NEW! Corbieres Blanc, Domaine des Deux Clés, Languedoc, France 2016

Corbieres Blanc Les Deux Cles.jpg
Corbieres Blanc Les Deux Cles.jpg

NEW! Corbieres Blanc, Domaine des Deux Clés, Languedoc, France 2016

18.50

We don’t need an alarm clock when we have wines like this on our list. It’s not just the quality of the wine itself, it’s the joy of discovering an exciting new winery taking their first tentative steps. The young couple at the helm, Florian et Gaëlle Richter, met while they were working in Burgundy and have been together ever since, both romantically and as winemakers. In 2015 they bought a small parcel of organic old vines near the hamlet of Fontjoncouse in Corbieres (only 120 inhabitants, but a 3-star Michelin restaurant!) and so the dream began. Thanks to winemaking stints in Burgundy and the Rhone (Florian was an intern at Chateau de Beaucastel) as well as Tuscany, California, New Zealand and Germany, they have brought backpacks full of experience to this wild part of the Languedoc, known locally as the Vallee du Paradis, which sits high in the hills above Carcassonne.

Their aim is to bring a Burgundian sensibility to this rugged region, so parcel selection is important, as is freshness and tension in the wines, which is greatly influenced by the fact that the vineyards sit at 1,000 feet above sea level, so it’s much cooler than down on the plains. This and the combination of seriously old vines (their youngest are 60 years old, but most range between 80 and 109 years of age) and the health of the vineyards (they are converting to biodynamic farming, although Florian says they have been too busy to get certification) means that the fruit is of the highest quality, but they still perform a rigorous selection process before it’s allowed into the winery. If it all fails, they would make good nightclub bouncers.

Onto their only white wine, the Corbieres Blanc 2016. It’s a blend of Macabeu, Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris and Vermentino, fermented with indigenous yeasts and aged in Burgundian oak barrels (20% new). This was the wine that hooked us and reeled us in. It’s so beautifully chiselled and fine, a terroir wine first and foremost, but more than just a curiosity for geography junkies, it’s a cracking drink! The aromas are so well-mannered, they don’t talk over each other, so each one gets a chance to speak, articulating wild lemons, wet stones, ginger, honeysuckle, chalk, quinine, lime and salt. We’re huge fans of these mineral whites from the South and this is right up there with the best. 13.5% alc. Drink now-2021.

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