Light golden.  White flowers and weight on the nose, with more depth than 2012.  Quite rich and leesy, white blossom texture and depth.   A herbal note, and elegant evolution.  Roussanne does age well, and I have since drunk the 2010 which was a lovely glass of wine.
2012 Faugères Rosé – 6.25€
Some colour.  Simon agreed that it was darker than usual as a reaction to the anaemic pale wines that smell of bonbons anglais, or boiled sweets.  This was more like a Tavel from the southern Rhône.  Quite a solid rounded dry nose, and on the palate, quite firm and gutsy.  Usually it is a blend of Mourvèdre and Cinsaut, but 2012 has some Syrah, so that the blend is 60% Syrah, 10% Cinsaut and 30% Mourvèdre. Quite garrigues, herbal and peppery.  The Syrah has spent two to three hours on the skins.  Good dry finish, with Faugères minerality.  A food rosé.  And it is also available en magnum, for the first time.  I do so like a magnum.
2010 Le Portail, Faugères –  6.50€
Syrah 65%, Mourvèdre 10% and Grenache 25%.   Medium colour.  Lots of black fruit, with rounded ripe spicy notes.  Medium weight palate.  Ripe silky fruit.  Soft tannins, peppery with a stony mineral finish.  Fresh and elegant.  And since this visit I have also had an opportunity to compare 2011 and 2012.  The 2011 is very ripe and opulent, while 2012 is more restrained with a firmer structure, and more ageing potential.  I preferred 2012 but Simon said that on his last trip to England, the 2011 was the star of the trip.
2010 Le Pech Mégé, Pézenas – 6.00€
70% Grenache, 25% Syrah.    Two week pre-fermentation cold soak to extract the maximum fruit.  Élevage in vat.  Fresh red fruit on the nose.  Ripe cherry liqueur fruit and soft tannins on the palate.  Simon suggested serving this chilled.
2009 La Devèze, Pézenas – 8 .95€
85% Carignan, from vines that are 120 years old. 15% Grenache Noir.  The Carignan was so delicious that Simon really did not want to blend it with anything else.  It is just 1.30 hectares, that yielded 15 hl/ha.  No oak.  More structured than Le Pech Mégé.  Red fruit on the  nose, with a hint of animal from the Carignan.  A certain ripeness.  Some rustic spicy tannins.  Medium weight.  A leathery note on the finish.
2009 les Mourels, Faugères  – 9.50
70% Mourvèdre with 30% Syrah.   The Mourvèdre was particularly good in 2009.  It can be a very difficult grape to get ripe.  Medium young colour.  No oak.  Quite a firm nose. Firm berry notes on the palate.  Quite full, dry ripe spice, with a rich finish.  A touch alcoholic on finish, at   14.5˚.  Quite tannic and still very youthful.
2010 Cuvée 42 – 35€

This comes from just three hectares, that is to say, one hectare each of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre, aged in 2 year old 500 litre barrels, for two years.  The yield was just 8 hl/ha  and the vineyard is cultivated biodynamically.  All the grapes are fermented together. The earlier ripening Syrah and Grenache grapes are kept cool till the Mourvèdre is ready for harvesting.  No so2.

Quite deep young colour. Very spicy and oaky.  On the palate rounded oak and dense spice.  Quite sweet with ripe vanilla.  Quite tannic.  Rounded and rich.  Quite alcoholic on the finish.  Needs time to settle down.  And needs decanting if you are planning to drink it soon.   Simon is pushing the boundaries, seeing just what he can do, giving a small plot a lot of TLC.



Bob Campbell MW

Domaine des Trinités Les Mourels Faugeres France 2007

A blend of Carignan, Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. Impressive wine with good weight and a silken texture. Fairly dense with berry, floral and spice/pepper flavours.


Copyright © 2014 Bob Campbell, Master of Wine. Republishing Info.

Rosemary George MW

A blend of Carignan, Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. Impressive wine with good weight and a silken texture. Fairly dense with berry, floral and spice/pepper flavours.


The appellation of Faugères seem to attract more than its fair share of foreigners, with a considerable amount of investment in the area by outsiders. Vineyards have changed hands, and new estates have been developed. One of the rising stars amongst the newcomers is Domaine des Trinités in Roquessels. Simon Coulshaw is British, and his wife, Monika, comes from Barcelona. Simon has always enjoyed wine; he was brought up in Paris, so wine was an everyday occurrence. He did quite a bit of wine-making early on, and then worked in IT, until in 2004 it was time for a career change and he elected to do the two year course at Plumpton in East Sussex. He even thought about buying land in Sussex, but southern reds are his real passion, and so he began the search for vineyards and a cellar in the Mediterranean, looking in Spain as well as in the Midi. The Rhône valley was out of the question; he couldn’t afford anything more than Côtes du Rhône, but in the Languedoc good vineyard land is still affordable. However he had very precise ideas as to what he wanted, and found it with the 107th property! In the village of Roquessels, in the heart of Faugères. He was so excited that he completely forgot, to Monika’s dismay, to look at the house which came with the cellar. And why so many rejects – above all, he wanted a interesting terroir, not vineyard land on the plain. And he was looking for unrealised potential. If you buy an estate that is already doing well, there is nowhere to take it. What is now called Domaine des Trinités fulfilled these criteria. The vineyards comprise 15 hectares of Faugères, around the village of Roquessels and nine hectares of the newer cru of the Languedoc, Pézenas, around the village of Montesquieu. The previous owner had produced much more bulk than bottled wine, so there was enormous scope for development. The cellar was already well-equipped, with stainless steel vats and a very efficient basket press from 1928!

Simon and Monika arrived at Domaine des Trinités in April 2007 and had a very successful 2007 vintage. Simon made ten different wines, with various experiments, broadly two entry levels, two middle range, a rosé, and a top end Pézenas. He also has some Viognier and some Roussanne for white vins de pays. 2008 was significantly more problematic as most of his vineyards were affected by a severe hailstorm a week before the harvest. Consequently all his 2008s were sold off in bulk. Happily things looked up for the 2009 vintage and that is what I tasted last week.

2009 Viognier Vin de Pays d’Oc – 4.95€
Light colour ; quite a delicate, dry, peachy nose. Fresh acidity; herbal notes and a touch of minerality. Quite refreshing acidity. No strong varietal character, but none the worse for that.

2007 Roussanne, Vin de Pays d’Oc – 4.75€
Light colour. Some herbal notes and white flowers on the nose. Quite a floral palate, again with herbal notes and a streak of minerality. Good acidity with a fresh finish and a satisfying mouth feel. A certain weight on the palate.

2009 Faugères rosé – 5.50€
A blend of 80% Syrah and 20% Carignan, given two to three hours skin contact. A pretty pale colour. Delicate and fresh on nose and palate. Fresh raspberry fruit with balancing acidity. Very appealing.

Simon now makes two Pézenas wines, but in 2007 they had to be called Coteaux du Languedoc or Langeudoc tout court. Blame French bureaucracy.

2007 Languedoc Tradition 4.95€ 70% Grenache, 20 % Syrah and 10% Carignan. Medium colour. Garrigues and spice on the nose. Quite a leathery palate. Medium weight. Easy leathery fruit and some supple tannins. Medium weight. The wine is given two weeks pre-fermentation maceration, which extracts colour and flavour. Grenache is thin skinned, so if you do a post-fermentation maceration, it is apparently very easy to over-extract.

2009 Pézenas Tradition.- 5.50€
Good colour; quite closed perfumed spice on the nose, but much more forthcoming on the palate. Some lovely savoury notes and supple tannins.

2007 La Dèves – 7.60€ A single vineyards, that will be Pézenas for the 2009 vintage. 50% Grenache Noir, 20% each of Carignan and Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre. Given a longer cuvaison. Medium colour; more complex flavours, medium weight and some lovely, firm fruit.

2009 Faugères, le Portail – 5.95.
The entry level Faugères, with some lovely ripe spice on the nose. Fresh youthful red cherries on the palate. Ripe, supple and gourmand, with freshness coming from the schist of Faugères. The blend is 60 % Syrah, 30% Grenache, and 10% Mourvedre.

2007 Faugères, les Maurels – 8.50€
This has been a favourite since we first tasted, or rather drank it in January 2009. It is a single vineyard of 70% Syrah and 30% Mourvèdre. 20 % of the wine is aged in oak. There is dry leathery spice on the nose, with a subtle spicy palate, with some balancing tannins. Medium weight, still very youthful and satisfying mouth feel.

And we finished with a barrel sample of a 2009, from a bio-dynamic vineyard, a blend of one third each of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. Simon harvested just 700 kilos of grapes from one hectare. The nose is young and firm, with some lovely fruit. There is a firm streak of tannin on the palate, with weight and body, and an element of sucrosity or richness. It displays enormous potential, but Simon doesn’t know when he will bottle it. And he also has a Syrah Viognier blend up his sleeve.

Definitely an estate to watch, and great fun for a cellar visit

Domaine des Trinites, 6 chemin de l’Aire, 34320 Roquessels.



Simon Coulshaw at Domaine des Trinités is one of the new rising stars of Faugères, an appellation that is attracting more than its fair share of newcomers and outsiders. Simon worked in IT for 20 years, often abroad, but maintained his interest in wine, which had been encouraged by his father. Then it was time for a career move and in 2004 he began a two year wine-making course at Plumpton in East Sussex and did seriously consider buying land in Sussex. However, his passion is for southern red wine, so he began looking in the Midi, as well as in Spain as his wife comes from Barcelona. Altogether he visited 107 properties before finding what he was looking for, in the village of Roquessels. Why so many rejects? Sometimes the terroir was not interesting – there is no point in buying vineyards on the plain. Or if an estate was already doing well, there was nowhere to take it; he wanted to create a reputation of his own. Essentially he was looking for unrealised potential. And so he arrived in Roquessels in April 2007, with 15 hectares of Faugères and 9 hectares of what is now the cru of Pézenas, after its reclassification. The cellar is neat and well-equipped; and for his first vintage he made ten different wines. Last Saturday I tasted some of the current wines, but not all. Simon loves trying out new things – he is working on a Syrah, with a little Viognier, like Côte Rôtie. You may be able to do that in the northern Rhône, but you can’t in the Languedoc, unless your wine is an IGP. 

2010 Rosé Faugères – 5.50€
Pale colour; very fresh; good acidity. Light raspberry fruit. A nice fresh finish. Beautifully balanced. In fact delicious!

2010 Roussanne, IGP Pays d’Oc – 5.25€
Lightly rounded nose. Understated. Lovely white blossom fruit on the palate, rounded with good texture, balanced with fresh acidity.

2008 Roussanne, IGP Pays d’Oc
Quite a deep colour; more tropical fruit, pineapple and also dry honey on the palate. Quite a dry palate, with firm acidity and quite different from the 2010 as it was aged on the lees in tank for three months, with lees stirring. Richer and textured. Lots of character,

2010 Viognier, IGP Pays d’Oc – 5.98€
Very good peachy fruit on nose and palate. Benchmark Viognier character. Balanced with good acidity. Ripe, with lovely texture. The vines benefit from a north facing aspect, on schist.

2007 Viognier, IGP Pays d’Oc
Much more colour; broader palate with notes of maturity. Quite intriguing but lacks the essential peachy apricots notes that I associate with Viognier.

2009 Pézenas – 5.25€
A blend of 35% Syrah and 65% Grenache. Some lovely perfumed fruit on the nose; medium weight, with some youthful furry tannins, providing a firm backbone. Spicy fruit, with a fresh finish. Needs a few more months in bottle to show at its best.

2007 Coteaux du Languedoc 
The same blend as the 2009 Pézenas, but the vineyards have been given a new status in the interim. Lighter colour. Lightly perfumed nose. Quite a rounded palate, with some smoky notes, and a touch of leather. Very gouleyant with an appealing hint of maturity. Drinking beautifully.

2010 – Pézenas, Le Pech Mégé – meaning the hill of M. Mégé 
Again the same blend. Youthful fresh fruit, with some lovely spice on the plate. Medium weight with youthful tannins. Only just bottled and showing great potential

2007 Faugères, les Mourels – 9.50€
70% Syrah and 30% Mourvèdre. This was the very first wine of Simon’s that I ever tried, thanks to some friends bringing a bottle for supper one evening, and it has remained a firm favourite ever since. The nose is fading a little now and the palate is quite cedary and leathery. Medium weight, with smoky spicy fruit. Simon criticises Faugères in general for having too much Carignan and too much oak. Les Mourels has neither.


2009 les Mourels
Medium colour. Quite fresh peppery nose. More weight and more rounded than 2007. Some supple spicy fruit. Youthful with furry tannins. Not yet released and certainly not yet ready.

2009 Faugères Cuvée 42 – 45€
Equal parts of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre, with a very low yield, and co-fermented. This is Simon pushing out the boundaries; the vineyards are biodynamic and he has not used any sulphur in the wine-making. The
 élevage took place in 500 litre barrels for 16 months. He has made just 2000 bottles, and very generously opened one for us, which we then enjoyed over dinner later. The alcohol level is a heady 15.1º. 

Youthful oak on the nose, with the oak nicely integrated on the palate, with a youthful tannic streak. Rounded, ripe and harmonious. Masses of concentration. Needs time. Simon thought it would be drinking nicely in 2016. 

And why Cuvée 42? Anyone who remembers The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy will know instantly. 42 was the Ultimate Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything.

Rosemary George

Joanna Simon on wine and food

Friday, May 13, 2011

WINES of the WEEK, 13 May 2011

2007 Domaine des Trinités Languedoc, France

An unoaked blend of 70% grenache, 20% syrah and 10% carignan with a nice touch of maturity. Dry, spicy and garriguey, with dried-fruit and red-cherry flavours and soft tannins. Very soothing and relaxing. And inexpensive. 14% abv. I wasn’t wowed by the Trinités viognier, but there’s a very good, more expensive red cuvée called Les Deves (50% grenache, with syrah, carignan and some mourvèdre), which Stone, Vine has at £11.75. The estate is owned by Simon Coulshaw (English), who trained at Plumpton, and his Spanish wife.

Domaine des Trinités Languedoc La Deves 2007

Languedoc, France, Dry Red (Cork),14.0% abv

A partiallly oak-aged blend of half Grenache, 20% each of Syrah and Carignan and 10% Mourvèdre from an estate owned by Plumpton-trained Simon Coulshaw and his Spanish wife Monica. It combines intense, ripe, black-fruit succulence with peppery freshness and nicely evolved richness and suppleness. The cheaper red from the same vintage (£8.50) is also well worth buying.

Rating: 91/100 – £11.75
Goes with: Red meat & Dark game, Duck & Mild game, Hard cheese. Joanna Simon

Tim Adkins MW

Simon Coulshaw Single Vineyard Coteaux du Languedoc 2007 Côteaux du Languedoc (Languedoc-Roussillon), France Dry Red (Cork), 14.0% abv Simon Coulshaw’s first vintage in his Faugères vineyard – and what a triumph. Perhaps it says something for Plumpton College where he did a winemaking course. This is Syrah and Grenache based, full-bodied and supple and has a lovely warmth of spiced red berries and wild herbs.

Score: Score: 91/100  91/100 Tim Atkins

Henry Jeffries – Conde Nast

Everything I tried from Domaine des Trinites had a rare fragrance and freshness which I found very appealing. These two stand out:
Faugères, les Maurels, 2007 – £9.99 or less from the cellar door. This one had a nice funkiness on the nose that brought to mind some of the wilder wines from this appellation. On the palate it was smooth, round and elegant. This is a grown-up, beautifully-poised wine and I feel a little childish  for preferring the next one.

Pezenas/ Coteaux de Languedoc, La Dèves,  2007  – It’s just so moreish and may be to blame for my earlier bucolic revelry. There is a taste of raspberries but it’s not at all jammy or sweet. If I was making my own wine I would want it to taste like this. It’s also absurdly cheap at 8 euros a bottle.  

Graham Tigg


Domaine des Trinites

I’d heard good things about Simon and Monica Coulshaw’s Faugères based Domaine des Trinites from friends so an opportunity to visit, albeit in a group of over 40 others, was hopefully going to be a vinous pleasure as well as a social one.

Trinites is really two domaines in one. 24 hectares are split between vines on the schist soils of Faugères around Roquessels and less than 5 Kms away around Montesquieu. Here the land is mixed and includes limestone, basalt and other schists with the result that the area has been classified in the relatively distant Pézenas appellation. My overall impression after the tasting was more than just well made wines at a price point (from €4 to €8 and not much more for the last wine). They are uncomplicated but lively, well balanced and let their lights shine. The 2007s are a glorious first effort.

First were two whites. Viognier 2009 and Rousanne 2008 were grown on the Pézenas parcels. The Viognier was more herbs and grasses than fruit and would disappoint someone expecting classic aromatic apricot notes. The Rousanne was linseed and melon meets apple peel, a very attractive food white and a bit of a bargain.

Rosé 2009 was dry and mineral with a perfumed palate, very much Provence style and ideal with a meal. Made from the free running lightly coloured juice (saignée) of mainly Syrah.

2007 was the Coulshaw’s first harvest after purchasing the estate, the under performing Domaine du Moulin de Couderc and a name re-used for one of their Faugères reds.In 2008 the devastating early September hailstorm only spared the Rousanne and was a massive blow for established growers let alone new arrivals.


Pézenas Tradition 2007 showed elegant light ripe red fruits with hints of mild coffee beans. Soft with a mature roundness. Simple yet drinks well. I tried a bottle a few days later and it didn’t disappoint. 70% Grenache plus Syrah and Carignan. Simon talked about the challenges making Grenache poses and he’s clearly equal to the task.

Faugères Tradition 2009 has more structure and nice gripping tannins with darker fruits, pepper and spices. Do the terroirs make a difference? Here my vote would go to the differences due to the cépages. This Faugères has 40% Syrah and 30% each of Mouvedre and Grenache.

Pézenas les Dèves 2007 is a fuller version of the Tradition with more pepper and hints of thyme (Grenache reduced to 50%). Sort of a weekend wine to the midweek Tradition.

Faugères Mourels 2007 is meatier and sweeter with a richer finish than its Tradition counterpart. It also ups the Syrah content.

To finish there was an interpretation of Simon’s curiosity to emulate one of his favourite wines Côte Rôtie. A Syrah/Viognier 2007 oak aged with 90% Syrah from a schist vineyard. This didn’t do much for me – too much oak vanilla that hides its roots and I found the structure curious even though the idea is for the Viognier to soften the Syrah. I would keep a few years to aid integration. I also admit to not having tried a Côte Rôtie for many years.



Rosemary George MW


Les Mourels 2007


Le domaine a été racheté en 2007 par un couple de passionnés, tombés sous le charme du village de Roquessels. Cette sélection, assemblée sans le traditionnel carignan, se pare d’une robe rouge sombre. Elle livre un nez balsamique et mentholé, mêlé de senteurs de garrigue. La bouche ronde et équilibrée révèle des tanins fondus et soyeux. Des débuts très encourageants. Servir sans trop attendre sur un carré d’agneau, par exemple.

“Simon Coulshaw has been producing a pure Roussanne since 2007 and I think the wine gets better and better with every vintage.  This 2010 is drinking deliciously, with rounded ripe fruit on the palate that is reminiscent of white blossom, or fleurs blanches, which sounds more poetic in French.  The wine is wonderfully textured and layered and very satisfying, with supple acidity and a fresh finish.” Rosemary George MW.