Import Selection: Blanc de Blanc, 1990. Domaine de Felines

When, between 1976 and 1984 the authorities of the Languedoc wine growing regions of France set out to change their image, the Herault district was one of the first to accept the challenge.

Long known as France’s “wine reservoir”, the Languedoc needed a new image. The district of He­rault uprooted 74,000 acres of vineyard to clear the way for just that purpose. To the wine world, the emphasis on these districts was quantity, quantity, quantity. What is really interesting is that not 15 minutes from the little district of Herault is Montpellier. The city of Montpellier houses France’s oldest university and its oldest vineyards. It is the capital of French viticul­ture (let me explain the difference of “viticulture” and “viniculture” here. Viticulture is the study of the cultivation of the vine; hybrid se­lection planting, grafting and tending to the grapes. Viniculture picks up where viticulture leaves off; be­ing the study of the transformation and elaboration of the grape juice into the wine itself). Yet, 14 miles away is the wine region that be­came known to the country as its “wine reservoir”. One of the players in this district’s transfor­mation is the Domaine de Felines.

The Domaine de Felines is owned by the Jean-Marie Cazottes family and is just south of Mont­pellier. Their wines are crafted by Chateau Petrus trained Marc Du­bernet (Chateau Petrus currently produces the most expensive wine in the world). Marc is considered one of France’s leading oenolo­gists. His approach to making wine in this region is twofold:

  • Take advantage of the multi­tude of local grape varieties to create a balanced blend and;
  • Use modern techniques to create increased fruitiness, ligh­tened acidity and create a crisp wine of 2-3 year life.

This Blanc de Blanc, “white of whites”, is crafted from 5 local grape varieties; Grenache Blanc, Terret (used for vermouth and old­er brandies), Maccabeu, Piquepoul (also used in Vermouth), and Ugni Blanc (used for Armagnac). It has bright greenish-gold tints of color. The nose is full of citrus fruits with a hint of nuts. The body is light with the citrus flavor coming through and a clean crisp finish rounding out the wine. Not a com­plex wine, but elegant in its sim­plicity, well-balanced and refresh­ing.

Serve chilled as an aperitif or with dinner such as grilled chicken or seafood lightly coated with olive oil and herbs.

Cellaring notes: For service now through 1993.

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