Home to some wild grapes like Braucol, Duras, Len de l’Oeil, Malbec and Tannat, the South-West region of France, situated East of Bordeaux and North of Toulouse, has long been a source of some crazily interesting wines. These days, a new generation of winemakers is making big but graceful, elegant and lovely wines from these traditionally tough grapes.
Vinotas Selections has found a few of those visionaries and is proud to offer them to you.
Château De Gaudou
This ancient, 17th century château located about an hour from the city of Cahors is making some fantastic and well-priced cuvées from grapes that were once thought untamable. Winemaker Fabrice Durou has captured the beauty of the Malbec and Tannat grapes while subduing their legendary tannins.
Their 37 hectares of vineyards, aged between 30 and 120 years old, are planted on southeast-facing gravel slopes for maximum exposure, with grass between the rows to force the vines to work harder. Grapes are sorted both in the vineyard and at the winery, and indigenous yeasts are encouraged to start the fermentation. The end results are very elegant but very “Cahors” wines, with beautiful black fruit balanced by lovely acidity and long length.
The Tradition is, as its name indicates, a traditional wine, made at the chateau for centuries and whose quality benefits from its heritage. Very fruity, spicy and perfumy, it exhibits red fruits with some light vanilla notes. The palate is medium-bodied, with more spicy red and black fruits, soft tannins and a nice balance.
- Rosé de Malbec Premier Grain
L’Enclos des Braves
The Gaillac region of France, Northeast of Toulouse, is a wild and relatively unknown area. For years, it’s been the source of inexpensive table wines made from international grapes. However, a few small family domaines are looking after their heritage and using indigenous grapes to made darkly soulful wines.
After having worked at other wineries for over 12 years, in 2005 Nicolas Lebrun found the plot he was looking for: L’Enclos des Braves. This small hilly 6 ha (14.82 acres) vineyard was topped with limestone-rich soils and a thick layer of clay, perfect for drainage. The vines were all 20 to 35 years old, and Nicolas took to them like a father to his kids.
Treating them in accordance with Biodynamic principles, he uses only indigenous yeasts, manually harvests everything, and adds barely any SO2 at bottling. Like children, he lets the wines take their time. To put it mildly, he is making beautifully wild and soulful wines with these local grapes.
Nicolas’ Gourmand Sec Rouge makes you want to wrap yourself up in it. It’s like drinking exquisitely fine dark purple velvet, with sparkles of minerality and a long, grippy finish that goes on and on and on. This is a textbook example of a wine that’s both relatively big and balanced, with gorgeous dark fruit and crisp acidity. Best of all, a bottle open for 6+ days was still delicious.
- Gourmand Sec Blanc (Sauvignon Blanc, Loin de l’Oeil)
- L’Enclos Rouge (Braucol, Prunelart, a hint of oak)
- Bravissimo (old-vine Braucol)