“It’s a food wine” ….. a statement that always makes my ears prick up and take note….I mean that’s wines gig isn’t it? It’s primary function is to sit comfortably at our table, intertwining with the flavours of the produce on offer and stimulating conversation between the people around us.
While this white blend from Gaillac in the South-West of France performs admirably as an aperitif, it’s when you add food into the equation that the drinkers experience with the wine ratchets up a gear. By itself the wine presents a fresh herbal front….teetering on a fulcrum of idiosyncratic aromas & flavours that some may consider to be faults….a touch of V.A., a whisp of oxidation….fascinating to drink but not the complete experience.
Add in a plate or two of suitably rustic foodstuffs….in our case some wicked artisan salumi, freshly baked ciabatta, some pork rillette, the company of good friends (and a game of rugby on the telly) and what was just “a glass of wine” becomes a different experience altogether. It’s like the missing piece in a jigsaw puzzle…..it completes the picture.
Gaillac is one of the oldest wine producing regions in France….those notorious boozehounds the Romans grew vines here in the 1st century AD and staggered the streets in wine wine-stained togas. It lies just to the North-East of Toulouse and has a total vineyard area of around 4200 hectares.
Virginie Maignien and Patrice Lescarret are the fine folks behind the Domaine de Causse Marines. The domaine was purchased in 1993 and initially consisted of 8 ha of vines which has since grown to 12 ha stretching across both the Marcillac and Gaillac AOC’s. Meticulous work in the vineyards working with organic and biodynamic methods see many of the wines certified by Demeter and those vineyards that aren’t at present are in the process of being certified.
The very low yielding fruit is harvested by hand and all ferments take place utilising natural yeasts and sulphur use is kept to an absolute minimum. One of the coolest labels around too with a cross-eyed clown looking out from the front of the bottle….I love the picture of the badger with the cross through it on the back label also….apparently badger is slang for a bogan….so it is a wine not to be consumed by bogans!
The wine itself is a blend of a couple of local Gaillac varieties…..Mauzac and Loin-de-l’oeil….Mauzac is a late ripening grape that is commonly used in the production of Blanquette de Limoux, the wonderful sparkling wines of the South-West region…..it’s also one of the permitted white varieties in Bordeaux. The Loin-de-l’oeil is a variety with a long history in the Gaillac region and it adds a floral flourish to the wine. The third variety rounding out the blend is a small amount of Muscadelle.
Pale straw in the glass with intense aromas of lemon, melon and citrus fruits with a slightly oxidative edge of apple pie with rich pastry. There are fragrant notes of orange blossom and jasmine along with hints of marzipan, almond paste, nougat and herbs and a curious waft of brylcream-like hair oli sitting way in the background. Fresh smelling and fascinating.
The palate shows a fresh line again with well defined flavours of lemon, melon and apple pastry….fragrant in the mouth too with floral hints of jasmine and blossom flitting across the palate filled out with touches of herbs, marzipan and nougat. It’s a textural wine with a lovely weight in the mouth and a restrained and elegant gait. Lovely freshness and balance on the finish and it’s little wonder why the wines of this domaine feature on some of the great wine bar lists here and overseas….great drinking!
Price: $28 – Closure: Cork – Alcohol: 13% – Source: Cellar – Importer: Living Wines