From: Madiran, South West France
Blend: 70% Tannat, 20% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon
Taste: Fairly intense aromas of rosemary, pine needles, raspberries, cranberries, smoke and butter, in that order. Big bodied with soft-ish tannins and roundness thanks to the ripe Cabernet Sauvignon and Franc in the mix. Some say it has (and we agree!) “puissance et finesse à un rapport qualité prix exceptionnel".
Pairing: Try with full-bodied meat dishes (prime rib with pommes frites!), stews, salamis, duck, confit or cassoulet— which is our favorite pairing during the winter months (check out the recipe below).
By Melissa Clark
About the domaine. In 1992 when she was just 23, Christine Dupuy took over 6ha of family vineyards when her father died unexpectedly, becoming the youngest winemaker in the Madiran appellation. Located on the gently rolling hillsides of Maumusson, in very sticky heavy yellow clay with some pebbles and limestone, the domaine had been in the family’s hands since the French revolution.
Although she had just qualified as an oenologist, Christine had little practical experience, which she set out to gain by working stages at well-known local domaines Aydie, Capmartin and Chapelle l’Enclos, together with support and advice from Alain Brumont. Christine has come a long way since those early days and has gradually built up her holdings to current levels (with 15ha in Maumusson and 5ha in Saint-Lanne), all hand-harvested and tended organically since 2010 (certified since 2014).
She is very fortunate to be one of only two growers in the region to own a clutch of tannat vines dating back to the 1870 before phylloxera. As well as her main production of Madiran she also has 3ha of white grapes destined for Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh in dry and sweet forms.
When it comes to winemaking Christine has a sixth sense as to how to extract balanced, pure fruited wines in a region where burly oak licked monsters are too often the norm from the deep coloured, structured tannat grape. She carries out long élevages in cement (up to three years) for the basic cuvée to help soften up the tannic structure, and a year in recent oak barrels together with a year in cement for her fine Vieilles Vignes cuvée (a wine that will outlast many wines from the Médoc). Critics now justly acclaim Christine and she is one of the leading winemakers in Madiran.
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