Tuesday 22 February 2011

Montmajou - cracking St Chinian Blanc

St Chinian doesn't produce very much white wine - I'm guessing less than 5% of all production. And the AOC wasn't extended to white wine until 5 years ago. So it is not a wine that one comes across very often. But, for the record, I enjoyed a rather special St Chinian blanc last weekend.

We were tasting in the best possible environment. Relaxing with friends Patricia and Luc Bettoni over a leisurely Sunday lunch while the kids ran around outside making mud pies. Luc pulls out an unlabelled bottle of his new white, first vintage 2009. First impressions - very subtle aromas. To be honest, I can't get alot from it. Take a sip and initally subtle fruit too. Peach maybe, minerally. Then just when you start to think there isn't much going on - wow - the palate opens up into beautifully textured, creamy, nutty fruit and continues into a long finish.

I didn't write any notes on the wine at the time but my memory of the wine centres not so much on what it tasted like as on what it FELT like. It is all about texture and mouthfeel and balance, which this wine had in abundance. It felt more like a white burgundy than a wine from the south of France which is what Luc was aiming for. This wine will not appeal to everyone as it is not immediately fruity but it deserves a loyal following from good restaurants, upmarket wine shops and wine nuts like me.

So, what is it? Domaine Les Eminades Montmajou St Chinian Blanc 2009. 80% Grenache, 20% Marsanne. From Montmajou, a sub-region of approx 250m altitude between Cebezan and Cruzy. Organic, handpicked, natural yeast, maturation in barrels for 11 months on fine lees, malolactic fermentation.

You can't actually buy this wine as it's sold out (I know, I tried) but the 2010 will be available later in the year and there will be more of it. Price about 11€/bottle.

1 comment:

  1. Good post, never would have thought a white from St Chinian!