2018 Combel La Serre 'Formule Secrete: L'Epatant Antidote à la Chaleur du Causse' Rosé
Region: Cahors < France
Vineyard/cellar stats: ECOCERT-certified organic; 40-year old vines on clay/limestone soils of the causse; 50% free-run and 50% press juice fermented and aged in small tanks; bottled unfined/unfiltered with minimal So2; 12.5% ABV
Winemaker: Julien Ilbert
Combel La Serre has been certified organic since 2013, though farmed without chemicals for several decades up to that point--the family long blames the death of Julien’s grandfather from severe Parkinson’s disease on a lifetime of exposure to the conventional chemicals so commonly used by French farmers in the mid-20th century--so they eliminated them long ago. All of the vineyards lie on a causse, a limestone plateau of 350 meters in elevation, above the alluvial, gravelly plain along the Lot river - a high altitude site with cooler temps and and more interesting soil than the larger, flatter, warmer rest of Cahors, a fairly industrial region next o Bordeaux that is not known for organic farming or natural wines. This pretty dark pink rosé of Malbec (known locally as Auxerrois) is cheekily called Formule Secrete: L'Epatant Antidote à la Chaleur du Causse, which translates as 'The Splendid Antidote to the Heat of the Causse'. Because the causse gets brutally hot in the summer, and clearly this refreshing elixer is the savior. As you might expect with Malbec, the fruit is dense and ripe, with creamy raspberry, bitter orange peel, and a heady mix of earth, smoke and clove cigarette, balanced by a kiss of sweet spice. A fantastic food wine, and great value.