Wine of the Week: 2012 Chateau Montus

"I believe in respecting the fruit and letting the vineyards speak their particular truths. Sometimes all I have to do is get out of the way."  ~Alison Crowe

It's Friday, yay, and that means it's time for the wine of the week post. In this week's spotlight comes a fantastic wine from the heart-shaped appellation of Gasgony, more specifically from the smaller subregion of Madiran. You'll find Gascony located in the far South West of France, though you'll have a tough time finding Gascony on a map, as modern times have moved past that designation, yet it remains a 'classic' tourism destination for adventurous foodies and a growing number of vino-sapiens alike. A region where delicacies like foie-gras are not the rare treat, but part of the everyday menu.

Taking a closer look at Madiran, there's even 'talk' that the deep wine value and high qualities of the wines found there, could potentially knock Bordeaux off its vaunted, but well-earned perch. I believe while well-intentioned, it's more of an urban legend and bold wild-eyed hyperbole, than a probable reality. That said, Madiran is a region well known in the south of France, renown for its food scene and its red wines based on the Tannat grape, one known for its tannic nature, great for long aging potential, but short-term drinking is the exception, patience is rewarded.

A collaboration of winemaking skill and viticultural achievement. Both winemakers of Chateau Montus Alain Brumont, Fabrice Dubosc, have assembled an excellent wine of deep concentration, color, and finesse. This wine is a blend of Tannat, and Cabernet Sauvignon, a thirty-year-old vineyard just now hitting its stride, well-drained, south facing, steep slopes make for ideal grape growing conditions.

But with Tannat being so incredibly tannic, it begs the questions how does one tame the tannic beast? The other issue many winemakers face when working with this grape, is how does one keep the essential nature of the beast in the taming process? That task, easier said than done. But the lead winemaker at Chateau Montus, Alain Brumont has the skills of a maestro, able to weave many parts together to get the best out of the grapes he works with, to create a brilliant tapestry in the bottle. While destemming and removing stalks is a mandatory practice in this region, Brumont uses other techniques, like micro-oxygenation which helps to smooth out some the naturally occurring tannins rougher edges, gentle pressing and blending Cabernet Sauvignon.

Now onto the tasting note portion of the conversation,  by far the champion of the evening's tasting, sporting a deep red to dark ruby appearance in the glass and a slight pale plum on the rim; looking down through the glass this wine was opaque. The aromas were bouncing joyfully from the glass, mint, dark plums, blackberries, freshly kicked-over earth, sweet tobacco, and cedar. The overall taste was dry, balanced but smacked of new world style. The body was medium; the tannins were a medium plus to strong.

Flavor descriptors, toast, dark plums, vanilla, tobacco, spices, blackberry jam and a medium plus finish. It would have been awesome if this wine had been decanted to unlock its flavors and aromas, allowing some of the jammy elements to blow off. But I was in a melancholy mood that evening, so I merely explored it glass by the glass and saved half the bottle for the next day, where again it showed just a bit better, while still hanging some hedonistic notes.

The finish was long, and plush, sporting new world flair. My score for this wine is 91 points. Even tho, 2012 with some bottle maturation, I'm sure a bit more bottle development will enhance this wines overall flavor profile. Until next folks, remember life is short, don't settle for commodity plonk, when the world of wine has a cornucopia of choices just waiting to be uncorked, slurp long and prosper cheers!

Full Disclosure: This bottle was sent as a sample for the review process. 


Popular Posts