In a nutshell: A fresh, smooth and silky organic red from the small southern French appellation of Minervois in the Languedoc
The lowdown: At the small estate of Le Clos du Gravillas they make quite a range of wines, each in quite limited quantities. This, their AOC Minervois is a blend of 50% Carignan and 50% Syrah which is hand picked. It's fermented and aged in tank for 12 months and then aged for a further six months in bottle beofre release. The result is a wine with fresh, sweet ripe fruits on the nose which are joined by touches of sweet spice on the palate. A solid mineral backbone and silky texture give this highly accomplished wine a wonderful feel as it reaches the lengthy finish.
When to drink: The bright flavours make this the perfect thing to have with lamb tagine, a roast vegetable couscous or stuffed peppers.
This is a fantastic little domaine based in the hamlet of Saint-Jean de Minervois in the Languedoc region of SW France. Founded in the 1990s and run by Nicole and John Bojanowski on completely organic principles producing wines "that talk and help make magic the moments with friends sat around a table".
The landscape is rough and rugged 'garrigue' Mediterranean countryside - very rocky and scrubby, so great for vines. There's a bit of a micro-climate here with the vineyards sitting on slopes at 300m above sea level that catch the cool evening breeze and therefore retaining great natural acidity. This is balanced by hot days in summer creating ripe grapes with good structure and depth.
In some ways the domaine is a bit old school, being on the smaller end of the scale yet growing 15 different varietals, quite a few of which have been there a lifetime. In 1999 they 'discovered' that they actually had 6 acres of old vine Carignan and from there on in a love affair with this historically forgotten about 'blending' grape ensued resulting in the big, powerful and deeply impressive 'Lo Vielh' wine.