Wine Country

Mas Des Lunes – Grés de Montpellier AOP – 2012 – Vignobles JeanJean- Majestic £13.99 Grenache, Syrah.

The days are getting longer, the nights hotter as we head towards the summer equinox. This time of year heralds some famous sporting events, Euro 2016, Le Mans 24hrs, and the historic Tour De France. Fortunately for us slurpers, all three of these events are held in wine country. What better way to appreciate the spectacle of these historic events then with glass in hand?

Thankfully Vignobles JeanJean have created something very special with which to toast the success of this bountiful summer of sport, conveniently hosted in the most famous wine producing country of all, la Belle France. This 5th generation wine family have been producing and selling wines in Languedoc and France since the late 1800’s. Although currently involved in producing wines from various appellations in Languedoc, Mas Des Lunes is a wonderful example of the quality of wines produced in the Grés de Montpellier.

The extensive cru of the Grés de Montpellier stretches north and southwest of this historical city, equally famous as an ancient University City and the current I.T. capital of France.

The terroir here benefitting not only from varying soil types but also from the cooling breeze of the Mediterranean. This helps to produce wines which often showcase delicate characteristics of the garrigue, but also the deep and complex flavours associated with wines further afield towards Faugeres and Pezenas.

The Grés de Montpellier was launched in 2003 (the Decree being applicable from the 2002 harvest). Covering vineyards in and around the Montpellier area, it stretches over an area from the Hérault middle valley to the Vidourle, and from the Mediterranean in the south to the Pic Saint-Loup in the north.

Mas des Lunes is a blend of Grenache and Syrah both popular Languedocien varieties,

The vines live on red clay soil and have a layer of pebbles on the top to help with warmth and drainage. All wines produced by this domaine are AB, which means they are free from chemical nasty’s and the vines are grown in sympathy with the land. This is evident in both the appearance and taste of the wine. Fermentation takes place in 500 litres oak barrels for 30% of the cuvee, and in stainless steel tanks with temperature control (25-28°C) for the other part. A daily punching down in the barrels, pumping over and rack and return in the stainless steel tanks allows the aromas and colour extraction to be maximized. The maceration of the Syrah is long, ageing lasts 12 months in French oak barrels (2/3 new and 1/3 1-year-old).

The appearance of this wine is exceptionally deep, robes of velvet red almost dark cherry to the eye. A quick slurp reveals a marvelous mélange of spice and red fruit, hints of the garrigue with wild delicate herbs are present, coupled with the warming spice of the Syrah in the background.  There are lingering notes of mint present and a wonderful subtle flavor of chocolate in the back ground. The finish is long and the wine is complex and exceptionally rounded. Well integrated tannins and balanced acidity give an insight into potential ageing, although that would require some patience.

This wine is a personal favorite; it exhibits all the characteristics that make wines from this area special. Having recently been awarded Gold in the Top 100 Sud De France wines, don’t take my word for it, why not try it for yourself. Bienvenue France!

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