Brilliant French Pinot Noir that's not from Burgundy?
This is really fine wine, perfectly made, balanced and fully representative of the grape variety and of the region and its climate: surely the perfect definition of Pinot Noir. Delicious flavours of bramble fruit, black cherry and blackberry sit on a smooth, balanced and round palate that boasts toasty vanilla notes on the finish. This really does give all that you want from excellent French Pinot Noir, but without the staggering price tags of so many other French regions.
The Haute Vallée de l'Aude, where these vineyards sit, are perfect for Burgundian grape varieties, even though they are close to the wilds of the Pyrénées, where they have 200 days of wind per annum, and the south cost of France where they have 300 days of sunshine and only 400 ml of rain. That's because of the cooling influences of the altitude and the north-facing slopes on which these vines are situated. Lots of sunshine and warmth, but never too much of anything.
Made in true Burgundian fashion, this wine sees gentle extraction of colour with cap punchdown and ageing in a mixture of 1, 2 and 3-year old French oak for 6 months. It's a very classy and delightful wine that is of a quality far in excess of its price point.
This wine comes from the French wine-making project of Allotment-friend and Master Of Wine (and general good-bloke) Fergal Tynan. He's originally from Celbridge and now has fantastic and fanatic wine making projects across the globe. Never far from Grenache or Garnacha, this particular set of wines comes from France and sits under the label they created called Terres Fidèles, which literally means "faithful lands", as a nod to authenticity, traditions and integrity of wine making styles. The team here have identified grape varieties that many others ignore in favour of middle-of-the-road commercialised styles; working with seriously small and tatty-looking plots of land, this is a labour of love and a project that will be years and years in the making before anyone makes any return on investment. But until then, we get the sensational fruit of their labours...!
The Montsablé range has two levels and this, the Réserve is the one we most think shows the skill of the winemaking as well as the gorgeous fruit from the vineyards. Yes, it's noted that Pinot Noir is hardly a grape on the verge of neglect, but this is just part of the bigger picture for them. You'll have to look to the rest of their wines to find the 100-year-old Grenache and Grenache Blanc or Grenache Gris...
Region: Haute Vallée de L'Aude
Grape(s): Pinot Noir
Style: Smooth, Rich, Medium, Juicy, Full, Fruity, Elegant, Dry, Dark, Balanced
Best food matches: Wild Boar, Venison, Roasts, Ribs, Red Meats, Lobster, Lamb, Grills, Game, Duck, Casseroles, Beef, Barbecue, Baked Fish