Domaine de Fontsainte Corbieres Reserve La Demoiselle 2013
Pair with: arugula and goat's cheese salad, a breast of lamb, a carpaccio of beef, a charlotte of courgettes or assorted tempura..
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
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.
With bold fruit flavors and accents of sweet spice, Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre form the base of the classic Rhône Red Blend, while Carignan, Cinsault and Counoise often come in to play. Though they originated from France’s southern Rhône Valley, with some creative interpretation, Rhône blends have also become popular in other countries. Somm Secret—Putting their own local spin on the Rhône Red Blend, those from Priorat often include Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah make an appearance.