I was channeling Disney and Belle a couple of weeks ago. Today I envision a Greek god named Minervois. Except the name “Minervois”, a small sub-region of the Languedoc in France, actually comes from the village of Minerve. Who knew? Because when I re-tasted an old favorite from this area, I wasn’t just pleased with the result, it was a near-spiritual experience – for just $13 (retail).
Backing up a touch, Minervois offers the world reasonably priced reds typically comprised of Grenache, Syrah and Mouvedre, perhaps with some Carignan or Cinsault mixed in for good measure. It depends. It’s an experimental part of the world down there. Some wines are purely easy quaffing selections. But others are quite memorable. Typically the latter come from low-yield vines (remember, this means concentrated fruit flavors) in the rocky hills above the plateau.
The 2006 vintage of Chateau Coupes Roses Minervois La Bastide was a wine I first tasted nearly two years ago. I remember it having very floral notes and a tannic structure. It was very good, but it needed either food or a few breaths of fresh air to come alive and loosen up a bit. Perhaps both. Several weeks ago I happened to retaste this same vintage. Holy canolies. The extra bottle time served this wine well! If you can get your hand on a bottle (or several) I highly recommend it because it is tasting out beautifully right now. I saw the imaginary god Minervois, I’m not kidding.
To paint you a clearer picture, the Bastide is comprised of Grenache and Carignan with a touch of sultry Syrah. Today I find those same enticing floral aromatics from two years ago, with violets and juniper coming through most clearly. Tasting it is also like taking a dip in my spice rack! Sage and marjoram flow on the palate, with accents of resin and other earthy notes chiming in. It’s the lush, fleshy- smooth, velvety blanket of black raspberry, plum and strawberry fruit that leaves you breathless, however. The wine finishes with mouthwatering acidity, like a little wave washing onto the shore.
Imagine my delight when I popped over to Aquitaine in the South End last week and discovered this wine is available by the glass. It really is a savory wonder, absolutely delightful on its own and, of course, a good match for their beet salad, steak, lamb or chicken dishes. If you think you’ll have more than one glass (and I suspect any wine-sipping citizen might), just treat yourself to the bottle!
Do you enjoy Minervois? What selections are in your “cellar”?