SEPTEMBER THIRST–SOMAIL MINERVOIS VIN DE PLUME 2017
As we so often do, we turn again to the wondrous Languedoc for this month’s red selection–Domaine du Somail’s Minervois. A staggering value that checks all the boxes, it’s the perfect red to greet those early fall days that are about to roll in. It’s hard to overemphasize just how difficult it is to find such delicious and seriously natural wine at this price-point. This Languedocienne juice is hand-harvested, biodynamically-farmed, and bottled with very, very little sulphur. It also speaks to a style of very drinkable yet also serious wine that the Languedoc does so well.
Ripe and meaty on the nose, this Minervois comes across with notes of wild blackberry, roasted thyme, and white pepper. It is unquestionably full and ripe, yet with a backbone of acidity balancing out the entire act. Though it is not necessarily made to age, it sees nearly two years in barrel–a style usually only reserved for the best wines in a given cellar. As such, it will do very well in the decanter if you have the time. On the table, it will be just marvelous with our recipe for Rosemary, Potato & Blue Cheese Tart.
Though most Minervois blends are Grenache-heavy, Domaine du Somail opts instead for the much more difficult yet often more interesting Mourvèdre grape. Famed for its complex and long-lived expression in the Provençal village of Bandol, Mourvèdre gives wines with deep color, rigid tannins and a wild, herbal edge. In the cellar, Mourvèdre ripens fully at a much lower sugar level than Grenache and is more resistant to oxidation, making it an ideal blender grape. On its own, though, it thrives in warm climates such as this, for it’s able to produce big reds in hot years that will never clock in over 15% alcohol. Grenache, on the other hand, will eagerly exceed that in the right conditions, making for excessively jammy wines.