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Famous Burgundy producers, Anne Gros and Jean-Paul Tollot, invade the south and show off in the Minervois. These wines are spectacular, they have taken Minervois to a new level. These are two of the most exciting wines we have found in a long while....
2009 Anne Gros et Jean-Paul Tollot Minervois "Les Fontanilles"..$29.99
This cuvée is made of 4 grape varieties, coming from soils dominated by Assignan sandstone, which face north and west. These small plots, surrounded by scrubland, pine trees, thyme, rosemary and cistus, comprised of: 20 year old Grenache,, 20 year old Syrah, year old Carignan, 40 year old Cinsault. Each grape variety is complete, and brings to the cuvee its own characteristics. One adds fruitiness and freshness, another adds sweetness, another depth and length, and yet another distinction and energy. (We will let you guess which is which.) This is a classic cuvée! It is fulfilling, full of harmony, and wellbalanced. Matured in casks, the Carignan and Syrah bring in a certain distinction.
"A shrubby, resinous and pungently herbal overtone suggestive of marjoram and rosemary, along with notes of blond tobacco compliment the scents and flavors of ripe, diverse black fruits in Gros and Tollot's 2009 Minervois Les Fontanilles, which offers a seamlessly ripe, texturally-refined, and luscious intensity all the way through to an invigoratingly pungent, saliva-inducingly saline finish. This ought to perform well for at least 5-7 years."
-- Rated 90/100 The Wine Advocate
2009 Anne Gros et Jean-Paul Tollot Minervois "La Ciaude"...$31.99
Technical Notes: The Ciaude vineyard is composed of south facing limestone and clay soils. In the vineyard the blindingly white limestone of Agel helps to produce wines full of energy. The grapes are hand picked, sorted, de-stemmed, then fermented in stainless steal tanks. The wine is aged in new Burgundian oak barriques for approximately 12 months before bottling.
Tasting Notes: This classic blend of Syrah, Carignan and Grenache combines finesse with concentration. In the nose, black fruit aromas from the Syrah mix with cherry notes from the and Grenache. In the mouth, the wine is dense and mineral, complemented by hints of exotic spice and garrigue notes from the Carignan. The minerality carries through to the long finish, supported by silky ripe tannins. Though enjoyable now, this wine should hold up, and gain complexity for many years to come.
"Suggestions of toasted walnut and hickory along with violets, lilac, and hints of vanilla and resin from toasted oak all compliment the rich dark berries displayed in Gros and Tollot's 2009 Minervois La Ciaude. This is another example of plush texture and seamless ripeness allied to a welcome sense of finishing levity and energy such as can by no means be taken for granted from the vintage in question. I suspect this will merit the better part of a decade's attention, though of course a track record for the wines of this domaine is not yet established."
Rated 91/100 The Wine Advocate
More info than you probably want...but here it is if you do...
The renowned Burgundy producers, Anne Gros, of Domaine Anne Gros in Vosne-Romanée, and her husband, Jean-Paul Tollot, of Domaine Tollot-Beaut in Chorey-lès-Beaune, recently purchased 14 hectares of vines in Minervois. They have constructed a modern winery using their many years of experience to design an ideal winemaking environment. Their attention to detail extends from their winery, to their meticulous work in the vineyards. At their new winery they treat their Minervois with the same care and respect that they use for their grand cru wines in Burgundy.
“The building was conceived to cultivate, receive, make, and care for these fine, terroir specific, wines. It has been designed with great attention to detail, respecting the energies, the wines and the people... A beautiful architectural structure made of simple, but noble, materials...terracotta, wood, stainless steel...Roundness is everywhere... the road, the hills, the tanks, the barrels... the wines.”
About Our first vintage (2008): “We expected a racy style, laced with minerals, and freshness. However, we got a lot more - A very good balance of sugar and acidity! What is the reason for such a result? Slow ripening, cool nights, and temperatures around 17 degrees Celsius (63̊ Fahrenheit) during the harvest... This reminded us of the standard conditions in Burgundy... Harvest was from September 18 to October 5. This first vintage came to life with anxious anticipation, and it did not disappoint! It is vibrant. Each plot and grape variety was vinified separately in order for us to get acquainted with their individual expressions. We waited a year to discover their nature, and to decide on how best to blend them together.”
For wine lovers, Domaine Anne Gros et Jean-Paul Tollot offers a unique opportunity to rediscover the wines of the Languedoc through the eyes of great Burgundian winemakers. What makes their wines so unique and interesting, is not only their expertise as winemakers, but their extreme sensitivity to the terroir in Minervois.
“We chose the area of Cazelles for the diversity of its soil, made of limestone, clay and sandstone; to discover the 4 main grape varieties (Carignan, Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault); for the quality and the wide age range of its vines; and for the privileged environment at the foot of the Montaigne Noir (Black Mountain), its altitude of 220 meters is identical to Vosne-Romanée.”
It isn’t easy splitting their time between Burgundy and the Languedoc, but both Anne and Jean-Paul agree that the extra effort has expanded their horizons, and has changed the way they approach winemaking in Burgundy and in Minervois. It took a few years for Anne and Jean-Paul to complete the purchase, build the winery, and for the first time – make wine in Minervois. Their 2008 showed all of the finesse of Bugundian winemaking, combined with the kind of spice, complexity, and the promise of untamed terroir that only the Languedoc can offer.
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