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Chateau Maris Biodynamic Old Vine Syrah 2007

Syrah/Shiraz from Languedoc-Roussillon, France
  • RP93
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Winemaker Notes

A wine of exceptional purity, extreme black fruit ripeness, and a velvety texture emerges, girded by ultra-fine tannins and enlivened by springs of fresh berry juiciness as singular in the context of wine this ripe as is the spring that apparently literally lies beneath this vineyard. This long-finishing beauty that deserves to be entered in a World Syrah contest.

About the Vineyards
The Chateau Maris estate is located on 210 acres in the Minervois La Livinière appellation of the Languedoc. La Livinière is the first village in the Languedoc to be allowed to put its name after the appellation name, indicating that this specific area produces wines of distinct quality.
Chateau Maris vines are certified biodynamic by Biodyvin and organic by Ecocert. Vineyard management practices on the estate focus on increasing soil fertility and health by introducing live matter via compost and companion planting. Two plough horses are kept on the property to avoid damage to vineyards caused by heavy tractors.

The Chateau Maris vineyards sprawl across a series of hillsides and terraces, with the terraces devoted primarily to Syrah and the hillsides devoted primarily to Grenache. The Syrah is concentrated on the terraces due to better drainage conditions, which the Syrah specifically requires. All the vineyards are surrounded by a rich Garrigue, scrubland similar to Chaparral of the American Southwest, which imbues the grapes with their distinct flavors and bouquets.

Critical Acclaim

RP 93
The Wine Advocate

From tank, a reductive hint of cassis leaf needed to be shaken off of the Maris 2007 Syrah Old Vine, a bottling based on the estate's best block, surrounded by garrigue on a deep clay hillside near La Liviniere. A wine of exceptional purity, extreme black fruit ripeness, and a velvety texture emerges, girded by ultra-fine tannins and enlivened by springs of fresh berry juiciness as singular in the context of wine this ripe as is the spring that apparently literally lies beneath this vineyard. A small proportion of this cuvee is kept in tank to preserve freshness, but the harmony of oak (un-toasted at this address) and fruit is also perfectly judged, i.e. the former is scarcely noticeable as such. Cardamom, ginger, black pepper, pencil lead, and sweet floral suggestions add to the complex allure of this long-finishing beauty that deserves to be entered in a World Syrah contest. Interestingly, a single small lot of super-ripe, creamy, super-concentrated Syrah that Eden and Darnault were toying with bottling separately precisely as a sort of trophy wine left me disappointed on account of its finishing heat and faint drying.
Barrel Sample: 92-93 Points

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Chateau Maris

Chateau Maris

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Chateau Maris, , France - Other regions
Chateau Maris
Château Maris is the vision of Englishman Robert Eden, who emigrated to France over 20 years ago to pursue his dream of crafting wines that reflect, rather than mask the land on which the grapes are grown. Robert's approach to winemaking is based on the fundamental premise that wine is "grown", not "made".

To craft wines that reveal the true character of the land, Château Maris strictly adheres to biodynamics, which is in effect a supercharged system of organic farming. Similar to organic farming, biodynamics adopts a holistic approach that views the entire vineyard as a living system that is impacted by its surroundings. Biodynamics seeks to encourage vitality in the vineyard by introducing live matter into the soil through intensive composting. In addition, biodynamics places a strong emphasis on harnessing naturally occurring cycles.

Napa Valley

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One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production and tourism...

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One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production and tourism, the Napa Valley is the AVA that brought worldwide recognition to California winemaking. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two are St.-Helena and the valley's newest AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap District, and Mt. Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine...

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington, and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and/or Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde river, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux can be bold and fruit-forward or restrained and earthy, while New World facsimiles tend to emulate the former style. In general, Bordeaux red blends can have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful, and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb, or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or virtually any other grape deemed worthy by the winemaker. In Australia, Shiraz is a common component.

DFVCHMARSY_2007 Item# 107640

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