Cherry, dried flowers, raspberry, salty ocean spray
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Grapes are hand harvested then undergo a 48-hour carbonic maceration, followed by aging in stainless steel for 6 months. They are racked and bottled using gravity. No added sulfur.
Originally a photographer, Stéphane Morin decided one day that it was time for a change. He wanted to make wine. He studied winemaking in 2005 and at the same time discovered natural wines. He bought 12 hectares of vineyards with some very old vines that had not been previously touched with chemicals. And so, Domaine Léonine was born. Stéphane continues to farm organically on this beautiful site, with no additions in the cellar, apart from a touch of sulfites at bottling. His cellar is above ground, but interestingly he has covered it with a thick layer of soil and grass to keep it cool and to keep the temperature regulated through the warmer months.
Stéphane Morin started as a fashion photographer in Paris before making the move in 2005 to his 29 acre estate in the foothills of the Pyrenees. All of Stephen's cuvées are produced organically, biodynamically, and without any added sulfur. "In short, the idea of the domaine is to make wines close to the soil, to digest with, the least possible screen between the grape and the glass..."
Stephane was inspired by Jean-François Nicq of Domaine des Foulards when he created Domaine Léonine. From the beginning, he knew he wanted to make wine naturally. He farms organically, uses sulfur in the vineyard sparingly, doesn’t add SO2 to any of his cuvees, and racks, filters and bottles by gravity. All of his wines are bottled as Vin de France (VDF) and have names like “Chuck Barrick” and “Les Petites Mains” (small hands).
Syrah is one of the noblest and most fashionable red wine grapes globally. It is thought to originate in southwest France and is the most widely planted grape of Australia (Shiraz). California growers rushed to plant the variety in the last 20th century. There were barely 400 acres of it in the state in 1992, but that number surged to over 17,000 acres by 2003. Single varietal Syrah wines are typically characterized by savory plum and herb flavors.
The Côtes Catalanes in the Roussillon has become a hotbed for natural winemaking. This is in part a result of geography; it’s much easier to grow organically in its dry Meditteranean climate than it is in other areas of the country but also, a lot of aspiring vignerons have been drawn to this area because its potential was long overlooked.
The Côte Catalanes IGP is a primary growing area in the Languedoc-Roussillon region. Most vineyards are planted just a stones throw from the ocean, taking in all the benefits of the ocean breeze. The breeze, along with the loose, dry soil and tons of sunlight, enables the region to support several red varieties like Grenache Noir, Mourvèdre, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Cinsault. Snow from he Pyrenees mountains in winter, allows for good acidity to remain in the wine and no over-ripeness.
Tasting: cherry, dried flowers, raspberry lemonade, salty ocean spray
Pairing: watermelon, feta and mint salad, grilled chicken and veggies