Domaine de Fontsainte Corbieres Gris de Gris 2016
Stunningly balanced, this is an extremely appetent wine! Ideal as an aperitif with toast and crushed olives, or with wok-fried vegetables and garlic mayonnaise, grilled fish, lamb tajine, finely roasted guinea-fowl with rosemary.
Domaine de Fontsainte is in the heart of the Corbieres' celebrated 'Golden Crescent' - one of the appellation’s most beautiful and beneficent terroirs. Fontsainte's intensely sunny, gently sloping, south south-east facing vineyards shelter from cold north-east winds on the flank of a 500-hectare pinewood massif. The domain dominates the landscape around the hamlet of Boutenac, enjoying panoramic views. Fontsainte's vineyards, just 90m in altitude, benefit from a pristine environment (far from industrial or urban developments) plus alternating Mediterranean and oceanic influences.
Roman artifacts found on the domain - like the bronze coin bearing the head of Marcus Agrippa (c. 25AD) that adorns our Centurion wine - attest to Fontsainte's ancient origins: a Roman officer created the domain around a thermal spring. The name Fontsainte ('the saint's fount') comes from the nearby 12th century Hermitage of Saint-Simeon, who became the patron saint of Boutenac. Two chateaux dominated the landscape in the middle ages: Fort Haut and Fort Bas. Only the latter remains today - it’s now the headquarters of the Corbieres' winegrowers syndicat.
The Corbières AOC, established in 1985, is the largest in the Languedoc, and represents the South of France in transition. Though viticulture here dates back to the Romans, only within the last twenty years have Corbières wines begun to reclaim their reputation. Approved for reds, rosés, and whites, the region's vineyards cover a wide variety of elevations, soil types, and exposures. Hilly terrain and the Atlantic Cers wind moderate the Mediterranean heat, giving the wines balance and complexity; the best will go ten years or more in the cellar.
Reds represent 88% of the AOC’s production and are an assemblage of the sun-loving grapes of southern France. Carignan’s briars, Grenache’s berries, Syrah’s cherries and Mourvèdre’s plums allow for a wide range of styles, which are often influenced by the wild herbs of the garrigue. Corbières rosés, though only 9% of production, are serious wines and the small production of Rhône-variety whites are fresh and sea-influenced.
With eleven sub-appellations, Corbières is an AOC in the process of refinement. Corbières-Boutenac attained Cru status in 2005, one of only five in the Languedoc to achieve this highest ranking.
Whether it’s playful and fun or savory and serious, most rosé today is not your grandmother’s White Zinfandel, though that category remains strong. Pink wine has recently become quite trendy, and this time around it’s commonly quite dry. Since the pigment in red wines comes from keeping fermenting juice in contact with the grape skins for an extended period, it follows that a pink wine can be made using just a brief period of skin contact—usually just a couple of days. The resulting color depends on grape variety and winemaking style, ranging from pale salmon to deep magenta.