Domaine de Montcalmès - Rising Star of the Languedoc
In recent years, Domaine de Montcalmès has made a reputation for itself as a rising star of the Languedoc, justifying Jeb Dunnuck’s (Robert Parker’s successor at the Wine Advocate) suggestion that the region’s crus are “diamonds in the rough”. Michelin-starred restaurants and seasoned wine lovers alike can’t get enough of these wines from Frédéric Pourtalié, former apprentice at Grange des Pères (Languedoc), Mas Jullien (Languedoc) and Alain Graillot (Crozes-Hermitage).
After learning the ropes at these prestigious domains, Frédéric Pourtalié accepted to take over the family domain in 1998, on condition that it was taken out of the local cooperative winery. Since then, in collaboration with his sister Muriel Fabre, he has cultivated the 22 hectares of vines in the municipalities of Aniane, Saint-Jean de Fos, Puéchabon, and Saint-Saturnin de Lucian.
His Puéchabon vineyard is characterized by its limestone plateau and north-facing vines. These two factors give the Syrah and Grenache plants a fairly cool climate in spite of the Mediterranean warmth. On the other hand, the terroir in Aniane is reminiscent of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, thanks to its ‘galets’, those round pebbles for which Châteauneuf is famous, and its fully south-facing exposure. It’s no surprise that Mourvèdre grows here, a grape that doesn’t suffer in the heat and even drought, and that offers up concentrated notes of black fruits, spices, and meat.
Pourtalié decided to convert the domain to organic viticulture in 2012, gaining certification in 2015. He is gradually introducing biodynamic methods. Yields are low and only small amounts of wines are produced. The parcels are vinified separately, with meticulous care and attention to detail. The grapes are destemmed and vatted by gravity before macerating for a good month, imparting the wine-to-be with plentiful flavors, texture, color…and aging potential. Fermentations are carried out with ambient yeasts. The wine ages in old casks from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti for two years, then in stainless-steel vats for 3 to 6 months. The varieties are blended before bottling and the bottles rest on racks for another 5 to 8 months.
With time, these nectars gain in precision and balance; as Michel Bettane and Thierry Desseauve say, they are “dreams of wines”!
Credits : Idealwine