Planeta, Michel Maestrojuan, Ténarèze, Gascogne, France 2013

Planeta white.jpg
Planeta white.jpg

Planeta, Michel Maestrojuan, Ténarèze, Gascogne, France 2013

16.50

I have to admit that I'm a bit of a sucker for a wax seal and it was that which persuaded me to buy a bottle of this to have with dinner while I was in Gascony recently. It's not just the aesthetic appeal of a shiny blob where a capsule should otherwise be, but it usually says something about the way a wine has been made, suggesting an artisanal, hand-made, free-spirited approach. I'm so glad I was seduced, because as soon as I tasted it, I knew I had to meet the winemaker and two days later I was standing in the vineyard with him. 

Confusingly, Michel Maestrojuan is the son of Michel Maestrojuan, whose father, Michel Maestrojuan, settled in Gascony after fleeing Spain during the Spanish Civil War. Michel Maestrojuan (the last-mentioned) met his wife in the 1940s when they were grape-pickers for a grower in Ténarèze and they eventually saved up enough money to buy a small plot of land of their own and began making and bottling their own wine and Armagnac. Sixty years later, it is their grandson who is taking over the estate and clearly has ambitions to bring the wines into the 21st Century, using wild yeasts, minimal additions, lees-ageing and low sulphur for this eye-popping white!

The wine has a rich golden colour from the Petit Manseng grapes, which dominate the blend, admirably supported by two other local stalwarts, Ugni Blanc and Colombard. One might expect a wine with such a lustrous hue to be honeyed and excessively ripe, but it's not at all, it bristles with energy and intense concentration. Fermented in one third new oak, it has a gorgeous creaminess, not unlike a classic interpretation of a Meursault, as well as a hint of Jura Chardonnay in its slightly nutty richness, but it's also brimming with minerals and tangy citrus, thanks, respectively, to the pink clay and limestone soil and the signature 'grapefruit' note provided by the Petit Manseng. 13% alc. Drink now-2020. Only 6 barrels were produced.

N.B. On the back label it lists the first names of all the people who picked the grapes. Nice touch! 

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