Monday, 30 July 2012

Mas Coutelou

Mas Coutelou Wines

A range of wines from Mas Coutelou, a producer based Puimisson in the Languedoc region, just north of the town of Beziers. They are organic-certified since 1987, which their website helpfully points out is way before the whole 'Organic' viticulture theme became fashionable / the 'in' thing, now also bio-dynamic. Minimal intervention in the vineyard and during vinification (probably means no cultured yeasts too), no filtration and minimal use of sulphur at bottling. In the words of Sir Humphrey of Yes Minister fame, its 'brave' winemaking.

The sole UK importer and retailer (as far as I know) is Roberson Wine, and retail prices are indicated. I thought I gave the Mas Coutelou range a try since last year they received such good press in the UK particularly from Jancis Robinson (here) and Decanter magazine, so much so that I couldn't get my hands on any of them. Roberson's current offer for the Mas Coutelou wines can be found here, pictures were taken from their website.

2011 7, Rue de la Pompe

£9.95 | A-

The nose, in one word, is funky; so much secondary characters showing, its meaty and gamey, cured meat / bacon savoury notes showing too, alongside kelp and seaweed (hints of the old Islay malts here); plenty of rustic / farmyard notes too; the not insignificant fruit is unfortunately hidden behind this mass of aromas. Bright fruit on the palate, blackberries and dark plums; some balsamic acidity to this, also a grainy sensation on the finish; feels fresh and bright, but perhaps a touch volatile. I'd love to see this settle down with age, drink now - 2016+.
This probably wont be for everyone, theres enough funkiness going on to suggest that the wine isnt 'clean' but  the palate bears out the fruit.

2011 Les Vin des Amis
£12.95 | A-

Bright fruit on the nose, bags of red plums and berries, some jammy compote / coulis / cooked fruit there too; bags of fruit, really quite voluptuous, with hints of violets too. On the palate, its got a fresh fruity acidity; oodles of dark plums and blackberries; quite extracted, theres a noticeable texture and heft on the palate, doesnt make it heavy, has gravitas shall we say. I'd prefer it as a food wine, I think; bit too big for drinking on its own; lovely bright flavours though. Should be able to age with ease, drink now - 2016+.
To me, a more mainstream, clean fruit-driven wine; bold flavours.

2001 Ouest
£14.95 | A-

On opening, lots of savoury notes of cured meats / game, also of smoky bacon; slowly evolving into prunes, stewed plums and currants, along with sweet spice; earthy notes with anise too. On the palate, its very smooth and settled; you can taste the maturity on the mouthfeel; fruit is still there but isnt bold anymore; prunes and stewed plums dominate. Fresh fruit acidity still running through it, with fine grained tannins on the finish; drinking very nicely now, but should still develop; drink now - 2016+.
Very surprised that a minimally-sulphured wine hasnt fallen apart with bottle age; quite the contrary, its drinking very nicely.

2001 Sud
£14.95 | B+

Stewed fruit on the nose, red plums and some spice; theres a port-like, almost hot / alcoholic nose to this, makes you think its quite sweet. On the palate, the fruit is still prominent but settled, decent acidity too; mouthfeel not as generous as the Ouest. Feels like a mature claret thats perhaps just past its best, felt the Ouest was a little bit more interesting. Still drinks very nicely, if anything it lacks some of the funkiness; drink now.

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