Chateau Maris "Brama"
Grenache Gris, Vin de France 2011
This is in interesting story because it’s very rare to find a block planted with only Grenache Gris. In fact, in the past (and we’re not really sure as to why), Grenache Noir was often planted with a mix of 5 to 10% Grenache Gris. In the Minervois, most of what remains (many of it has been pulled) still goes together in the same fermentation tanks, but we’ve started to pick it separately two to three weeks before the reds with the 2010 vintage. We believe in this varietal and have just planted more this year. The vines for the 2010 “Brama” are between 50 and 70 years old.
2010 Château Maris Grenache Gris Brama (France, Languedoc Roussillon, Languedoc, Minervois-La Livinière) $42
An absolutely fabulous white that’s 100% Grenache Gris from vines averaging between 50-70 years in aged, from a single plot, the 2010 Château Maris Grenache Gris Brama delivers a brilliant array of fresh, focused tropical fruits, honeysuckle, lemon rind, and buttered almonds on the nose. Aged in a combination of new and used oak, this definitely sports a hint of barrique, yet the overall freshness and purity is exceptional, and the wine has more than enough richness and depth to handle it. Medium-bodied, racy, and pure on the palate, with a lovely, elegant texture that’s lifted by the wines acidity, this top-notch white opens up over the evening, so don’t be afraid to give it some air prior to serving. It should continue to shine for 2-3 years, if not quite a bit longer. (.)
2010 Vintage Score: 90 Pts, Sept. 2012
Rich and ripe, with concentrated flavors of apple, peach and glazed citrus flavors that are accented by luscious spicy notes. Intense honey cream and vanilla notes linger on the finish. Grenache Gris. Drink now through 2016. 50 cases made. –KM
David Schildknecht, Wine Advocate, June 2011
Tasted blind, it was not hard to guess the varietal origins of Maris's 2010 Brama - the first of its kind - rendered in tiny volume from an ancient, largely Grenache Gris vineyard. (Brama is a mountainous site northwest of Felines where Domaine Courbissac also has acreage.) Loaded with ripe, lusciously juicy honeydew melon and pineapple, alluringly and intriguingly accented by mint and narcissus; this benefits from the counterpoint offered by lime peel and crushed stone in its finish. Vinified in a mixture of tank and new but not especially toasty barrique, it represents one more example of the versatility that accrues to one of the world's great yet obscure grapes. It's anybody's guess how this might age, but I suspect if will be best enjoyed over the next couple of years.