Montirius Vacqueyras 1999
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Eric and Christine Saurel began bottling wine under the Montirius label with the 1996 vintage (the name is a contraction of their childrens’ names: Manon, Justine, and Marius). Eric is the fifth generation to assume the mantle of vigneron in the Saurel family. His grandfather was instrumental in the development of the Vacqueyras co-op after WWI and the Saurels remained important members until 2002, when Eric and Christine pulled out.
The Montirius vineyards have been organic since 1990 and certified biodynamic since 1999. The Saurels make the following wines with a decided emphasis on purity--they are made entirely in large cement vats without any wood influences.
This charming appellation within the Côtes du Rhône Villages was second only to Gigondas to earn its own village appellation status. Its wines may be red, rosé or white—though hardly any is white. Its high winemaking standards follow many of the same rules as Chateauneuf-du-Pape. But for Vacqueyras red wines, half of the grapes have to be Grenache and the remainder is usually a combination of Syrah, Mourvedre and Cinsault.
While they can be robust and rustic in style, typically a great Vacqueyras red combines delicate aromas with intense fruit and a bright, crisp texture. They certainly don’t lack any character and show an abundance of black cherry, wild berry, plum, fig, baking spice, and a touch of game or smoke.
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.