Mas Janeil Les Hauts de Janeil Syrah Rose 2017
The Syrah grapes for this rosé derive from the 59-acre estate of Mas Janeil in Maury. Mas Janeil is committed to sustainable agriculture and does not use any pesticides or chemicals. Grapes from both the winery’s neighbors and from vineyards closer to the coast are added to complement the estate fruit. The vines average 30 years of age and are planted in soils of eroded sandstone, schist, and stony plateau that experience a Mediterranean climate—mild winters and hot, dry summers.
Francois Lurton is the fifth generation of his family to be in the wine business in France, as their winemaking roots date back to 1897. Francois started out as Marketing Director of his father's wine company, Andre Lurton in 1985 and moved on to found his own consulting firm with his brother Jacques in 1988. They were endlessly on the search around the world for unique vineyards and terroirs to produce the best possible wine for their customers, which earned them the moniker of the first "flying winemakers." In 2007 they restructured the company and François became the majority shareholder enabling him to work more closely to the winemaking process (both in the vineyards and the cellar) to ensure that the highest level of quality is always delivered.
Mas Janeil landed on Francois' and Jacques' radar in 1996 when they became enamored with the Vallee de l'Agly and its breathtaking landscape prompting them to rent the estate. In 2008 Francois officially purchased Mas Janeil, constructed a new wine storehouse and partially revamped an old irrigation system. Mas Janeil is 59 acres and situated in the commune of Maury in the Roussilon region at the base of a cliff which harbors Chateau de Queribus (Cathar Castle). The estate overlaps a geological fault which allows for an array of different soil types including, schist, granite, limestone and shale. Les Hauts de Janeil selections are made with the same philosophy in mind as the estate Mas Janeil wines but are meant for earlier consumption and crafted with grapes from both the Mas Janeil and neighboring vineyards which are closer to the coast.
Defined by the rugged eastern edge of the Pyrenees Mountains and near-constant sunshine, Roussillon is a region rich in Spanish history and influence. In fact, the Roussillon people mainly identify with being Catalan rather than French or Occitan.
Roussillon has been a culture of viticulture since the 7th century BC and not surprisingly, highly influenced by Spain in their winemaking techniques and wine styles. Furthermore, the arid, exposed, steep and uneven valleys of this so-called Pyrénées-Orientales zone, guarantee that grape yields are low and berries are small and concentrated. The region was quick to adopt a specific fortification process (locally called mutage), introduced by a Catalan physician in the 13th century. Seen as beneficial to the region’s whites, soon Roussillon also applied the process to the vinification of Grenache. Mutage involves fortifying the grape must (or must and skins together depending on desired effect) with a neutral grape spirit to arrest fermentation, resulting in a slightly sweet, high alcohol (15-18%), but still varietally expressive and aromatically complex wine called, vin doux naturel. Two clones of Muscat and Grenache of various colors are mainly responsible for the excellent vins doux naturels in the notable sub-appellations of Rivesaltes, Banyuls and Maury.
More recently modern winemaking techniques, coupled with a near perfect climate and optimal soils, altitudes and exposures have allowed Roussillon to quickly escalate the quality and popularity of its dry red wines as well, namely those of Maury, Cotes du Roussillon-Villages and Collioure.
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.