From: Gascogne, France (Vin de France)
Varietal: Gros Manseng
Tasting Notes: Behind the distinctively oxidative nutty and spicy aromas, a spellbinding fusion of honey, beeswax, and quince notes are also perceptible. These aromas continue on the palate, contributing to the deeply complex experience of nuttiness punctuating the push-pull of the wine's tart acidity and satisfying roundness.
This wine underwent a very slow fermentation, taking many months to complete. However, unlike the late-picked sweeter wines often made from Gros Manseng in the area, this wine has a very low residual sugar level of about 2.5 grams. Its oxidative character means that it can be treated more like a sherry.
About. Dominique was a ski and sailing instructor but became fascinated by winemaking in 1988 when his uncle asked him to help pick that year’s harvest. His uncle only made a small amount of wine, selling most of the grapes he cultivated to a large Gascony producer close by.
And then something horrible happened! He was spraying the vines with insecticides when he fell seriously ill and ended up in hospital. He decided while convalescing that he would either “stop growing grapes or do it differently."
So, in 2000 he changed to organic viticulture and started making his own wine rather than selling the grapes. This was a major change; at the time only 500 of the 20,000 hectares of vineyards in the Cote de Gascogne were organic, and a mere 30 hectares were used for producing natural wines.
Dominique is an engaging, enthusiastic vigneron who is not afraid to do things differently, including leaving wines under a veil of yeast for up to a decade to see what might happen to the wine! Some of his wines, therefore, are very “Jura” while others are unique to his winemaking style.
As per normal French practice, Dominique either owns or rents several plots of vines spread across many kilometers in the area of the Gers départment in South-West France around the village of Montreal-du-Gers . He has plots of Chardonnay, Colombard, Petit Manseng, Gros Manseng, Muscadelle, Ugni Blanc, Sauvignon Rose, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Tannat.
And just so you are not confused by the funny numbers at the end of each wine name, all of his wines are Vin de France, and as such, there are restrictions about putting the year of the vintage on the label. However, if you read the numbers backwards you may be enlightened!
A fossil of a strange horse-like animal was found in the quarry in one of Dominque’s vineyards, and the imagined animal was drawn by the students who examined the bones at the local university. The lecturer gave the drawing to Dominique. So, the wine got to be called Ruminant.
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