Southern and Central France
It is amazing how much quality and deliciousness is available in wines from the Old World, in comparison with similarly priced products from the New World. L’Agnostique presents a range of classic French varietals that over-perform relative to their price point. These are lovely, bistro-styled wines that show well in any setting; they are extremely food friendly.
Most of the varietals are sourced from the Languedoc where the constant wind from the Mediterranean Sea keeps the vines and their fruit well-aerated and healthy. The Pinot Noir is sourced from further north, from volcanic sites near Puy de Dôme (at 1464 meters, the highest volcano in the Chaîne des Puys) and another in Auvergne a short distance to the south; these are cooler areas at roughly the same latitude as Lyon, and more appropriate for this sensitive grape. All the wines are viniﬁed under the direct supervision of master winemaker Fréderic Maignet. A native of the Beaujolais area, Fréderic is also chief winemaker for the Beaujolais producer Château de la Terrière.
The inspiration for the name “L’Agnostique,” meaning skeptic, came years ago from the original cépage, a blend of Gamay and Syrah, which combines the soft fruit of Gamay with the spicy meatiness of Syrah. Gradually the range was increased to include Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and a delicious Cinsault rosé in addition to the original Gamay/Syrah. These are simple and delicious wines that are not to be fussed over. Take them with a croque monsieur or moules-frites, soupe a l'oignon or roast chicken at your favorite French bistro. Bring them home by the dozen, and make sure to have a couple bottles of Chardonnay and Rosé in the fridge at all times. You’ll ﬁnd that L’Agnostique pleases all palates and will be your go-to wine for any occasion.
Chardonnay IGP Pays D'Oc 2016
Site: Languedoc, near Capestang, which is just a few kilometers from the Mediterranean Sea. High elevation, north facing, hillside vineyards which keep the freshness and elegance of Chardonnay as in Burgundy. Vineyards are cultivated under Agriculture Raisonée.
Grapes: 100% Chardonnay. 25% old vines (over 40 years old).
Fermentation and Aging: The Chardonnay is harvested at night at low temperature to respect its delicacy. Fermentation at controlled temperature, under 18°C. Aging in vat is done on the fine lees over 6 months, adding complexity. The wine undergoes full malolactic fermentation which gives it its fullness, and is produced without any oak in order to respect the fruit.
Notes: Perfect varietal Chardonnay character, fine acid with citrus notes, and a roundness to the palate.
Rosé Vin de Pays 2017
Site: 100% direct press Cinsault rosé from vineyards in the Languedoc, near Capestang, just a few kilometers from the Mediterranean.
Grapes: 100% Cinsault
Fermentation and Aging: High, north facing, cool farmed fruit, harvested at full maturity, spends half a day on the skins to extract just the right amount of color. Temperature controlled fermentation, followed by elevage in vat on the fine lees.
Notes: For a rosé that is not from Provence, this wine shows perfect Provençal onion-skin color. The aromatics are fresh and vibrant with beautiful notes of wild strawberry, and on the palate the wine shows surprising weight and finish, along with zesty acidity.
Pinot Noir IGP Vin de France 2016
Site: Sourced from high, volcanic sites in Auvergne near Puy de Dôme, and additionally in vineyards in the Drôme. Vineyards are cultivated under Agriculture Raisonée.
Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir picked at full maturity and low yields from cool zones in order to preserve the freshness and elegance of the wine. 25% old vines (over 40 years old).
Fermentation and Aging: Grapes are de-stemmed and given a classic Burgundian fermentation beginning with a cold soak to extract the delicate fruit notes followed by a controlled two week fermentation. The Pinot Noir is produced without the use of oak barrels - both stainless steel and cement vats are used.
Notes: Unlike so many inexpensive Pinot Noirs, L’Agnostique Pinot Noir shows off its French pedigree with elegant aromatics, a beautiful transparency, and a balanced palate.
Merlot IGP Pays D'Oc 2016
Site: Languedoc. The main winegrower is located near Nimes, at Saint Genies de Magloire, north of Montpellier, a site with very good clay and limestone soil. Vines are low yielding - 65 hectoliters per hectare, which gives very good concentration in the wine. Vineyards are cultivated under Agriculture Raisonée.
Grapes: 100% Merlot. 25% old vines (over 40 years old).
Fermentation and Aging: Full destemming, long cool maceration with pump-overs. Maceration lasts 12-15 days.
Notes: Forget everything you’ve heard about Merlot and just enjoy the pure deliciousness of this extremely well made wine. Fresh, charming aromatics, balance on the palate, round tannins, and an extremely pleasing finish.