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Superlative Saint-Chinian

Oct 6-12, 2014

Had you been a civil engineer in 2nd century BC working on The Via Domitia (the first Roman road through Gaul linking Italy and Hispania) you might have quenched your thirst by drinking wine grown in and around Saint-Chinian. Clambering up out of the Languedoc Plain, with Mount Caroux and Espinouse furnishing a picturesque backdrop, it’s there on the southern slopes of clay and limestone that Isabelle and Mathieu Champart are creating singular and impressive wines in this ancient region that’s seen a tremendous surge in quality over the past couple decades.

Mas Champart 3-webBack in 1976, Isabelle, a Parisian with a degree in Geography, and Mathieu, from a family of farmers in Champagne, began cultivating vines on a humble 20 acre farmstead. For close to twelve years they sold their grapes to the local cooperative but once they decided to bottle under their own label they gained almost instant acclaim. Since then, they’ve acquired another 40 acres planted with vines, orchards, and arable crops. Mathieu tends to the vines, Isabelle makes the wines, and this small slice of the Languedoc is their life. Once, when asked by a visitor if they had children, Isabelle swept her hand across the outside of their winery and answered immediately, “Look around. This is my child.”

The Champarts employ sustainable techniques in their farming and are slowly integrating more organic practices. The grapes are harvested by hand and fermentation is done with indigenous yeasts. 2011 is a superb vintage for the Languedoc region as a whole. The wines possess beautiful aromatics and have sunny, full and layered personalities on the palate. The finest have gorgeous depth and concentration, as well as ample structure.

We’re offering three different Mas Champart cuvées, each with personalities of their own.

2011 Mas Champart Pays d’Oc
$19.99/bottle SOLD OUT
The blend for 2011 is 95% cabernet franc and 5% syrah. Fruit forward and easy drinking.

2011 Mas Champart Saint-Chinian “Causse de Bousquet”
$25/bottle
65% syrah, 23% mourvèdre, and 12% grenache mainly sourced from a lieu-dit called Le Bosquet. Aged in barrels and demi-muids for at least 12 months, and then blended and aged in cuve for 8 months for being bottled unfiltered.

2011 Mas Champart Saint-Chinian “Clos de la Simonette”
$39/bottle
70% mourvèdre and 30% grenache aged for 18 months in demi-muids after a long maceration. Bottled unfiltered. Though this wine is easy to appreciate now for its inky complexity, it ages extremely well and really shines after some decanting.

 

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Posted on 2014.10.01 in France, Languedoc-Roussillon, Special Selections

 

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