Mas Coutelou: Puimisson Possible!

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Last month Eben and I visted Puimisson, a charming village in the Languedoc north of Béziers, to taste with vigneron Jean-Francois "Jeff" Coutelou. As fans of natural wines, this visit was especially meaningful because Mas Coutelou is one of the first wineries to be certified organic in the Languedoc (1987), not to mention that the wines are delicious. On the big day, it was raining heavily so we pulled over in a small back road to get our bearings. There are no signs or markings to indicate where Jeff's cellar is, but the surreal rainbow stretched across his street where we happened to be parked seemed sign enough.

The estate has been in the family for four generations. Prior to 1987 the winery had 20ha (~50 acres) of conventionally farmed vines and the wines, according to Jeff, were rigid, heavily extracted, and forced. Beginning that year they decided to work without chemicals and to treat their vines with organic remedies only when necessary.

"Nervousness? Acid reflux? Headaches?
Next time try a little wine from Jeff Coutelou!"

Today the estate is 13ha (~32 acres) comprised of separate parcels of traditional Languedoc varieties and some long forgotten selection massale cépages on clay and limestone. In places where vines were too compromised by conventional farming, there are now a bevy of olive trees, shurbs, and protective hedges. All of the work is done manually, with careful attention to biodiversity and reducing impact on local eco-systems. The cellar work is equally thoughtful. His vinification methods and vessels vary depending on variety and vintage in order to promote the purest expression of each; but he always uses indigenous yeasts and never adds sulphur (even for his sweet wines).

"You can tell a real winemaker by his hands," Jeff told us with a raspy laugh. His large hands were stained with dirt as he filled our glasses with samples of the powerfully aromatic 2017s. While there's never a question about whether he is a 'real' winemaker, his 2017 Mourvèdre will erase any doubts. He says it's the most textbook Mourvèdre he's ever made and his favorite vintage yet. We enthusiastically agree.

We're pleased to report that all of the 2017s are showing beautifully. The reds are not to be missed, as usual, and for something different, we have a white from Coutelou for the first time! The 2016 Le Blanc is a summery blend of Macabeu, Grenache Gris, Clairette, and Muscat à Petits Grain from parcels near the seaside; it's distinctively perfumed, refreshing and yes - clean. These are some of the most interesting natural wines coming from the Languedoc and we're thrilled to share them with you. Amanda Bowman

No Longer Available

Mas Coutelou 2016 Vin de France Le Blanc

Le Blanc is the only white Coutelou made in 2016 and it is the first of his whites we've carried at Chambers Street. This is a fresh and summery blend of 40% Macabeu, 30% Grenache Gris, 20% Clairette, 10% Muscat à Petits Grains from parcels planted near the seaside. Lifted floral aromas, lemon pith, and pleasantly leesy notes mingle with tangy ripe fruits. The palate is full and round from the Macabeau but there is an energetic freshness from the Clairette to buoy the rich stonefruit flavors. The finish is refreshing with a lingering note of bitter almond. This is a bottle we'll be happy to revisit all summer long. Amanda Bowman

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $27.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • No Sulfur

Mas Coutelou 2017 Vin de France PM Rose 1.5 L

The PM Rosé is a  punchy and beautifully aromatic blend of Syrah, Cinsault and Muscat à Petit Grains. The robe is slightly cloudy and peach colored in the glass. The nose is effusive and complex, floral in character with the Muscat adding ripe stone fruit notes. The palate is bone dry with lush peach and apricot flavors, wildflower, garrigue with a slight savory finish. A fun natural rosé at a great price!  Amanda Bowman

  • Out of Stock
  • rosé
  • 0 in stock
  • $41.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • No Sulfur

Mas Coutelou 2017 Vin de France Vin des Amis

2017 was a vintage characterized by sweltering heat and drought in the Languedoc. Many growers decided to pick early in order to preserve acidity in their wines at the price of less mature fruit. Thankfully Jeff chose to wait so his grapes could achieve full maturity. Late August brought brisk maritime winds and cool nights which dropped the sugar levels for Jeff's grapes, resulting in one of the most balanced and interesting vintages yet. Vin des Amis 2017 is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault and is more serious and broad than his other cuvées. The wine is fermented with native yeast and aged in concrete tank without the addition of sulphur. The nose is generous with complex aromas of plum, blood orange peel and dried flowers. The mid-weight palate is rich with brooding dark fruit flavors and earthy minerals framed by ripe tannins on a long savory persistent finish. A beautiful vintage that we're thrilled to have in stock! Amanda Bowman

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $18.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • No Sulfur

Mas Coutelou 2017 Vin de France Vin des Amis 1.5 L

2017 was a vintage characterized by sweltering heat and drought in the Languedoc. Many growers decided to pick early in order to preserve acidity in their wines at the price of less mature fruit. Thankfully Jeff chose to wait so his grapes could achieve full maturity. Late August brought brisk maritime winds and cool nights which dropped the sugar levels for Jeff's grapes, resulting in one of the most balanced and interesting vintages yet. Vin des Amis 2017 is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault and is more serious and broad than his other cuvées. The wine is fermented with native yeast and aged in concrete tank without the addition of sulphur. The nose is generous with complex aromas of plum, blood orange peel and dried flowers. The mid-weight palate is rich with brooding dark fruit flavors and earthy minerals framed by ripe tannins on a long savory persistent finish. A beautiful vintage that we're thrilled to have in stock! Amanda Bowman

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $44.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • No Sulfur

Mas Coutelou 2017 Vin de France On Peut Pas Vraiment Dire Que

"Vin des Amis" may be Coutelou's most popular cuvée but this 100% Mourvèdre is quickly climbing the ranks. A densely layered Mourvèdre with aging potential,  Jeff says this is the most textbook example he's ever made. On the nose the wine shows heady aromas of briny black olives, violets, black pepper and savory game. The robe is dark in the glass with deep notes of spice, cassis, and a touch of gamey funk framed by firm tannins and salty mineral acidity. An elegant wine that's delicious now with air, but this should make for compelling drinking over the next 3-5 years. Amanda Bowman

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $23.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • No Sulfur