Thirst quenching, complex picnic wine with notes of pear, green apples and herbs
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hand-harvested and directly-pressed. Spontaneous fermentation with ambient yeasts (no temp. control) takes place in stainless steel tank before a 12-18 month élevage also in tank. Bottled unfined, unfiltered with no additional SO2.
Since 2001, Phillipe Pibarot has been at the vanguard of the southern French natural wine renaissance of sorts. Working in the gentle foothills outside the small commune Mus, of the northern Languedoc, Philippe has been focusing – vintage after vintage – on the nexus between naturally vin de soif characteristics in young wines wildly fermented and the more robust, spiced elements of Languedoc terroir, expressed through some of southern France’s bolder, classic varieties such as Mourvedre and Syrah. Rather than ascribing to any one ideological school, Philippe dubs himself a “conscientious craftsman” though by any account these are unadulterated, pure, natural wines that have served as a lodestar for organic and biodynamic growers of the northern Languedoc for nearly two decades.
Grapes: Clairette, Macabeu, Terret, Picquepoul, Grenache Blanc, Vermentino
Clairette blanche is a white wine grape variety most widely grown in the wine regions of Provence, Rhône and Languedoc in France. At the end of the 1990s, there were 7,400 acres of Clairette blanche grown in France, although volumes are decreasing.
Clairette blanche was often used to make vermouth, to which it is suited as it produces wine high in alcohol and low in acidity, and therefore yields wines that are sometimes described as "flabby" and which tend to oxidize easily. These problems have sometimes been partially overcome by blending it with high-acid varieties such as Piquepoul blanc. It is allowed into many appellations of Southern Rhône, Provence and Languedoc. The white wines Clairette de Bellegarde and Clairette du Languedoc are made entirely from Clairette blanche, while the sparkling wine Clairette de Die can also contain Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains. Clairette blanche is frequently used in the blended white Vin de pays from Languedoc.
Macabeo, also called Viura or Macabeu, is a white variety of wine grape. It is widely grown in the Rioja region of northeastern Spain, the Cava producing areas south of Barcelona, and the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France. Spanish plantations stood at nearly 45,000 hectares (110,000 acres) in 2015, making it the second most grown white grape variety in Spain. In France, plantations accounted for 2,800 hectares (6,900 acres) in 2007. The grape is mostly used to make mildly acidic and young white wines mostly suitable for early consumption or blending with other varieties, both red and white. Some of the most pleasurable examples of the variety are planted along the Pyrenees, where it is used to produce highly saline and textural white wine. It is probably the best white wine grape for natural wine making in warmer climates.
Terret is an ancient Vitis vinifera vine that, like the parent Pinot vine of Pinot noir's history, mutated over the course of thousands of years into grape varieties of several color. Originating in the Languedoc-Roussillon wine of southern France, the descendants of Terret now include the red wine variety Terret noir, the white Terret blanc and the light-skinned Terret gris.
For years, the light skin varieties of the Terrets were grown together as field blends and used in Vermouth production. The dark-skinned Terret noir was more highly valued as a permitted variety in the notable Rhône wine of Châteauneuf-du-Pape as well as in the Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC)s of Corbières AOC and Minervois AOC in the Languedoc.
In Languedoc, Piquepoul blanc is used both for blending and for varietal wines. Red wines produced from Picpoul noir are high in alcohol, are richly scented, but have a very pale colour, which has made the variety more popular as a blending ingredient than as a producer of varietal wines. Both the blanc and noir versions of Piquepoul are permitted blending grapes for the production of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. However, in 2004 only 0.15% of the appellation's surface was planted with the Piquepoul varieties. In the New World, Piquepoul is being successfully grown in the foothills of the Chiricahua Mountains (5000 feet above sea level) in the Willcox AVA of southern Arizona. It is also grown in the Red Mountain AVA of eastern Washington State.
Grenache blanc (also known as garnatxa blanca in Catalonia) is a variety of white wine grape that is related to the red grape Grenache. It is mostly found in Rhône wine blends and in northeast Spain. Its wines are characterized by high alcohol and low acidity, with citrus and or herbaceous notes. Its vigor can lead to overproduction and flabbiness. However, if yields are controlled, it can contribute flavor and length to blends, particularly with Roussanne. Since the 1980s, it has been the fifth most widely planted white wine grape in France after Ugni blanc, Chardonnay, Semillon and Sauvignon blanc.
Vermentino is a light-skinned wine grape variety, primarily found in Italian wine. It is widely planted in Sardinia, in Liguria primarily under the name Pigato, to some extent in Corsica, in Piedmont under the name Favorita, and in increasing amounts in Languedoc-Roussillon. The leaves are dark green and pentagonal. The grapes are amber-yellow and hang in pyramidal bunches. The vines are often grown on slopes facing the sea where they can benefit from the additional reflected light. The Vitis International Variety Catalogue now gives Italy as its origin.
This region was named for the language that its historical inhabitants spoke. Their language was Occitan, hence - lengue d'oc. Languedoc is one of the greatest wine producing regions in France by volume and contains over a quarter of all the wine producing vines in the country. Vines were planted as early is 125 BC on the hills near the Roman colony of Narbo (modern day Narbonne). In the Middle Ages, viticulture in this region thrived under the watch of monks and monasteries. The great majority of Languedoc's vines are planted on flat, low lying alluvial plain - however some vines are planted high above sea level in the foothills of Cevennes and the Corbieres Pyreanean. The region is highly influenced by the Atlantic and is a Merditerranean climate, prone to drought.
Tasting: Pear, green apple, herbs, stony minerality
Pairing: chicken salad sandwiches, fresh vegetables, picnic lunch