2020 Mas Mellet Costières de Nîmes 'Le B'
Region: Costières de Nîmes < Southern Rhône < France
Grapes: Roussane, Vermentino, Grenache Blanc, Viognier
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Biodynamic farming (certified); sandstone plots facing due north, providing a lot of acidity and freshness; destemmed, static cold settling; aged on fine lees in stainless steel tanks before bottling in March of 2021, unfined, unfiltered, with minimal added SO2; 14% ABV
Winemaker: Emilie and Brice Bolognini
When they were barely twenty years old, Emilie and Brice took on a serious 27 ha project of abandoned vines in the Gard region of southern France, the biggest viticultural region in the world (and definitely NOT a hotbed for natural wine). In their first year, 2003, they had a vintage, and have been refining ever since - slowing down, paring back, intervening less. They've cut down to 15 ha, hundreds of olive trees are also being planted and all the vineyards have been converted to biodynamic agriculture. Manual work is the priority and the sheep work during the winter. The wines are full of character, and have a lift and exuberance completely outside of what we've tasted from Costière de Nîmes. That may have something to do with the influence of their friend and collaborator, Eric Pfifferling of Domaine L'Anglore's fame.
As a result, their wines are high-toned, bright and floral, not heavy and dense like some Southern Rhône wines (it gets warm here). 'Le B' is textbook Rhône white, rich and ripe, but with a lift. It tastes faintly tropical, with pineapple and a hint of mange, finishing with a pleasant bitterness and bright acidity, making this a fantastic food wine. This is a fuller-bodied style of white wine with generous fruit that you can sink your teeth into, a texture achieved without butter or oak, making it quite versatile -- lovers of Chardonnay would definitely enjoy this wine, while those on the higher-acid white train would also find something to love here. Pair with creamy pasta dishes or roast chicken.