Maison Ventenac, Marie
This is a delicious white that is possibly one of the most French wines we have. Bright, floral, fresh and full of simple joy, it is a balanced wine that you can imagine with every casserole, pâté, baguette, onion soup or escargot that you've ever had (or imagined). An atypical blend, it is citrus fresh with notes of apple and grapefruit over what is essentially a simple but delicious palate.
This wine is a blend two grapes. Colombard, a grape variety that originates in the west of France, and is one of those permitted for use in white Bordeaux wines, and Chenin Blanc, which originates from the Loire valley. This makes it, in theory at least, a more westerly wine and of course, that's the Ventenac story line - Atlantic and Mediterranean coming together. And in this case it's a delightful marriage with the simple fruitiness of 80% Colombard underpinned by the structure, acidity and slight salinity of the 20% Chenin.
Maison Ventenac is a young and dynamic project based in the vineyards of the Ramé family in Cabardès, north of the city of Carcassonne, at the (fairly wild) west of the Languedoc. Characterised by the split in place between Atlantic and Mediterranean bodies of water, their vineyards are likewise split between the Atlantic (Cabernets, Merlot and Malbec) and the Mediterranean (Syrah, Grenache, Carignan, Cinsault and Mourvedre). Limestone forms the sub-soil in the best parts of the family's vineyards, together with their dense planting of vines and the relatively wet winters in the region, there is a real sense of excitement for the future of the region.
In organic conversion, the rewards for this winery are only beginning to be seen. What we really like about them though is their honesty - they love all that they do, but what they like most is Cabernet Franc - certainly not a Mediterranean grape and the third grape of the Atlantic, this variety seems to really blossom in the hands of the Ramé family.
This sense of discovery, as seen in planting non-Mediterranean varieties place in their vineyards, is at the heart of what they do, from respect to terroir, to the non-use of chemical sprays, to admitting their own prejudices - it's clearly a key part of their success.
- Hard Cheeses
- Chenin Blanc
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