Domaine de Montcalmès
Terasses du Larzac, Languedoc-Rousillon, France
"One of my favorite estates in the Languedoc is unquestionably that of the young Frédéric Pourtalié"
Frédéric Pourtalié farms around twenty-five hectares of vines in the newly created appellation of the Terrasses de Larzac. Based in Puechabon, some of the vines are in the neighboring villages of Aniane and Saint Saturnin. Until 1998, this family-owned domaine sold all if its grapes to the local cooperative. In 1999 Frédéric and his sister Muriel took the helm of Domaine Montcalmès, and for the first time produced and bottled wine from their own vineyards. Frédéric took his time before making this decision, having sharpened his skills with Alain Graillot (Crozes Hermitage), the Alary family at L’Oratoire St. Martin and his neighbor, Laurent Vaillé at La Grange des Pères. Frédéric's property is located just a stone's throw from Grange des Pères, Mas de Daumas Gassac and Mas Julien.
Frédéric's deep love and respect for the region’s terroir is apparent from the moment one engages him in conversation. His own vineyards include soils that range from clay and limestone (what Frédéric calls éboulis de calcaire or limestone scree) to pudding stones (galets roulés), like one finds in Châteauneuf du Pape. This diverse collection of terroirs gives the wines of Montcalmès balance, complexity and concentration. In addition to these distinct and poor soils, which provide a challenge for the vines, the other key to quality of these wines are the Cévennes mountains, which lie just north of the appellation. At night, cool air descends from the mountains, and quickly lowers the temperature in the vineyards by as much as 15-20 degrees celsius. The combination of warm days and cool nights helps to achieve an amazing balance between ripe fruit, bright acidity, and soft tannins. There are three red varieties in the blend; Syrah, which makes up 60-65% of the blend, Grenache (approx 20%), and Mourvèdre (15-20%). It is truly a testament to this terroir, that the grapes that Frédéric’s family were once selling off in bulk are now found in 3 Star Michelin restaurants across France and are sought after around the world.
Montcalmès Terasses du Larzac 2014
All of the vineyards at Montcalmès are organically farmed with no use of herbicides or pesticides. The grapes are hand-harvested, with very low (20 to 25 Hl/Ha) yields. The grapes are de-stemmed, crushed, and then undergo a 30 day maceration, with regular pigeages. The grapes from each vineyard are vinified separately by varietal. The wine is then aged in one to three year old barrels for 24 months, remaining separated by variety and vineyard. Frederic then blends the wine and it's allowed to rest for two months in tank before bottling. The wine is bottled unfiltered, during a waning moon. This wine is certified organic by Ecocert for Europe
The nose of this wine is full of red cherry fruit, perfumed with hints of violet flowers. In the mouth the wine is full of blackberry, cassis, and black cherry fruit flavors, accented by subtle hints of garrigue spice. The finish is long and lingering, with soft velvety tannins. Though the wines are age worthy, it is the purity and elegance, that are the hallmarks of Domaine de Montcalmès, that make the wine equally enjoyable in its youth.
The 2014 is available in Magnum, Jerobaum, Methuselah and Salmanazar.
"One of my favorite estates in the Languedoc is unquestionably that of the young Frederic Pourtalie. His 2014 Terrasses du Larzac was tasted as a barrel sample, but shows loads of promise. Black raspberries, cassis, spice, saddle leather and garrigue characteristics all flow to a full-bodied, pure, polished red that has gorgeously sweet fruit and a great Finish. It should shine right out of the gate, yet keep for a decade or more. The blend is 60% Syrah, 20% Grenache and 20% Mourvèdre that will see two years in a mix of once, twice used and older barrels." (91 - 93)+ Points
-Jeb Dunnuck - The Wine Advocate #230, 28th Apr 2017