The Soulful Wines of Elian Da Ros and Sandrine Farrugia from the Côtes-du-Marmandais!

"Even in France, the Marmandais region is quite obscure unless you are a rugby fan or a tomato aficionado. Upstream along the Garonne in the Lot-et-Garonne, barely 45 min drive from Sauternes, this softly rolling, peaceful area is historically a polycultural land of tobacco, grains, and tomatoes whose fame is due to early 19th century Italian immigration bringing with them seeds and agricultural know-how. The vineyards appear on the best hillsides but until recently their potential was ignored: before 1936 and the AOCs, they were blended with Bordeaux wines and afterwards the two cooperatives vinified them as entry-level wines for supermarkets. It is only in the last 20 years and with the creation of the Domaine Elian Da Ros that the Côtes-du-Marmandais has been known as a real, serious wine region." Pascaline Lepeltier

"Our estate is located in Cocumont in the Côtes du Marmandais on the left bank of the Garonne. My father grew tomatoes, cereals, tobacco and vines there, bringing the grapes to the village cooperative cellar. As a child I dreamed of being a winegrower and from the age of 14 I started studying viticulture and oenology. In 1997, after having worked for 5 years in Alsace (Zind-Humbrecht), I chose to return to the family lands and build a cellar there to make my wine. 1998 is my first vintage. The estate now covers 19 hectares on hillsides on a soil of gravel and clay-limestone. The vines have been organic since 2000 and biodynamic since 2002."  -Elian da Ros
 
"With the exception of Abouriou, which is dedicated to this indigenous grape variety, all the wines are blends created with the greatest precision, from vin de soif to vin de garde. The sulfur doses are minimal, the wines are carefully raised on their fine lees. Today, the titanic work pays off, and the whole range radiates like a superb expression of a unique personality. They are to be discovered absolutely for any lover of true great Bordeaux or Loire Cabernet Franc on tuffeau." - PL
 

These are extraordinary wines made in a wide range of styles, all from great farming, with precise vinifications that create joyful wines of immediate pleasure as well as serious "vins de garde" that rival the best of Bordeaux.

"Le Vin est un Fête" as its name suggests, this wine is a wine of pleasure with a fruity and fresh character. The vinification is gentle without strong extraction in order to preserve the crunchy and round side of the grape. It is an all-purpose wine, its roundness and its fruitiness give it a beautiful "drinkability", but it is also supported by a delicate tannic structure inherent in our south-western grape varieties. It is therefore pleasant as an aperitif to share a drink with friends but also goes very easily with more generous dishes." - Elian

The "Outre Rouge" (85% Arbouriou with Malbec, Cab Franc and Syrah) and "Histoires de Boire" (Merlot and Arbouriou) draw inspiration from Elian and Sandrine's friend Eric Pfifferling at L'Anglore. These light-bodied reds are "serious wines and wines of pure pleasure, which is a rare combination!" Serve them lightly chilled over the next few years - "Histoires de Boire" exists only in magnums "as one bottle is never enough" says Elian.  The Arbouriou is a bit deeper and riper in style, vinified to highlight the unique qualities of this native grape - "I chose semi-carbonic maceration as a means of expression, but without losing the terroir and the special characteristics of the grape. Arbouriou is a fruity wine with touches of spice, all enveloped in a soft and supple tannic frame." - Elian

The "Chante Coucou" and "Clos Baquey" are the estate's "serious" wines, in some ways reminicent of reds from the Loire and Bordeaux but remaining totally unique and different with their own fascinating identity. We urge you to try them - and don't delay as the quantities that make their way to NY are tiny...

And we love the Coucou Blanc! What a delicious wine - "atypical white for the region, certainly a legacy of my stay in Alsace. Floral nose, ample and fresh mouth with a tangy attack then flavors of citrus fruits, exotic fruits, mirabelle plum..."

(Thanks to Pascaline Lepeltier for text borrowed from her superb article that appeared here in April 2020)

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