It is always pleasure to find a worthy selection from a time-honored winery. This wine originates from a chateau which was, according to the importer’s notes, “restored to its present condition in 1832.” The ancient domaine of Chateau de Gourgazaud is noted, in fact, on maps dating from the seventeenth century. What is more important, they have learned something over the years and they care about quality. De Gourgazaud is currently the highest ranked wine growing estate in the Minervois.
Having first been planted by the Romans nearly two thousand years ago, Minervois is one of the oldest vineyard districts in France. It vies with its neighbor, Corbieres, for top honors as the best vineyard district in Languedoc, the vast plain wherein virtually half of France’s wines are produced.
In 1986 about 45,000 acres of Minervois were promoted from V.D.Q.S. (Vins Delimite de Qualite Superieur) rank to “Appellation Controllee”. Only the most scrupulously produced French wines, adhering to strictly defined production guidelines, merit this status.
Nature has blessed Chateau de Gourgazaud, which is situated on about 100 acres of some of the finest vineyards in Minervois, with two major quality-contributing factors: a) The vines grow on hillsides bearing a southern exposure.
Thus they receive maximum sunlight, which ensures complete ripeness; b) The soil at the domaine has a high manganese content, which imparts to the wines a particular, distinctive bouquet.
Rhone Valley wine fanciers will find the grapes in this month’s import familiar. Complex Mourvedre anchors the fruity Grenache, while the firm Carignan and elegant Syrah balance each other in nice harmony.
In the glass the wine exhibits a majestic deep red/purple color. Intense aromas of berries, earth and oak engulf the senses. Then, a rich, “plummy” fruitiness drapes the palate. The wine is full, round, smooth and fruity. It finishes dry. Clean, classic blackcurrant and black pepper flavors linger in the aftertaste. This wine is easy on the palate, yet very interesting and complex.
Serve at room temperature with grilled porterhouse steak, coq au yin or a fruit and cheese platter.
Cellaring Notes: While this is a wine that can certainly be held for several more years, it is so good now, why wait?
Reviewed by Larry Tepper