Harvest more than 50 years ago...
— Fran Marcellin (@frances_cook) May 29, 2014
I can’t say that I prefer single varietal wines to cuvees, or vice-versa, but from time to time I appreciate listening to a grape varieties revealing their very own version of a particular terroir. Here we are talking about the 2008 vintage and a centenary Carignan vineyard, growing on a dry and stony terroir called “Les Aspres”, in the Minervois close to Carcassonne.
“In the Languedoc-Roussillon, the biggest wine growing region of France, the 2008 vintage, with its “Indian summer” is very promising,” François Boudou, director of the ICV, a regional wine institute, estimated some five years ago
With its fresh and rainy spring and its warm autumn full of sunshine, the Mediterranean wines of this vintage are considered as being “atypical” and elegant, carried by crispy acidity.
The bouquet of this Carignan is very intensive. First dominated by Hazelnut and raisins, it quickly gains complexity in the glass, showing smells of plums and gingerbread. Particularly smooth and mellow on the palate, it’s a very pleasant drink. Silky tannins underline the crispy acidity on the final, giving impressive length to the wine. It demands for typical winter dishes, for example patiently stewed meat with elegant spices like star anise, cinnamon and cloves.
This white wine is being “published” under the AOC Minervois label. It’s made from a majority of Grenache blanc and Vermentino grapes, complemented by Picpoul blanc and gris, Grenache gris and a little Muscat.
The quite intense bouquet, pure and mineral, shows pleasant aromas of citrus fruits and fennel. On the straight and medium-bodied palate, the mineral character fully developes through a clear and crystalline acidity and a surprising saltiness, while the citrus fruit aromas are divided into lemon and grape fruit. Both smooth and well structured by the acidity, this wine shows a rather “northern” character with quite a lot of power. Appreciate this wine for an aperitif, on shellfish and other fish, as well as on grilled vegetables.
These days, we drink less and less old and ripe wines . A study of the Wine Enthusiast in 2011 showed that “the vast majority—something like 90% or more—of wine purchased in this country (USA) is being consumed within 48 hours after purchasing”. You are right, this study is about the US wine market, but wine-drinking behaviour might be similar in all western countries.
In any case, there is always something exciting about opening an old bottle of wine you somehow forgot in the cellar. Even more, if it’s a bottle made from old grape varieties, that not so long ago had a reputation of being “unworthy” and “bad” . For more than a decade old grape varieties, have proven their quality in this cuvee called “Les Mal Aimés” (The unbeloved).
As expected, the wine shows a light orange-red colour and a slight depot. The nose is rather intense and complex, with smells of plums, smoke and herbs, as well as some spices and light fragrance of elder blossoms. Smooth on the palate, still with crispy acidity and velvety tannins coating the palate. Generous as a 2003 wine should be, it finishes on savoury stewed black fruits. A wine you should taste in silence, late at night…
"Some will become jealous again... Three stars and the eighth “coup de cœur” ( the third in a row) for this great cuvee from Pierre Cros that bedazzled the jury again (in a blind tasting). The most envious will even get paler when they know that the remarkable “Vieilles Vignes 2011” did also very well during our “hunt for stars”.
“Les Aspres” are a masterpiece that makes us travel to eucalyptus and cedar woods, presenting warm and cooler fragrances in perfect harmony. On the palate, the first impression is of uncommon intensity and fullness, drenched with scents of ripe fruit and delicate vanilla. While the jurors described the wine as being creamy, soft and savoury, they also underlined its statuesque structure, carried by beautiful peppery tannins, that give an almost endless final to the wine…"
Guide Hachette 2014
Extract from the Huffingtonpost.fr, article by Fabrizio Bucella
We are still in the south, in the Minervois, more precisely in Badens. Here lives an aesthete and wine grower, a personality who almost makes every bottle of wine with his own hands: micro-cuvées according to his mood and his talent. A way to show that the word «terroir» has a meaning in the Languedoc, and, what’s more, that it’s a place to produce fantastic wines! [...]
Pierre Cros Les Costes 2012, white wine, AOP Minervois
The wine is made from a whole collection of grape varieties: White Grenache, Vermentino, Muscat petits grains, white Piquepoul and grey Grenache. Harvested towards the end of August, the wine ferments in concrete tanks. In the nose, it smells like citrus fruits and mandarins, while freshness and finesse characterize the palate.
The three cuvées of Liberty (Nebbiolo, Pinot noir and Touriga nacional)
Every single wine of this «grape collection» is very interesting, evoking exitement on the palate. But I have to admit that I am unreasonably fond of the Nebbiolo, with its crispy fruitiness and its perfume of licorice and dried apricots. The delicate toasted smell is certainly due to its aging in oak barrels from Burgundy for several months. The wine is a simple «Vin de France», as the grape variety from the italian Piemont is not admitted to the AOP Minervois. Only 1500 liters, about 2000 bottles, are produced every year, a real «micro-cuvée»...