2017 Mas d'Amile Terrasses du Larzac Le Petitou
Region: Terrasses du Larzac < Languedoc < France
Grapes: Grenache 60%, Carignan 20%, Syrah 20%
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic farming with biodynamic practices; high-elevation vineyards on limestone soils; grapes are destemmed before fermenting and aging in neutral barrels; bottled unfined/unfiltered with minimal SO2, 12.5% ABV
Winemaker: Amélie and Jérôme d'Hurladorde
Amélie and her brother, Sébastien, inherited a 2.5 acre parcel of old Carignan vines from their grandfather in 2007, and Mas d'Amile was born. With the help of her husband, Jérôme, Amélie has grown her operation to 18.5 acres, in the commune of Montpeyroux within the Terrasses du Larzac appellation, an exciting and relatively new appellation in Languedoc. From the beginning, Amélie has farmed organically, and is increasingly using biodynamic methods. More impressive still is that Amélie farms the land mostly herself, though she brings in the extended family, including her daughter, when it's time for the harvest.
The parcels are 25 miles from the mediterranean, and back up against the limestone mountains of the Massif Central. The appellation sits at a high elevation, has dramatic temperature shifts from day to night, and infertile soil, all of which help make fantastic wines - remember, grapes need to suffer to be beautiful, like this lovely little Le Petitou! Here, the Grenache and Syrah come from the highest hillside parcels, which are windswept and dense in limestone, with the Carignan coming from a lower vineyard. The grapes are de-stemmed before fermentation, to help mellow out the gnarly tannins of these big red varietals. The result is a smooth, rich, earthy wine, with anise notes and a briny character. Serve slightly chilled, with a late summer BBQ or aperitif spread.