Fat Bastard Sauvignon Blanc 2018
Good friends Tierry (renowned French winemaker) and Guy (British wine industry rebel) created FAT bastard almost by accident. It started out as an experiment Thierry had going in the back of his cellar, leaving a barrel “on the lees” (yeast cells). He didn’t know what to expect, but when he and Guy tried the wine, Thierry exclaimed, with a strong French accent, ”Now zat iz what you call eh Phet bast-ard!” This very British expression perfectly described the wine’s wonderful color and round, rich palate, so that’s what they named it. In 1991, Véronique Torcolacci obtained her degree in oenology from the University of Toulouse. She joined Gabriel Meffre as oenologist in charge of quality before becoming head winemaker. Produced in partnership with Gabriel Meffre and crafted from the low-yielding vineyards of the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France, the wine is remarkably full bodied with a vibrant, fruit-forward style. It is no wonder that Time magazine has referred to FAT bastard as, “Wine for the anti-snob.” When crafting FAT bastard, the objective of Véronique and her team remains the same: never make the slightest compromise on quality. With this in mind, she regularly visits the Languedoc vineyards, meeting with the winegrowers and seeking out wines that satisfy her rigorous demands.
As someone who feels strongly about protecting the environment, Véronique raises the issue of sustainable development with winegrowers and always strives to respect the land and the grape varieties as much as possible during the winemaking process. Commitment and passion are the driving forces that have enabled her to rise to this challenge for the past 20 years. Thanks to her unique knowledge, she has obtained more than 100 medals, several 4- and 5-star ratings, and special mentions for her wines in all the major wine competitions and top wine magazines. Her skills have also made her a name throughout the profession, particularly in the area of wine bottle capping and corking.
An extensive appellation producing a diverse selection of good-quality and value-priced wines, Languedoc-Roussillon is one of the world’s largest wine-producing region, spanning the Mediterranean coast from the Spanish border to Rhône. Languedoc forms the eastern half of the larger appellation, while Roussillon is in the west; the two actually have quite distinct personalities but are typically grouped together. Languedoc’s terrain is generally flat coastal plains, with a warm Mediterranean climate and a frequent risk of drought. Roussillon, on the other hand, is defined by the rugged Pyrenees mountains and near-constant sunshine.
Virtually every style of wine is made in this expansive region. Dry wines are often blends, and varietal choice is strongly influenced by the neighboring Rhône Valley. For reds and rosés, the primary grapes include Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, Cinsault, and Mourvèdre. White varieties include Grenache Blanc, Muscat, Ugni Blanc, Vermentino, Maccabéo, Clairette, Piquepoul and Bourbelenc.
International varieties are also planted in large numbers here, in particular Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In Roussillon, excellent sweet wines are made from Muscat and Grenache in Rivesaltes, Banyuls and Maury. The key region for sparkling wines here is Limoux, where Blanquette de Limoux is believed to have been the first sparkling wine made in France, even before Champagne. Crémant de Limoux is produced in a more modern style.
A crisp, refreshing variety that equally reflects both terroir and varietal character, Sauvignon blanc is responsible for a vast array of wine styles. However, a couple of commonalities always exist—namely, zesty acidity and intense aromatics. The variety is of French provenance, and is most important in Bordeaux and the Loire Valley. It also shines in New Zealand, California, Australia and parts of northeastern Italy. Chile and South Africa are excellent sources of high-quality, value-priced Sauvignon blanc.
In the Glass
From its homeland In Bordeaux, winemakers prefer to blend it with Sémillon to produce a softer, richer style. In the Loire Valley, it expresses citrus, flint and smoky flavors, especially from in Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. Marlborough, New Zealand often produces a pungent and racy version, reminiscent of cut grass, gooseberry and grapefruit. California's style is fruit-driven, in either a soft and oak-aged or snappy and fresh version.
The freshness of Sauvignon blanc’s flavor lends it to a range of light, summery dishes including salad, seafood and mild Asian cuisine. Sauvignon Blanc settles in comfortably at the table with notoriously difficult foods like artichokes or asparagus. When combined with Sémillon (and perhaps some oak), it matches well with complex seafood and chicken dishes.
Along with Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon blanc is a proud parent of Cabernet Sauvignon. That green bell pepper aroma that all three varieties share is no coincidence—it comes from a high concentration of pyrazines (herbaceous aromatic compounds) inherent to each member of the family.