Last week the Vin en Vacances team payed a visit to Clos du Gravillas, a boutique winery farming organically on limestone soils in the Minervois. They wanted to taste some of the 2015 wines to see how they are maturing and here is team member Marcel Van Baalens report:
On our vineyard tours we get to taste a lot of wines on a yearly basis! Don’t worry, the spit-bucket is our best friend. Tasting so many wines gives us a fairly good idea about the quality and the character of a vintage. But what makes a great vintage? Every vintage is different, and so it should be. To describe a vintage we have to look at all the four seasons. Vivaldi was right! But conditions may vary locally.
We talked to John Bojanowski of Clos du Gravillas, a boutique winery in the tiny appellation of Saint-Jean-de-Minervois, famous for its sweet Muscat wine.
“In 2015 we had a good, cold winter with enough rainfall. Good for pruning the vines and the rain filled up the ground water so that the vines could send their roots deep down to find it.
Summer was dry and hot, sometimes really hot! The vines were suffering a bit but not dramatically. We have 16 different varietals planted now so we have lots of vineyard work to do! Harvest started as normal in September and conditions were fine. Dry, not too hot, sometimes a bit of rainfall but not dangerous at all. It was a quick and easy harvest and we picked very ripe fruit. Ready by the first week of October for most of the grapes. We picked some of the Muscat quite late and finished like most of the years with the old Carignan.
“For us it is a great vintage, we were very happy with the ripe fruit. All in all it was an easy harvest with no rain and we hardly had to make a strong selection of the fruit. There was a good crop of Muscat so we made 5 types of Muscat wine this year! A dry (only 350 bottles this year!), two sweets (Muscat Saint-Jean de Minervois and a Late Harvest) and new this year a fizz (Brut Nature) and an Orange Muscat. Orange Wine is exciting and no its not made from oranges. The name refers to the orange colour which is gained by allowing long skin contact which is unusual for a white wine. It gives the wines a big mouth feel and aroma and even some tannin. Come and taste!”
On this visit we tasted all of the new vintages and blended wines at John’s cellar which by the way we visit on our Saint-Chinian & Minerve tour. We are very excited about this vintage! All of the dry whites showed clean and pure fruit with lots of aroma, good concentration and balance. The reds from tank and barrel jumped up and down in our mouths with exploding fruit character, nice tannins and are surprisingly well balanced already.
The Orange Muscat is the new big thing! Aroma of mandarin peel, fig and lots of mouth feel, a very gastronomic wine and we can’t wait to try it out with some dishes. The sweet wines were clean and fresh with a good acidity to balance the sweetness and oh so difficult to spit out!
Come and join us and try them for yourself!