Brett happens

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Saint-Chinian 2014, Antonyme, Domaine Canet-Valette ($17.80, 11013317)
A 50-50 blend of Mourvèdre and Cinsault from organically farmed vines. Manually harvested. The grapes are destemmed and fermented in tanks for 15 days. The wine is then transferred to other tanks for four months’ maturation. Sees only stainless steel until bottling. Reducing sugar: 2.5 g/l. 13.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Le Maître de Chai.
Slightly candied red and black fruit with faint smoke and animale notes. Medium-bodied. Smooth, dense, fruity and dry but also listless and lacking relief, especially next to the À ma guise. I recall an earlier vintage (the 2006?) being more Beaujolais-like. Admittedly, the context didn’t do the wine any favours and I expect it will show better with food, ideally something red meaty and grilled (I’ll be hanging on to my backup bottle to see). (Buy again? Maybe.)

Vin de France 2014, À ma guise, Domaine Les Terres Promises ($25.87, private import, 6 bottles/case)
The 13-hectare estate, which includes a parcel in the Bandol AOC, is owned and operated by former Parisian political operative and author Jean-Christophe Comor and located in the Var department in the foothills of the Massif de la Saint-Baume near the village of La Roquebrussanne. The farming is organic, the wine-making is non-interventionist and the chai is open to the air. This primeur-style wine is a blend of around a dozen varieties including Carignan, Grenache, Cinsault, Clairette and Carignan Blanc. Unfiltered. No or very little added sulphur. 12.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Le Vin dans les Voiles.
Complex, “natural” nose. Fleet yet mouth-filling. Chewy, juicy red fruit with exuberant acidity, supple tannins, a healthy dose of minerals, a squirt of vine sap and a dusting of earth. Smackingly tart finish. So very drinkable. A joy. (Buy again? Done!)

I first encountered the À ma guise at Satay Bros., where it was being poured by the glass. I liked it enough to have a couple of refills and, a few days later, to trek through the rain on foot and public transit to the middle of nowhere, aka the SAQ’s Futailles Street warehouse, to pick up a case so I could serve it at the tasting. The tasting’s bottle was cloudier than I remembered, a bit funky and not quite as stellar as the Satay Bros. bottle (which may have been open and poured from for a while), though it was still good enough for me to have no trouble selling the remainder of the case. Opened day or two later, a third bottle was verging on vinegar. Such are the vagaries of natural wines. Yet when the wine is on, such are the rewards that we put up with the disappointments.

MWG March 31st tasting: flight 5 of 6

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