Thursday, April 26, 2012

HOLY GRENACHE!




2010 Fitou 'Atsuko' Domaine Les Mille Vignes
Valerie Guerin

If you do a bit of research online, you’ll find very little information about this wine. If you do a lot of research at the local library you'll probably find even less. Only 2000 or so bottles of Atsuko are produced in a given year, and the wine is made only in excellent vintages. The domaine does not export their wines, and the bulk of the production goes directly to chefs and sommeliers at a selected few bonnes tables. In France, there are only a handful of retailers. For those outside the hexagon, apart from visiting us in Paris or having a friend smuggle bottles back in their rolled up t-shirts, this is probably your first opportunity to taste what is one of my favorite Grenache wines on the planet. 

Let's be honest, when most winelovers hear the word Fitou, here are some words that are unlikely to come to mind: delicious, elegant, low-yield, exceptional, ageworthy…
And yet those positive qualities are perfectly embodied in the wines of Valerie Guérin, proprietresse of the tiny Domaine Les Mille Vignes located in the heart of the Languedoc a few kilometers east of Carcassone, overlooking the Mediterranean sea. Historically, the appellation Fitou, located just north of the town of Narbonne, has a reputation for producing lots of wine: mediocre, harsh, tannic, and red - for the most part served by the liter from gas-station style pumps and bottled at home. Tasting wines from Les Mille Vignes for the first time, one is flabbergasted that no other winemakers from the area have deemed the terroir of Fitou worthwhile to attempt making world-class exceptional wines. Yet Valerie does just that, and the cuvée Atsuko is consistently and by far my favorite wine from the domaine.
 
Atsuko comes from a single parcel of 75-year old Grenache vines called La Serre, surrounded by garrigue and thorns, exposed to the cooling breezes of the Mediterranean sea. The vineyard is carefully tended - one could easily imagine her or the vineyard workers leading a seminar at the Ecole Nationale Superiéure du Paysage in Versailles. Yields are only 18 hectolitres per hectare. To put this number in context, the average yield at Domaine de la Romanée-Conti is 19 HL/HA. The wine is aged in small tanks for thirteen months, each of which holds a bit less than a barrel of wine. Valerie maintains that this approach allows her to keep a very close eye on each lot until the final assemblage. 
 
Instead of purity masked by barrels or alcoholic intensity covered up by new oak, in Atsuko, there is an aromatic floral bouquet matched with an intensity of ripe brambly fruit. It's easy to expect the wine to be smokey, with a rich heavy body from grapes that spent the season in the hot seaside sun. The fruit certainly doesn't disappoint - it's rich and ripe as advertised, but there is a suprise - the wine is somehow light and nimble, not heavy at all, and easy to drink.  

2010 Fitou 'Atsuko'    Domaine Les Mille Vignes                 
Export Price / No taxes:                            38.00€ per bottle / 410.40€ per case
EU Price / Includes all taxes:                    45.00€ per bottle / 486.00€ per case

2009 Fitou 'Atsuko'    Domaine Les Mille Vignes     (limit 3 per person)            
Export Price / No taxes:                            38.00€ per bottle / 410.40€ per case
EU Price / Includes all taxes:                    45.00€ per bottle / 486.00€ per case

If you would like to taste it - just give us a call or send an email  - we can ship worldwide. 


Best,
 Joshua Adler
 Spring Caviste
La Serre Vineyard

1 comment:

  1. If you do a bit of research online, you’ll find very little information about this wine. If you do a lot of research at the local library you'll probably find even less. pirater un compte facebook

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