It was a year of difficulties as I have reported on here many times. From a virtually arid winter and spring to a chilly early summer and then a very hot summer the vines had a struggle to cope with the bizarre climate. Add in a hail storm, snails eating away large numbers of grapes and mildew. No surprise then that the quantity of wine produced was much reduced, bottles will be much scarcer than previous years – so when you get the chance buy them. If quantity is down then what about quality?
I have had the good fortune to taste through the range of wines on two occasions. On September 27th the wines were in their infancy settling in tank, the team got together to gain first impressions. In late January and in February this year I tasted them again with a number of visitors. What I tasted was the wine from the different vineyards before it was then assembled into the various cuvées which Jeff will eventually put out. Therefore, my notes are about the ingredients rather than the finished dish.
I decided to simply publish my notes as I wrote them on the two occasions – no editing, just my personal impression at the time. Already these wines had changed a great deal after 4-5 months and they will have changed again even before being assembled into Le Vin Des Amis etc. I have chosen only the main wines, there are several other cuves with other wines but these are the main wines of Mas Coutelou.
January / February 17
- Muscat Petits Grains – 2 weeks maceration, fairly neutral nose but fresh Muscatty flavour with tannins / texture. Orange flavour in there – G
Nose is Muscatty and orange blossom. No real grapey Muscat flavours but a dry wine, fresh, direct and clean. Little drying on finish but coming together well. – G
- Carignan Blanc – little reduced on nose, nice fresh acidity and appley fruit. Still cloudy – G
This has improved, white flower aromas, fresh, white fruits, very long – VG
- Maccabeu/Grenache Gris/ Muscat – Lovely pears and red apples. Fresh acidity, lovely. Full, nice texture – VG
Some residual sugar still but direct fresh fruit – pears and apples – G
- Cinsault (Segrairals) – assembled with marc from Syrah. Nice fresh acidity – OK
5. Grenache Ste Suzanne – Little green, quite acid, some spicy after notes. A bit tart – OK
11.5%, light but fruity and grapey, lost its tartness, more round – QG
6. Syrah Ste Suzanne – Nice, perfumed, red fruits, good acidity and soft tannins – G
Very attractive red fruit nose, has some heft yet only 12%, rich and easy to drink – G
7. Flower Power (plus others) – Round red fruits, lively, red fruit flavours – QG
Syrah and Cinsault in there too, nose is lovely, really attractive with red fruits and floral. Nice round easy fruits – G
8. Syrah Segrairals – Still fermenting, quite a lot of residual sugar. Nice, fresh acidity, red fruits – G
9. Syrah La Garrigue – Slight acetate nose, Round dark fruits. Nice texture and mouth filling – G
Dark, ripe round fruits on nose and flavour, plummy, a little closed, good tannins – G
10. Grenache La Garrigue – Nice ripe cherry aromas, good acidity and texture. Ripe – G+
Very fresh and open, round ripe fruits. A little residual sugar still – G+
11. Mourvedre – Very attractive floral aromas, some sugar still, raspberry fruit – G
Improved a lot, a little reduced but liquorice flavours, dark and how it builds in the mouth, could be a surprise star – VG
12. Carignan – lovely dark fruit, very fruity and fresh flavours. Very clean finish, almost slatey minerality – VG
Still working, a little spritz. Quite acidic as yet but there are dark ripe fruits and these are playing together on the palate, will develop well – G
Overall, the general impression is of good quality with plenty of freshness and fruit to balance. Mourvedre could provide the star wine of the year which would be a surprise, though the Carignan will no doubt improve and be a star once again. The whites, in various styles, are again showing how good white wines can be in this region. After a very problematic year it is surprising that the wines emerged so well, testament to healthy vines and a skilled winemaker.