Saturday, July 7, 2012

Côte d’Azur: Sun, Vines, and Wines!

I recently went to this independent, family-run vineyard for a dégustation (wine tasting). It was the owner who led the tour, his daughter who did the explanation of the wines being sampled, and his brother who artistically designs the labels for each year’s production – a real family affair! Some tour factoids: The vineyard is 400 meters in elevation and measures 5 hectares (11 acres) The vendange is done 2-3 times, between September and November, resulting in 12-15,000 bottles of wine They have 500 oak barrels, which are emptied/cleaned every year They do not use a filtration process, and their production is 100% natural 15-20% of their wines are exported to the US, China, Scandinavia, Switzerland; they supply many hotels in Nice, including the Negresco Hotel They use real corks, engraved bottles, and apply a top capsule as a guarantee of their quality Their wines range from 12.5 – 13.5% in alcohol content “Tears are the viscous threads of wine that run down the side of the glass – the greater the alcohol content, the higher the viscosity.” Before being placed into oak barrels, certain of their red wines are placed into large glass jugs and left to sit in the sun from 3-8 months — a process that reduces the amount of sulfite and stabilizes and ages the wine. The wines produced are two types of red, 2 types of white, 2 rosé, and 3 sweet wines (including muscat). What struck me was the personalization used for each wine produced and in their methods of bottling and labeling – not a factory-like assembly line, but rather, done bottle by bottle by hand. Located about 12 km from Cagnes-sur-Mer, it’s not exactly on the beaten path — and OUI, the wines tasted good!

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