I’m back from my yearly visits to the trade shows in Europe, and this year was quite the whopper. I found a ton of new producers making really cool stuff, and natural wines, I’m happy to say, have improved dramatically. But this isn’t about them. This post is about a new wine that just arrived. The first new winery of 2016 has landed, and it’s quite a doozy. This is a producer I’ve been following for several years, and late last year I felt he had progressed enough to import him. So everyone, please welcome Domaine de Beyssac from the Côtes du Marmandais appelation to our little family of vignerons.
The Côtes du Marmandais? Where is that, you ask? Take a look at the map. Go ahead, I’ll wait. So it’s small (some 800 hectares), southeast of the Entre-Deux Mers appelation of Bordeaux, and has its own indigenous grapes like Abouriou growing there. Which makes it so interesting.
Frédéric and his wife Véronique Broutet had always loved wine, and luckily they had a small family plot near the town of Marmande. So when they finally retired a few years ago, they bought some lands, built a winery, and started making wine. By 2010 they had 11 hectares (27.18 acres) planted to local varieties. From the beginning, they wanted to make high quality environmentally conscious wines, so they started off using Organic viticulture.
Vines are trained on Guyot or Royat method and densely planted (4000-5000 vines/ha), cover crops are allowed to flourish between the rows, and everything is done by hand. Alcoholic and malo fermenations are done in stainless steel to seal in freshness and purity. Very little oak is used except for their higher-end wines, and barely any new.
Frédéric’s L’Initial was what caught my eye and my palate the first time I tasted it. From 18+ year old vines, it’s a blend of Abouriou, Côt, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. After being hand-harvested and fermented in tank, the wine rests on its lees for 11 months, at which time it’s bottled unfined and unfiltered. The result is darkly beautiful, a rustic wine that keeps a certain level of finesse. Basically, a Bordeaux blend with a twist.
Frédéric is one of a handful of producers making high quality, interesting and either Organic or Natural wines in the area. The rest are just feeding the local coop. So it was quite a scoop to get him and his wines, which have literally just arrived, I am happy to report.
As usual, you can see more pics HERE.