Also in my eternal quest of finding great wines under $20, (and usually more especially under $15 because I’m the king of under $15), I wanted to share with you this Languedoc wine produced in a fairly young appellation named: Terrasses du Larzac, which represents the central northern part of the Languedoc region between Beziers and Montpellier, recognized in 2004 and officially on the map since 2005.
Mas Cal Demoura
HISTORY OF DOMAINE: In 1970, when there was a great exodus from the Languedoc due to a loss of faith in its vineyards to provide a sufficient living, Jean-Pierre Jullien named his domaine "Cal Demoura", which, in Occitan, means: “one must remain”. He came from a long line of vignerons and, at that time, he followed most of his colleagues as they closed their caves and attempted to survive by participating in the local cooperative. Jean-Pierre's son, Olivier, refused to follow the path of the cooperative and established his own domaine, the "Mas Jullien", in 1985. Jean-Pierre, in a reversal of the usual process, took the example of his son, resigned from the cooperative and recreated his own estate in 1993. He sold off a portion of his vineyards and retained only the best 5 hectares. With these, he began making a wine of regal dimensions that helped to lead the qualitative revolution in the Languedoc. In 2004, Jean-Pierre retired, selling the estate to its current owners, Isabelle and Vincent Goumard. Seduced by the estate’s winemaking philosophy, as well as by the potential of its terroir, the couple spent a year working side by side with Jean-Pierre in the vineyard and in the cellar, before taking full control of the estate.
COMPOSITION OF DOMAINE: The five hectares are located in the village of Jonquières and in the neighboring community of Saint Felix, approximately 45 minutes northwest of Montpellier, just south of Clermont l'Hérault. They are situated in the heart of the Terrasses du Larzac, an independent subdivision within the Côteaux du Languedoc AOC that was recognized in 2004. The vineyards feature five grape varieties in approximately equal parts: Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah, Carignan and Cinsault. The average age of the vines is 25 years with significant parcels of Grenache, Cinsault and Carignan being considerably older. The soil is very dry and stony with deep but porous topsoil. The various parcels of the domaine are distributed over a terroir that is both geographically and climatically diverse. These variations, combined with an assortment of different cépages, result in wines of complexity and finesse.
METHOD OF VINIFICATION: Isabelle and Vincent are committed to producing wines that respect the environment from which they come, and express both their terroir, and the personality of the winemaker. In the vineyard, the Goumards treat organically and harvest manually. Harvest levels are approximately 30 hectoliters per hectare. In the cellar, they practice classic vinification.
Côteaux du Languedoc Rouge "L'Infidèle": The historic cuvée of Jean-Pierre Jullien, L'Infidèle is a blend of all the regional grapes – Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cinsault and Carignan. The Goumards make choices in the vineyard and in the cellar that will emphasize finesse and freshness in this bottling, allowing for full expression of the fruit. The grapes are partially destemmed. Temperature is rigorously controlled. The cuvaison can extend for as long as 3 weeks with frequent remontage. The Carignan and Mourvèdre are frequently aged in older barrels for 12 months, while the Syrah, Grenache and Cinsault usually remain in cuve for the duration of the élevage. The five varieties are assembled in cuve and aged for 8 months more prior to bottling. The wine is bottled without filtration. Overall this wine was aged for about 18 months, in 500 liter barrels for 60 to 80% of the final blend.
2006 Mas Cal Demoura « L’Infidèle » Terrasses du Larzac Côteaux du Languedoc FranceSuggested retail price $15-$18
Imported / distributed by Rosenthal Wine Merchant / Madrose (in NYC)
The 2006 Mas Cal Demoura "L'Infidèle" presents a dark ruby color. A very fragrant, enticing nose boasting distinct aromas of dark and ripe red berries with earthy, spicy notes and hints of garrigues and soil. The palate is beautiful and complex, full, rich and ripe yet juicy and well put together, with flavors of dark fruit and berries intermingled with earthy, terroir oriented, spicy, peppery, liquorice notes especially in the finish. This wine is big, no doubt, but lovely and really integrated with focused acidity to balance the ripeness of the ripe fruit and present yet fairly gentle tannins that frame and structure the overall palate from beginning to end.
Dark, slightly rustic and robust yet pleasantly surprising and really juicy despite its fullness, this wine is surely more wintery than summery, but I do think that it will pair well with BBQ and flavorful game dishes and stews and cheeses. Amateur of lightly spicy, peppery wine with great character and body should appreciate it greatly. As I like to say sometimes, it is one of this Dark Vader of wine, dark, powerful, earthy and intriguing…
LeDom du Vin
Info about the Domaine taken from the importer website at www.madrose.com, for more info also consult the winery website at www.caldemoura.com
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