Saturday, July 17, 2010

TDF 2010 Stage 13: Rodez to Revel

Up today is Ben Wood, gypsy jazz guitarist, cycling enthusiast, wine buyer at 67 Wine, and all around good guy.



Hi all,

Today I'm honored to be guest posting on David McDuff's blog. He has covered the Tour De France in a vinous way for the last several years. We managed to have him up to 67 wine for a tasting last week (while the race was in the Jura region). Today, I am writing about Stage 13 from Rodez to Revel. The course for this day is a fast rolling romp through the southwest part of the French countryside. The riders roll quite near to one of my favorite wine regions, Gaillac, and also pass Fronton, another great wine region in the southwest of France.

Unlike the stereotypical professional cycling racer, these wines are not steroidal monsters with chemical injections (kidding). The wines are, however, racy, controversial and fascinating. All of the great wines of these areas are made from native grapes that grow for the most part only in the southwest. Fascinating grapes like Braucol and Duras for red wines; Ondonc, Mauzac and Len De l'El for white and sparkling wines. These are unique grapes rescued from obscurity by winemakers like Patrice Lescarret at Domaine de Causse Marines.

These are wines of whimsy, interest and intensity. A member of the "vins naturels" movement, Lescarret practices organic farming with some biodynamic ideas as well as extremely minimal intervention in the cellar. The wines are focused on the native grapes in the region and include a cuvee named "Les Greilles," an AOC Gaillac made from all of the local grapes. A beautiful crisp white wine with honeysuckle and mineral notes, dry on the palate and refreshing, one of my favorite wines to drink.

There are some telling images on the label:

(the saluting mouse, and the no badger symbol) involving the personal mythology (M. Lescarret is called the mouse, and badgers hunt mice . . . This was the story I was given. A good mystery for you!).

A second wine from Gaillac that I love is made by Brigitte and Alain Cazottes of Domaine des Terrisses. Racy and good, the red from this estate has proven to be one of our best selling wines. The grapes are farmed biodynamically, and the soil site has quite a lot of clay (up to 60% in some parcels); because of this the wine comes through with strong aromatics and great flavor. Firmly in the Syrah camp, this wine smells of garrigue (a bit) and dark red fruit, with soil-y mineral notes and a hint of game. Beautiful and complex, it is racy and thirst quenching with just enough weight to make you know it is wine!

Tomorrow will be a fast and hopefully interesting stage as the riders pass some very great vineyards. Makes me wish I was there to eat the food, drink the wines and cheer on the riders!!

Up next: your guess is as good as mine....

3 comments:

saignee said...

From what a producer we will be working for tells me the badger is the a play on the French word for "redneck-douchebags"

David McDuff said...

Nice. Maybe there should be a saluting squirrel on the label...?

David McDuff said...

Ben,
Glad to hear you enjoy the wines from the Cazottes at Domaine des Terrisses. Used to sell the wines -- red, white and rosé. Solid wines and great values across the board. I miss them.

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