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Andre Bonhomme Minervois Les Amandiers 1999
Through careful vine growing and vinification, André received enormous respect from his colleagues. He was not only the co-founder of the Independent Winemakers of the Saone-et-Loire; he also was one of the principal initiators of the new Vire-Clesse appellation in the 1990s.
Andre has now passed the torch to his daughter Jacqueline and her husband Eric Palthey. They were recently joined by their son Aurelien who acquired a enology degree in 2007 and his brother Johan who recently completed his wine studies. ?
The domaine presently covers 11 hectares located on the clay and limestone soils of both the Vire and Clesse communes. 98% of their production is white, although they also make a little red from Gamay.
Recognized for its concentrated and sultry reds made predominantly of Carignan, Grenache and Syrah, this western Languedoc appellation is also famous for the charming and delicate fortified Vin Doux Naturel called Muscat de St. Jean de Minervois. The dry rosé and white wines of Minervois are also worth seeking out.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.