Hello again folks,
Part III of this series is actually a dual pronged effort; combining my efforts to hear the voice of “The People” with my desire to recapture for you our travels through the windswept back-roads of France’s deep South. Our wine today combines the full, rich and exciting flavors so many of you required in your survey responses with not only the price point we all seek, but a real sense of adventure as well. What’s more, it was a resounding success at last evening’s wine tasting, very nearly coming in first place just behind a wine costing nearly 3 times its price!
The road we travel to discover this sun drenched region, known as Minervois, is well travelled in these pages. Known as the Autoroute du Soleil, we travelled this road from Avignon through Ventoux and Montpellier, turning west as the Route now changes to the A9. The massive Mount Ventoux, all 6,500 intimidating feet of it, has faded in the rear view mirror and the land, as we speed towards the walled city of Carcassonne, begins to resemble the winding, dusty roads outside Austin; a sort of Texas hill country if you will.
Minervois was recognized by the French appellation committee and singled out for elevation to its own designated region on February 15th 1985. Prior to that time, this vast region of nearly 40,000 acres, a region that spans not 1, but two full departments, or “states” as we call them, the Aude and the Herault, had been known simply as another portion of the mammoth Coteaux du Languedoc. The efforts of a handful of highly gifted and dedicated growers, however, catapulted this hot and aired region to its new-found “place in the sun”.
My first encounter with just such a forward thinking wine maker in this new Minervois came in the mid-1990’s as I travelled the South in search of treasures of the value nature. I had heard tales of plantings of Syrah and Grenache in these hills and valleys and my interest was to taste as many of the reputed best as possible. With road map, French translation dictionary and legal pad in my hand, I was headed into the 95 degree day.
Today’s offer, this fabulous unoaked blend from the young and strapping Laurent Coustal at Chateau Sainte Eulalie, represents the passion that not only he (Laurent) holds for the wines of Minervois, but the pride that these people of this young region carry with them as they show the world their wines. This cuvee from Laurent comes from a single hill, a hill called La Liviniere; a hillside considered the heart of Minervois for its ability to craft grapes of truly superior quality. A hillside vineyard often denoted on the more expensive offerings from this region, La Liviniere’s soil is rich with a deep layer of limestone; perfect for the maturing of complex Syrah and Grenache.
When you taste this seemingly humble wine from the proud Laurent, humble in that its cost is just so darn affordable, you should remember the rolling hills and perfect sunshine that combine to favor organic production for Sainte Eulalie’s wines. The vineyard consists of absolutely zero top soil, is constantly blown dry by swirling winds and further benefits by Laurent’s firm dedication to ever-increasing work towards biodynamics. This is pure, natural and “of the Earth” wine, and the purity one encounters in the flavors and depth of complexity – never mind the price – truly sets this estate apart from the crowd.
But you wouldn’t have it any other way from me, now would you?
2007 Chateau Sainte Eulalie Minervois
Chateau Sainte Eulalie
15% Syrah, 45% Grenache, 40% 85 year-old Carignan Dry Red table wine
Minervois, Languedoc Roussillon, France
Review by Cepage Noir
E*Newsletter Winter 2009
“An Outstanding wine worth your serious attention that will impress and offer memorable drinking experiences.”
Drink: 2008 – 2013
“Another exciting experience, and an appellation that this taster has considerable tasting prowess with, Eulalie exemplifies not only the cutting edge techniques of today’s young superstar wine-makers, but the perfection you’re reading about regarding this 2007 vintage for the regions from Avignon to Carcassonne. Just a gorgeous aromatic display unfolds from the glass of this amazing over-achiever. An alluring combination of blue and red fruits on the aromas and palate combine with an almost buttery texture to offer a lip-smacking, gulp-able, yet utterly serious drinking profile. This is simply a total turn on and a joy a to drink!”
— Cepage Noir
just a few cases remain after the successful results from last night’s event…
do get your orders in soon!
offered for a mere $15 per bottle (I said it was underpriced!)
or a dandy $156 for a case of 12 (WOW!)