Chateau Maris Grenache “Nouvelles Fraiches” Minervois Cru La Livinière 2010
This deliciously morish wine is a joy to the senses and will not fail to please. The pretty, deep magenta hue is typical of healthy, sun-ripened Grenache and the sweet damson fruit with hints of dark chocolate aromas are just as inviting. When you get your first taste you'll be struck by the lusciousness of the dark autumnal fruit, the sweet spice and the perfectly-integrated, smooth as silk tannins. The long-lingering flavours are to be savoured and, we think, shine even brighter with an appropriately matched plate of food. Nothing fussy... A hearty sausage and lentil casserole would work a treat.
As per our winemaker Benjamin: “I actually do less and less since the grapes are being harvested every year with a bit more balance thanks to Biodynamic farming. I also don’t like Grenache with “stewed orange” aromas; I really want to keep the fruit as vibrant as possible so I work with as little oxygen as possible.” Many Grenaches today are picked unripe in order to make wines that are 12.5% but Grenache naturally wants to go higher and we let fermentation go where it wants to go as long as the wine stays balanced. The juice is vinified in oak conical foudre and aged in 100% in oak vats for 12 months. It is intensely purple in color, the nose is complex and elegant; with blackcurrants and grenadine notes, followed by roasted coffee beans, red and morello cherries. The palate is full, mellow and juicy… forward and fruity.
Dry until May when we were fortunate to get 110mm of rain that was to prove important in the intensely dry months that followed. We used biodynamic plant infusions in the vineyard (chamomile, nettle…). Limited trimming also prevented vine stress.
Harvest began, in the sunshine on the 15th September. Syrah was the first to be picked and we finished – still with the sun in the sky – with the Grenache on the 7th October. The harvest was a little stop and start as we worked to ensure we were the picking the grapes when they were at optimal ripeness.
The weather was perfect and the ripening period was slow; both of which helped give us fabulously concentrated, small-berried grapes that allowed us to produce wines that are amongst the best we have ever made at Château Maris.
The wines are concentrated with elegance and depth. Aromatically they have real complexity with floral and mineral notes and real freshness. It has been an especially successful vintage for grenache that has achieved the complexity and concentration of the great Southern Rhones…
Dark brown and red coloured soils.
The grapes for this wine come from vineyards planted on hard and soft limestone and alluvial soils. The texture is balanced and is light at the top, becoming increasingly heavy the deeper you go. The vertical clay migration reduces the carbon levels.
Vinfication : The juice is vinified in oak tanks and during the four week-long maceration is gently pumped over with some punching of the cap.
Ageing : 100% in oak for 12 months.
Appearance : Intense purple
Nose : Complex and elegant; blackcurrants and grenadine, followed by roasted coffee beans, red and morello cherries.
Palate : Full, mellow and juicy… forward and fruity.
PH : 3.51
SR : 2.4g/l
% : 15.50%
Jancis Robinson on Grenache"Nouvelles Fraiches" Grenache 2008
"The fruit, the whole fruit and the wines tastes as though there is nothing but the fruit in this splendidly rich evocation of Grenache's visceral appeal. Perhaps helped by Bertie Eden's organic going on biodynamic methods, this throbs with life and is all too easy to glug."
David Schildknecht, Wine Advocate, June 2011
The Maris 2008 Grenache displays ripe red raspberry and strawberry in confitured and fresh form - a nice change of pace from the darker berries that dominate most of the wines from this address. Nutmeg, almond extract and inner-mouth heliotrope perfume seductively compliment this excellent value's sweetness of fruit. It is almost like chamber music compared to the symphonic scope characteristic for Chateau Maris - and what lovely music! I would tentatively plan to enjoy this over the next two years while the fruit is very fresh, though it might well end up evolving interestingly for a couple of years thereafter.