8 Feb 2008

Pruning Gloves

'There are no lugubrious, noisy grape picking machines here to swallow the leaves - or the inevitable snails and caterpillars that share the vines with the grapes...'
[MdDG. web site]
MAS DE Daumas Gassac is billeted under Vin de Pays status in name alone. I have often heard the legend behind this cult, almost agressively artisinal estate, originally purchased by a Parisian glove manufacturer as a holiday retreat some three decades ago. Its fine, vine friendly, deep red glacial soils, cooling altitude and tempering breezes soon captured the imagination of a 'passing' Bordeaux Geography Professor. Nurtured by 'genius' oenologist Emile Peynaud, purposely removed from retirement, the resulting vinous output from the former farm soon attracted serious critical celebration. Perhaps most notably, British Bacchus and tree expert Hugh Johnson termed it the "Grand Cru of the Midi".
The '98 Cabernet Sauvignon, my first introduction to the range, is bevelled with a terrific collage of grape ethnicities almost designed to offend the minds behind the Appellation d’origine contrôlée system... Living up to the hyperbole, Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Tannat, Pinot Noir, Nebbiolo, Grenache, Tempranillo and the pipette quantity presence of Armenian varieties result in a wine which positively vibrates. Sun toned red brick in colour, with an expressive classical nose. Layers of decadently sweet fruit, a powder cloud of iron like minerals and the warmth of setting butter. Garrigue herbs gently collide on the vivid, but never flamboyant, finespun palate. Tangible rather then tenacious tannins. Matured within the cellars of the Gallo-Roman mill sketched on the label.
'The complexity of Daumas Gassac derives heavily from the scents of myriad Mediterranean wild plants and herbs: bay, thyme, rosemary, lavender, laburnam, fennel, wild mint, lentisque, strawberry...'
[Caves De Pyrene]
FURTHER LINK: 'Wine is Dead' says MdDG's Aimé Guibert (by Tim Atkin MW)