Tuesday, February 6, 2018

2015 Domaine Du Poujol Carignan Blanc: Jefferson & Acacia

It's alleged that Thomas Jefferson, when he was touring the wineries and vineyards of southern France, stated that the Poujol estate, located in the Hérault department, was a great vineyard site.

Throughout its history, the Domaine Du Poujol has gone through a number of different owners. In 1994, the estate was purchased by the Cripps family and they subsequently sold it to the Hartung family in 2016. Laurent Hartung, who is a Belgium native, wanted to become a vintner and eventually found the Domaine du Poujol, which he purchased with his family. The estate comprises about 67 hectares, with ten hectares of vineyards from which they harvest grapes, ten hectares which are being replanted, and the rest being woods and garrigue. They plan to plant another 10 hectares of vineyards in the next 5 or so years.

The vineyards have been cultivated as Biodynamic for the last 20 years, an agricultural philosophy embraced by the Hartungs. "Poujol is more than a vineyard. It is a philosophy and a real way of life that we want to share with other producers and with all our clients." Their grapes include red Carignan, Carignan Blanc, black Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Mourvèdre, Cabernet-Sauvignon, Roussanne and Vermentino, with plans to plant more in the near future.

Carignan Blanc? This is a rare grape, a white mutation of Carignan, found primarily in the Languedoc-Roussillon region though a little can be found in Spain too. While perusing the shelves at the Lower Falls Wine Company, I found a wine made from Carignan Blanc, priced at only $13, so it was an easy decision to buy a couple bottles to check it out.

The 2015 Domaine Du Poujol Carignan Blanc IGP Pay's D'Herault is produced from 100% Carignan Blanc, from vines that were planted in 1961, and has a 13% ABV. The wine was vinified in Acacia barrels and then aged for about nine months in those same barrels. Acacia, also sometimes known as Black Locust, is a wood that is usually harvested from forests in northern France. It is supposed to be gentler than oak, provide some floral elements, and is used mainly for white wines. There is much more to Acacia than I'll provide here, and it may end up as the topic of a future post.

With a nice golden color, the wine had an intriguing nose of lemon, citrus and a hint of almonds. On the palate, this medium-bodied wine possessed tasty, fresh flavors of peach and pear, with savory spices notes and lot of crisp acidity. There were some mineral elements in the taste, good complexity and and a long, satisfying finish. This would be an excellent summer wine but delicious during the winter as well, especially paired with food, from roast chicken to seafood. And at this price point, it is an excellent value as well.

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