2019 Les Enfants Sauvage 'Che Chauvio' Côtes Catalanes Rouge
Region: Côtes Catalanes < Languedoc/Roussillon < France
Grapes: Cinsault, Syrah
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Certified organic/practicing biodynamic farming; clay/limestone soils; Syrah is pressed to tank / Cinsault is harvested at ripeness and added (whole-cluster) to the Syrah mid-fermentation for 3-5 months, then racked, pressed and finished in stainless steel for 5 months; bottled with light fining (vegan), no filtering and 25pppm So2; 12% ABV
Winemaker: Nikolaus and Carolin Bantlin
NEW VINTAGE (AND LABEL) ALERT!
This husband-and-wife team hails from Germany but fell in love with the south of France (they’re big into rock climbing and biking). After stumbling upon a large sheep pasture in Fitou, with a small number of vines planted, they were inspired to relocate to France and start making wines. Nikolaus has been studying anthroposophy (we had to look that up: the philosophy established by Rudolf Steiner that seeks to use natural means only to optimize physical and mental health and well-being) for a long time and had worked on biodynamic farms after studying at one of Rudolf Steiner’s schools in Germany. So the farming conversion to organic/biodynamic in 2001 was a given, and by 2004 they had built their own small winery. The vineyards are pristine -- hidden by the surrounding garrigue, with no neighbors in sight, the only threat being the overgrowth of vegetation and wild pigs. But with the vibrant growth around the vineyard, beneficial insects and birds naturally maintain the pest populations. They are also close to the Mediterranean, a mere five km away, lending a freshness to the wines despite the region’s warmth.
With this story, we were destined to love the wine (I mean, the guy has devoted his life to embodying Steiner’s principles!) My 3-word tasting notes confirmed this: "OMG yes amazing!!" This region gets hot, yet this wine is juicy, fresh and very light bodied - thanks to early picking, and treating about 40% of the fruit like rose (quickly pressed off the skins) for added freshness. Practically bursting with bright red fruits, cinnamon spice and pomegranate tartness, this is the ultimate fun, chillable, affordable red for all of winter-to-spring drinking needs.