Jérôme Bressy from Gourt de Mautens dropped in to see us earlier last week with his 2011 White, 2010 Rosé and 2008 Red. It was terrific to catch up with him and to be reminded of the singularity and quality of these super fine Rasteaus. He really is one of the most exciting winemakers in the Rhône.
Jérôme has ancient vines, many of which are 90 years or over. His approach to viticulture is truly artisanal: everything is done by hand and the approach to the vines is holistic. He co-plants all the different varieties and allows them to find harmony with each other. Crazy, right? Remarkably, no. There is no sense of under-ripeness in these wines and every sense of harmony. Jérôme also embraces organic farming and bio-dynamism.
This estate perfectly exemplifies the sense and meaning that can be found in organic, biodynamic and other non-conventional forms of farming. Not all of what Jérôme says fits with modern viticulture, in fact many of his techniques are ancient, but it works. We suspect it works because of good land (of course) but also because of Jérôme. There is an incredible textural dimension to these wines, his white is at once fresh, elegant and delicate yet deep, layered and waxy. His rosé is wonderfully saline, chalky and mineral with a good bit of tannic bite yet utterly delicious, with real succulence. This lightness of touch and sparkle (if you will forgive the indulgence) is the winemaker. Wine is all about the land but some people can bring the produce of the land together in a way that elevates it. Jérôme drags every bit of flavour out of his plots without interfering with them or obscuring them in any way. These wines are masterful.
Rather sadly, Jérôme feels he can no longer conform to the Rasteau AOC. He is very focussed on restoring the indigenous grapes of Rasteau: Counoise, Muscardin and Vaccarèse as well as the more typical (these days) Grenache, Syrah, Carignan and Mourvedre. This among other things means he has come up against the restrictions of the AOC and like many winemakers he puts his views above the guidelines.
So, these will no longer be Rasteau but in reality they are the very essence of Rasteau!
Cool wine! Very intense and concentrated with real drive. Linear and super long. At the same time floral and zesty with hints of stone fruit. This really opens up in the glass and must be drunk with food. Fish grilled over coal should do it.
Delicious and unusual. Again, great length and concentration with layers and layers of flavour. Reassuringly tannic and incredibly satisfying. Savoury, smoky, earthy. Mega! Do not drink without food!
Meaty, earthy and serious minded. Plenty of the bite and the extreme freshness of 2008 yet there is a succulence and softness to the fruit. Like the other wines here there is a cerebral quality to this Rasteau, it is demanding in a good way! We are really looking forward to watching this one develop however we will certainly be drinking a few on the way. Think big chunks of game in rich sauces.