If the world of wine were Hundred Acre Wood
the omnipotent Robert Parker would be Christopher Robin, the exuberant Olly Smith - Tigger, the lurking menace of phylloxera - a heffalump, en primeur - a game of pooh-sticks, honeyed Sauternes - Pooh, and rosé - Piglet. Carignan would be Eeyore. This glum and neglected grape variety has a day dedicated to it, but it's the 29 February so it only gets to celebrate once every four years. Like Eeyore, Carignan is loveable and if you throw in a little Grenache and Syrah (Kanga and Roo) there is a lot of fun to be had.
Minervois AOC was created in 1985, it covers 5000 ha and 94% of the production is red wine. The estate is situated above the small village of La Livinière in Haut Minervois, a region of dry, rocky, clay-limestone soil and arid hillsides. Vines are planted 225m above sea level. The Château was established in the last century and is typical of a traditional Languedoc "campagne", meaning an estate including all the buildings - master's house, employees’ lodgings and the winery - surrounded by the vines.
In February 1996 it was bought by two young oenologists from Toulouse University, Isabelle and Laurent Coustal. The 34 ha vineyard has been progressively replanted and modernised over the last 15 years. Isabelle Coustal native of Bordeaux did her wine studies in Toulouse before buying the estate. She and Laurent have always taken great care of the environment, they are not certified organic but are thinking of it for the near future. Their wines reflects the terroir, they use hardly any oak. The Minervois Haute Galine is made in a cement tank, each grape variety is vinified separately. The blend is made once the alcoholic fermentation is completed. A combination of bush vines and trellised vines, with an average age of 30 years, are grown on rocky clay/limestone soil. Harvest is partly by hand and partly mechanical. Vatting takes place after about 2 to 3 weeks followed by 12 to 15 months ageing in tank.
The result is a wine with dark red fruits on the nose, blackberry and liquorice on the palate with very juicy, soft and round tannins. A Minervois with lots of fruit, delicate but well structure with a touch of spice on the finish.
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