Old vines of Carignan at Domaine des Mathouans

New arrival doubleheader: Philippe Delmee from Loire and Domaine Mathouans from Roussillon

Share

This weekend we feature new arrivals from two producers whose wines we haven't seen in a little while. Philippe Delmée is one of our favorite under-the-radar producers in the Loire Valley, humble and stoic, and a very skilled winemaker, he works with Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Grolleau, Pineau D'Aunis, and some other local varieties. His reds have always been vibrant, zingy, and thirst quenching. The whites, all from Chenin Blanc, are serious and structured, owing much of their minerality to the schiste soils of Faye d'Anjou. Aline Hock founded Domaine des Mathouans in 2009, after arriving to the Roussillon from Belgium and spending some time in the Latour de France area working with Jean-Louis Tribouley and learning a bit about the region. She works with Grenache, Carignan, Muscat, and a local variety called Lledoner Pelut, and her wines taste very local, but also reflect a low-intervention approach without over-extraction or any use of new oak.

A math teacher in his former life, Philippe Delmée became interested in wine in the early 2000's, and after studying for 2 years, began commuting from Brittany to Angers, in the Loire Valley. He worked with Benoit Courault and at Domaine des Griottes, before eventually making his start with one hectare (about 2 acres) that Courault helped him find in Faye D'Anjou.

Philippe Delmée

Working about 6 hectares total, spread over multiple small vineyard parcels, Philippe's approach has always been low-intervention, with the use of only copper and small amounts of sulfur in the vineyard, along with biodynamic and plant-based treatments. Most of his wines are started with a "pied de cuve," which is a small batch of wine that is introduced to a larger vat of fresh juice once there are healthy yeast populations going. Though he uses a fraction of a mg/l of SO2 (usually around .5 or even less) with the pied de cuve, he does not add at any other stage, during aging or at bottling.* For the miniscule amount of SO2 used (and at such an early stage), his wines are always very clean and straightforward. There aren't a lot of winemakers whose wines are as consistent vintage after vintage as his are, and these 2020s we just got in are a testament! His reds have always been vibrant, zingy, and thirst quenching. The whites, all from Chenin Blanc, are serious and structured, owing much of their minerality to the schist soils of Faye d'Anjou.

Aline Hock

Aline Hock came to the Roussillon and started Domaine des Mathouans in 2009. She has always been committed to organic and Biodynamic viticulture and has been certified AB and Demeter since 2013. All work is done by hand, with the help of a horse for some field work, and cows and sheep for mowing the grass and providing manure. As she explains on her website, her wines "are intended to be pure and preferably, single-varietal, to let them draw their typicity from their respective terroirs (Gniess, Schist, Black Marl, etc)." Besides being delicious, Aline's wines also teach us a lot about the varieties of southern France generally and the Roussillon specifically.

Though there are not many parallels with these two estates, we did just get a bunch of new wines from them! I will say that they also both have a purity and transparency that I appreciate in natural wines, without flaws or bacterial faults. As Aline writes on her site: "Natural wines are the result of a philosophical choice aimed at rediscovering the natural expression of the terroir... Sensations, intuition and influences of the moon, instead of technology."

Delmée, Philippe 2022 Vin de France Pablo est au Bar

'Pablo est au bar' is a funny name, especially with the Pablo Escobar-esque character on the label, who seems to be gorging himself on  grapes. It is also a bit of a suggestion for the bistro style of this Chenin Blanc, which is dry, fresh and direct. A perfect apero wine that in fact does open up a bit with some time open. It could be considered the little sibling of Philippe's more "serious" Chenin, the 'Ch'nins on Boit...' Perfect on its own or with salads, grilled fish, shellfish (any fish really) and mild cheeses.  

  • white
  • 2 in stock
  • $19.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Delmée, Philippe 2022 Vin de France Ch'nins on Boit

Vinified in small barrels, and then aged in a large old barrel, this is a broad, 'leesy' expression. Very Anjou, with ripeness and mineral-driven sharpness and structure from the schist soils. This firm mineral backbone gives structure and lingers long into the finish. On the palate, it has nice medium weight and density. We recommend letting this Chenin breath for a while. On day two it's fantastic, and it should age very well for 3-5 years in bottle. We recently tried the 2020 with Philippe and it was fantastic, so we'd recommend getting a few extra bottles to age!

  • white
  • 12 in stock
  • $25.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Delmée, Philippe 2022 Vin de France Ça Faye Treize

Ca Faye Treize is a semi carbonic Cabernet Franc from Philippe Delmee. Don't be fooled by the large number 13 on the bottle, as you will see the Lot # is 022, and it is indeed from 2022! This is a very friendly Cab Franc, with bright red fruit, crushed berries, and just the right touch of carbonic character to lift the aromatics and lighten the body. The name takes the phrase "ca fait" (it takes/makes) and incorporates a reference to Philippe's home in Faye d'Anjou, a small commune in the Loire Valley that was recently merged into a new commune called Bellevigne-en-Layon. The "treize" (thirteen) in "Ca Faye treize" is a reference to the alcohol %, or is it a reference to the 13 days of maceration? Now I can't remember. Enjoy with a slight chill!  -EL

  • red
  • 3 in stock
  • $16.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Delmée, Philippe 2022 Vin de France La Lune

La Lune is a new Cabernet Franc offering from Philippe Delmee. We're fans already. Less gritty than the Ca Faye Treize, but vibrant in its own right, this one is a short maceration vs. whole cluster (Ca Faye Treize), and has a very clean mineral finish. -EL

  • red
  • 12 in stock
  • $21.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Delmée, Philippe 2020 Vin de France La Vieux de La Vieille 1.5 L

"Les Vieux de la Vieille" is a French film about 3 mischievous old pranksters who are forced into a retirement home, much to the joy and relief of their village. Hilarity ensues when they grow bored of the retirement home and return to the village to cause havoc. Philippe is a fan of the film and likes the idea of these 3 old men who love to drink, eat and joke their way through life. Not so easy to compare the theme to the wine, but I do love the dark and more concentrated (old man) expression of Cabernet Franc that's balanced with energetic lift and "natty"/wild (mischievous) aromatics. Vines for this cuvée are about 40 years old, grapes are destemmed and see a bit more of a traditional maceration, with some pigeage (pumping over), albeit gentle. This yields a fuller and more meaty style of Cab Franc, compared to Philippe's juicy and light "Ca Faye Treize" bottling. The only bottles that Philippe had of 2020 are in Magnum so this will be the end of the vintage.

  • red
  • 3 in stock
  • $44.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Domaine des Mathouans 2021 Vin de France Mine de Rien

This wine from Aline Hock in the Agly Valley of Roussillon is produced from the Muscat Petit Grains grown biodynamically on schist soils. Vinified semi-carbonic on the skins for about 20 days, it pours a hazy yellow in the glass. On the nose it bursts with classic Muscat aromas: orange blossom, fresh grapes, honeydew melon and chamomile. "Mine de Rien" is full-bodied and shows bright mandarin orange, minerality and a gentle herbal note on the palate and finishes dry and saline. The wine has an exciting tension between density and bright citrus and salinity, complemented by its exuberantly fruit and flower driven aromatic character. Drink now with lighter Mediterranean food or warmly spiced chicken dishes: think olives and feta, tagines, or even jerk chicken. -BF

  • white
  • 11 in stock
  • $21.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Domaine des Mathouans 2022 Vin de France Muscachou Blanc

"Mus'Cachou" is an off-dry expression of Muscat produced from grapes grown biodynamically on the schist terroir of Roussillon's Agly Valley. Extremely aromatic, this wine shows bright lychee, crushed sweet grape, and freshly pressed orange juice. The palate is dense and honeyed with mandarin orange, candied almond, and fig; opulent at first, the wine finishes with clean bitter orange and fresh acidity. Open after dinner with a cheese course that features highly flavorful cheese like Roquefort or Gorgonzola, or with fruit or cheese-based desserts. This natural, low-sulfur, off-dry wine shows best immediately after opening, and should be served quite cool. -BF

  • white
  • 9 in stock
  • $19.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Domaine des Mathouans 2021 Vin de France Belle & Pelut

The rare and elusive Lledoner Pellut, considered an oddity of the Catalan countryside, due to the fuzzy skin, but in fact it's Grenache in a disguise. Genetically almost identical, there is a sense of earthy flavors and elegance.

  • red
  • 2 in stock
  • $21.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Domaine des Mathouans 2022 Vin de France Pet Nat Biodynamite

This is a new wine from Aline Hock - a delicious, savory rosé Pet-Nat! From young vines that Aline planted about 8 years ago, it has a lovely raspberry color and behaves like something between a sparkling rosé and a Lambrusco. We're excited for this new addition to the Mathoauns lineup and look forward to drinking it with BBQ this summer!

  • rosé sparkling
  • 8 in stock
  • no discount
  • $21.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • No Sulfur

Domaine des Mathouans 2021 Vin de France Le Bon Le Brute et le Carignan

"Le Bon, le Brute et le Carignan," (an hommage to Sergio Leone!) is mostly Carignan from 60 year-old vines grown on granitic gneiss soils, with yields of only 15 hl/ha in 2018. Whole-cluster fermentation with a light crushing by foot in tronconic vats, aged 12 months in 400 liter barrels. The wine shows intense dark fruit aromas with notes of wild herbs and a full-bodied palate, well balanced between ripe fruits, acidity and soft tannins. Serve with meats in sauce, duck breast, grilled pork and lamb, full flavored cheeses.

  • red
  • 10 in stock
  • $18.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Domaine des Mathouans 2017 Vin de France Carignan St. Martin 1.5L

Only available in Magnum, this is a very limited production Carignan from old vines, planted in 1905! The vineyard is untrained, in the old goblet style, on Gneiss terroir, and harvest is a very scant 5hl/ht or hectoliters per hectare (an average parcel would produce 40hl/ht and industrial can easily exceed 80-100 hl/ht). Grapes are foot tread and fermented in tranconic barrels and then aging is for two years in 228L neutral barrels. I feel there is a big difference between young vine Carignan (0-50 in my opinion), and old vines Carignan in the Languedoc-Roussillon, and this is a great example of the leathery, dark fruit from old Carignan that is not marked by the gamey or brambly notes that are more commonly found with younger Carignan. -EL

  • red
  • 6 in stock
  • $57.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur