FRANCE (Maury) - Sweet redwine, redwine as sweet wine. Southern France has a wonderful tradition related to that and we would like to take a close look at it. Sweet redwine is considered "eww" in Germany. Basically, if you have ever tasted a sweet German Pinot Noir from the late 80s you'll probably never be able to accept sweet red wine. However, if you were ever tempted to enjoy chocolate desert with the right wine you should be happy that there is sweet red wine out there - a chocolate desert is an act of balance, if there is supposed to be wine that goes with it.
It is the vineyards of the Roussillon, the region around Perpignan along the Spanish border, where the vines for the "Vin doux naturel" are grown. "Naturel": It sounds paradox, since these wines are "fortified" (German - gespritet), i.e. interrupting the fermentation process with pure alcohol, is the exact opposite of a natural process. In this case "naturel" refers to the natural residual sugar. The sweetness in the wine used to not come from the must, but from
Ninety percent of French production of "Vin doux naturel" comes from the Roussillon. The best wines are made out of the vine type Grenache Noir and are stored in wooden kegs for many years outside. The process of oxidation enables this product to be stored basically forever. First, however, you have to like this oldfashioned style. Everyone else that rather determines himself when the wine is mature enough should go for modern interpretations instead.
"Rimage" is the term for those wines that are very close to the Vintage port wines in terms of style in the region of Banyuls. They do not mature in kegs for years, but instead are filled into bottles pretty early, in order to achieve their maturity there. The goal is to achieve a very sweet fruit, like the ones you find in young port wines. Juicy sweetness and full aromas instead of oxydative notes of dried fruit and nuts. It is actually rather a question of taste than elegance whether you let the wines mature or drink it early.
Jean François Deu, owner of the Domaine du Traginer decided over 20 years ago that he would go with biological viticulture. His wines are some of the most timeless wines in this bizarr area, where the vineyards are very close to the sea and the air smells of salt and herbs.
Deus 2004 „Rimage" is a rather light Banyuls type, that smells of tanned hazelnuts and red fruit. You will also notice a dark, black relish that reminds you of olives and wet vineyard grounds. Even the sea foam that the Deus vines can feel, seem to have been included in the wine. In the mouth it gives a taste of fully sweet cherries, rum-like fruits and the green bitterness of walnuts. You can really feel and taste the tannin and the wine's sweetness is drying but balanced. (felix.eschenauer - cptn.cork)
And in part II you will find out more about strong sweetness from the apellation Maury...
|Part II (Maury): Sweet redwine? Aha.Or ugh?|