Joli Vin imports
Clot de L’Oum - Côtes du Roussillon Villages
The Roussillon is quite possibly what the Languedoc was not long ago – the most dynamic region in France today, home to scores of younger producers recreating the wines of this region with a polish and elegance not historically associated with the Roussillon. The key to this revival is the high altitude terroirs of Schist, Granite and Gneiss, together with some old vines and meticulous viticulture.
One such Roussillon potential-rising-star winemaking couple are Eric & Lèia Monné: they purchased vineyard land here in 1995 and began by producing fruit that for several years was sold off to the local co-op. Building on his experience at regional superstar, Clos des Fées, and driven by a passionate belief in organic and sustainable stewardship of their vineyards and the wine they desired to produce and to consume, their conversion to organic production in the vineyard, shunning the use of herbicides, insecticides and chemical fertilizers, certainly ran counter to the accepted practices at that time. Beginning in 2001, and working from 15 hectares of vines split up among 33 different parcels in the communes of Maury and Belesta, northwest of Perpignan, they produced their first wines bottled under their own label, Clot de L’um (Valley of the Elms).
Their conversion to organics viticulture in addition to meticulous vineyard practices which include bud thinning, eliminating the “entre-coeurs”, both of which can draw sap from the vine without adding any benefit to the grapes, and selective thinning of leaves to promote maturation and sanitary conditions in the vineyard all serve to reduce yields (15-20 hl/ha ave.) and hasten a uniform ripening. They also reduce the need of sulfite treatments. And the effect of the relatively high altitude vineyards (600 meters for their highest parcel of Syrah) only enhances the intensity of the fruit, while at the same time helping to retain valuable and freshness and acidity.
Since the time of their first vintage, Eric and Lèia continue to refine their technique, and with the 2007 vintage, their first official under organic certification, one can appreciate how the wines have come down in alcohol and ph (lower ph levels suggest a more stable wine with better ageing potential) and how much more approachable they have become in their youth. Still quite capable of ageing some years, especially for the upper end bottlings, the wines are evolving toward a fresher, more vibrant, more digestible profile. Dark fruits, minerality, herbs from the dry scrubby Roussillon landscape and terroir are what one will find in these well-crafted red wines. And for a suggestion of some of the finest white wine being produced in the region, enthusiasts should look for the Clot de L’Oum’s sensational white wine called Cine-Panetonne. Still a tiny production, this incredible wine should quickly alert the taster to the quality of wines coming from this address.
Côtes du Roussillon, Cine PanetonneWhatever its differences, this wine clearly recalls the great mineral driven wines of Chablis, Mosel and the Wachau. It was planted just after the Second World War on a patch of mica-schist rock…
La Compagnie des Papillons50 plus year old Carignan and Grenache with a splash of Syrah from high altitude schist & gneiss soils.
Saint Bart, Vielles VignesSyrah, Carignan and Grenache grown in granite, schist and gneiss. Unbelievable concentration…