Monday, December 5, 2011

2009 Maxime Magnon "Rozeta"

(I hope I am the only person in my neighbourhood who takes images of empty wine bottles in threes)

Blend: 60% Carignan – rest Grenache Gris, Macabou, and Terret
Terroir: Limestone and schists
Vineyard: 55-60 year old wines and about 275m above sea level.
Glass: Zalto Bordeaux

Languedoc & wine. A memory, which isn’t exactly filled with laughter and joy. I explored these wines some 10 years ago on the back increasing good ratings (oh yes, I was one of those back then) and reports about know-how and talents being exported to the region. Sadly I discovered black, potent, one-dimensional and very alcoholic driven wines. A short affair and I never returned.

But here I am again – spinning the glass with Languedoc wine. To be a little more specific we are in Hautes Corbières, which is actually closer to the border of Fitou to the south. But as I understand it – Maxime Magnon has no interest in making wine under that appellation.He blends in both organic and biodynamic viticulture and dozes his wines with very little sulphur, but isn’t part of any organization. He is inspired by his mentor Didier Barral and also Jean Foillard (under whom he has studied). The wine in hand is grafted in the name of what my local importer calls: “The shitty grape” aka Carignan. The grape has indeed a bad reputation of being difficult to handle, rustic, tannic, no finesse and usually the source for high yielding industrial wines.

However - this is not your everyday Languedoc wine – in fact it’s a great wine a most importantly a wine with a really interesting character, which pleases palate, thirst, intellect and food pairing.

The first sniff; thoughts: A determination of having something very different wine in the glass – a character of something you have never had before. It’s not one of those wines, which shocks you and takes you to the edge. No – it’s more a wine with mystique. Another thought was a relief of not having been served this wine blind and trying to guess…I would have been lost.

The nose is filled with a fascinating and wicked games of spices, which blends in with wild red berries, red tea, rosehip, cranberries, white pepper, black cherries and lacquer. The latter note is more a reference to how tight these spices are knitted, given a fascinating high-pitched cool breeze. The taste is remarkable slim, cool and crushes the spices into a perfume, which exudes of mint warmth. That game – is a gift to food pairing. I have had it 3 times now and with a dish of chicken, celery, tomato, onion, horseradish, thyme, chicken stock and chickpeas It was unbelievable delicious.

In many ways - if I could pre-define the perfect wine, this wine would not – from its fragmentary notes - fit my desired preferences. However, its stringent cool and sophisticated spices open a great landscape of food matches. Highly recommended and selling around 20€.

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