Brett happens

All wine, most of the time

MWG February 19th tasting: Mostly Macabeu

with 3 comments

IGP Côtes Catalanes 2013, Blanc, Clos du Rouge Gorge ($45.00, private import, NLA)
All or mostly Macabeu (some claim it also contains a dollop of Carignan Blanc) from vines around 80 years old that had been abandoned and were about to be torn out when winemaker Cyril Fahl acquired the vineyard and revivied it using biodynamic methods. Manually harvested. Non-interventionist winemaking with spontaneous fermentation. Matured nine months in neutral 500-litre barrels. Minimally sulphured at bottling, with some carbon dioxide added by way of compensation. 13% ABV. Quebec agent: oenopole.
When young, the wine needs to be carafed hours before serving (one MWG member reports carafing it 24 hours before paring it “memorably” with oysters). After nearly two hours in the carafe, ours had an initially odd nose of “canned tuna” (quoting one of the tasters) that soon evolved into acacia blossom, pear and pineapple water, “pine nuts,” crushed stone and so much more. Complex and layered in the mouth. The ethereal fruit tends to pear, apple, faint citrus. Minerals abound. Acidity shimmers. Saline and bitter notes colour the long finish. A unique, spellbindingly protean wine, more elegant and profound than the Cours Toujours and slower to give up its many secrets. While the paradigm is different from, say, a Meursault’s, this is one of France’s great whites and, as such, it’s a QPR winner at under $50. (Buy again? In future vintages, as many as I can afford and lay my hands on.)

Côtes du Roussillon 2012, Cours Toujours, Domaine du Possible ($32.00, private import, NLA)
The estate farms organically. This is mostly Macabeu with a little Grenache Gris. Manually harvested. Non-interventionist wine-making with spontaneous fermentation in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. Matured 12 months in used barrels. Bottled unfiltered, unfined and with very little or no added sulphur. 12.5% ABV. Quebec agent: oenopole.
Initially reticent but evolving nose: dried pineapple, yellow apple, quartz dust, background straw and honeycomb. More fruit-forward than the Clos du Rouge Gorge. A little wilder and more rustic too. Ripe-sweet on the attack; full of crunchy minerals on the mid-palate; turning drier, sourish and saline on the long finish. A here-now joy to drink. (Buy again? For sure.)

(Flight: 2/5)

3 Responses

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  1. Stunning wines that flight was


    March 3, 2015 at 16:05

    • Indeed. Too bad the Clos du Rouge Gorge is in such short supply. And given the increasing demand (not just here in Quebec) and the impossibility of ramping up production, chances are good that its availability is only going to get tighter in the coming years.


      March 3, 2015 at 18:25

  2. […] run you in a resto – for a vin de pays, however amazing. And while the MWG has been buying the white, JV and VV since they first became available in Quebec, the JV – largely because of its price – […]

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