3 x Montirius – Gotta love Grenache

I probably don’t need to tell you that the vintages 2007 and 2009 in Southern Rhône are hyped as two of the great ones. The jury is still out on which is the better – and I for myself haven’t really made up my mind. And actually, I couldn’t bother, because I enjoy both and the wines are really faboulous!

My first blogpost here in Ericsson Uncorked was about Montirius Vacqueyras Les Clos – and now in june I have had the opportunity to try three more wines from this producer in Southern Rhône.

The vinyards are certified organic and biodynamic – and although I am a real sceptic when it comes to biodynamism (but I love organic farming!) – the wines are just awesome. And they are a great example of the potential of Grenache and Grenache dominated blends.

Montirius Garrigues 2009 France, Vacqueyras (circa €18)
70 percent Grenache and 30 percent Syrah from 24 hectars that consists of 12 parcels of land. Average age of the vines is 55 years old and the yield was 31 hl/ha. Total destemming and no oak is used in this wine. Production: 70 000 bottles.

Dark bluered colour. A bit closed on the nose with elements of red berries, farmyard and game. Medium to full bodied on the palate with spicy concentrated flavours of red berries, herbs, leather, tobacco and medium raw meat! A slight alcoholic burn, good acids/tannins and a great length in the mout. A bit funky – but a great wine with layers upon layers with good fruit. Drinking well now but can be aged another 3-10 years (depending on your preferences). 4->4,5/5 points

Montirius Terre des Aînés 2009 (99149) France, Gigondas (circa €25)
16 hectares from 3 parcels planted with Grenache (80%) and Mourvèdre (20%) of which 12 hectares are very old vines which date from 1925. Yield is also on 31 hl/ha. The grapes were destemmed before vinification – and the wine is “oak-free” as they state it on their homepage. 75 000 bottles produced.

Dark orange colour. Also a bit closed on the nose with hints of fudge, herbs and minerals. Medium to full bodied and loaded with dark and red berries and elements of herbs, meat, leater and minerals. No oak – but it stillgot a smoky-fudge-kinda complex taste. Great acids/tannins – feels young. Drink 2013-2020. 4,5/5 points

Montirius Confidentiel 2007 France, Gigondas (circa €33)
This is MonTirius top Gigondas and comes from a micro-terroir of 1.5 hectares situated in our 10 hectares Gigondas parcel in the ” La Tour” area. It’s a blend of 80 percent Grenache and 20 percent Mourvèdre and the yield is 30 hl/ha. Total destemming and vinification in concrete vats. Output is just 4000 bottles.

Deep dark red colour. Young closed nose with freshly roasted coffee (again – no oak!), dark/red berries and mineral/earthy notes. Full bodied, superconcentrated taste of spices/herbs, red berries, leahter, dried fruits and coffee. Massive tannins and acids (it’s young!) that are carried (and are enveloped) by such lucious fruit. Looong finish! Great now but will keep up to 10 years. 4.5->5/5 points

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MonTirius Vacqueyras Le Clos 2009

MonTirius Vacqueyras Le Clos 2009

What is it: Full bodied and spicy red wine from Southern Rhône
Where: AOC Vacqueyras was established 1990 and the district is located north east of Châteuneuf-du-Pape
Who’s done it: Eric and Christine Saurel at MonTirus Vignobles
Vineyard: Le Clos is a parcel of 8,5 ha of garrigue soil (chalk-clay) with pockets of blu clay marl over sand and sandstone. The vineyards is sheltered by 100 year old oak wood on each sides. Yield 31 hl/ha (35 is the legal limit). Goblet or Royat cordon pruning with a maximum of 6 spurs and 2 buds. 50/50 procent grenache and moruvèdre. The estate is fully bio-dynamique since 1996.
Winery: Traditional winemaking with total destemming and the grapes were lightly crushed before fermentation. No oak maturation or use of oak what so ever! Or “non-boisé” as they like to say. Production 40 000 bottles

Colour: Dark red with a blue rim
Nose: Expressive young smell of dark and red berries, spice (herb’s the provence or garrigue – choose your pick), chocolate and fudge. Notes of black pepper, meat and leather. Just a bit volatile – which gives the fruit a lift.
Taste: Full bodied, rather mellow and concentrated taste of dark berries (blackberries), herbs, chocolate and tobacco. Fiery with notes of minerals, meat and with ripe tannins that is carried by a luscious fruit. Long and young aftertaste.
Verdict: A powerful and lovely wine from a truly great vintage that will keep 3-8 years!

Australias liquid gold – the “stickies”

The “stickies” – the fortified black liqueur muscats and “ports” – has been called the Australias liquid gold. It’s where or by what it all started and even though the style is hopelessly unfashionable in a modern world ruled by table wines – it is probably one of the most egocentric and underrated wines in the world. And quite often a real bargain!

Personally I have always loved the liqueur muscats since I first tested a Morris Liqueur Muscat in the early 90’s. And I have hyped Seppeltsfield No 9 Muscat (strangely called so in Europe and called No 8 in Australia) in my swedish blog.

This last weekend I had a chance to retest Seppeltsfield No 9 against two other fortified icons: Yalumba Museum Reserve and Penfolds Grandfather. The scene was a Master Class on Australia with Justin Knock MW at Gustibus Wine And Spirit Academy in Malmo, Sweden.

These are my notes! For my notes in swedish – see Uppkorkat!

Seppeltsfield no 9 Muscat (Rutherglen/Victoria) 16,5%
Nice light orange/brown almost golden amber colour in the glass.
On the nose quite developed with muscovado sugar, raisins, dried fruits (apricots) and chocolate. A touch of orange, mint and dried herbs.
Full bodied almost oily concentrated taste with dried fruits (apricots again). muscovado sugar and raisins. Hints of chocolate, herbs and prunes. I just love it!

Comment: Almost ridiculously high levels of residual sugar – 326g/l. Made by late harvested raisined brown muscat grapes (a clone of mucat à petite grains). Fortified by grape spirit soon after the start of fermentation (at a level of 2-3% alcohol). Long ageing in large oak casks!

Yalumba Museum Reserve Muscat (Rutherglen/Victoria) 18%
Somewhat darker i colour – orange/amber.
Quite developed nose with burnt sugar, hazelnuts, muscovado sugar, raisins and other dried fruits. Just a whiff of citrus and leather.
Medium bodied, fresh and sweet taste with a burnt nutty tone. Lots of dried fruits – prunes, citrusmarmelade, apricots and raisins. Definitely more fruity in style. Not as sweet as Seppeltsfield and with a more delicate finish with just a hint of burnt sugar.

Comment: Made from red and pink muscat (à petite grains). This wine is also fortified early in the fermentationprocess.  243 g/l residual sugar and quite a low total acidity with 4,6 g/l. Museum has been aged for 7 years in large oak puncheons.

Penfolds Grandfather Tawny (South Eastern Australia) 19%
Brown orange amber in colour.
A lot of herbs on the nose with mint/spearmint and oxididative notes of hazelnuts and something vaguely chemical. A bit “funky”.
Mediumbodied, sweet and a bit funky taste of salmiak, liquorice, dried fruits, raisins and salt. Quite a lot of burnt sugar. Definitely more oxidized than the other two with a distinctive rancio-character. But he wine has a lovely freshness as well.

Comment: The wine is normally a blend of shiraz, mourvèdre and cabernet (but Penfolds use other grapes as well). It goes in to large oak puncheons för about 8 years before it is put into a solera system (called Grandfather). There it stays on average for 12 years which gives the wine an average age of 20 years.  About 15og/l i residual sugar and a total acidity of 8,2 g/l.