Monday, February 09, 2009
Big News: A New Addition to the Portfolio!
OK, OK, I know, this isn't huge news, but this doesn't happen very often. I am infinitely picky and annoyingly slow at adding wineries to my portfolio, but then again that's how I work, so deal with it. However, I am happy to announce that I have decided to add this winery, Clos Bagatelle, to my line-up.
This domaine has been run by the same family since 1623, when their ancestors bought plots of land in and around the town of Saint-Chinian. Today, they farm 60 hectares (approx. 148.31 acres) of vineyards, whose soils are a combination of shist, limestone and clay, at an average altitude of 120 meters (396 feet).
The brother-sister team of Christine and Luc manages the estate these days. Their wines are really special and well-made, never too ripe or over the top but well-balanced by their fruit and their acidity. What results are wines that are not just traditional, but offer a certain sense of place and time that is defined by the term terroir. And if their basic bottling, le Clos Bagatelle Tradition, retails for more than $13, you're in the wrong store. I'm just saying.
The landscape, as you can see, is rough, stoney, and dry, perfect for really abusing the vines and making them work for a living. Only through suffering (of the vines) can greatness be achieved!
They treat their vines with the utmost care, using sustainable agriculture methods, and harvest everything manually. Their oldest vines can be found on the hilltops, where 50+ year-old Grenache and Cinsault thrive despite their age and the drought-like conditions.
Finally, older wooden barrels are used to soften the wines and add a certain "roundness" to them without imparting oak flavors. The results speak for themselves.
Their basic bottling, the Clos Bagatelle Cuvée Tradition, is a blend of Grenache (40%), Syrah (20%), Carignan (20%), Cinsault (10%) and Mourvèdre (10%). The nose offers dark fruits and berries with hints of guarrigue, which follow through on the palate on a lovely frame that is well-structured and refreshing.
The Clos Bagatelle Donnadieu Cuvée Camille et Juliette is an assemblage of Grenache (40%), Carignan (30%), and Syrah (30%) and comes from hilltop-planted, old-vine Grenache and Cinsault (50+ years old). Much more Rhône-like than its sibling, this offers dark berries with game, meat and olive notes.
The Clos Bagatelle Donnadieu Cuvée Mathieu et Marie also comes from old-vine Grenache (20%) but has more Syrah (50%), with Mourvèdre (15%) and Carignan (15%) rounding out the blend. Another wine that is reminiscent of the Rhône, this wine has darker fruits than the Cuvée Camille et Juliette, with some guarrigue and an almost bacon-like note that appears with some air.
So if you're a distributor looking to add something interesting and unique, feel free to contact me. I'll be showing these wines around in the next few weeks, so wish me luck!