August 27, 2010 Domaine de la Prose
Domaine de la Prose Grand Cuvée blanc
grenache blanc, roussanne, vermentino
During the past two weeks I have crossed my Island home to attend two literary festivals, one in Eastport, Bonavista Bay, the other in Woody Point, Bonne Bay. Both are adjacent to National Parks and nearby are stunning, uncrowded beaches. The water is more chilled than the wine, but hey, it’s the North Atlantic.
Can there be a more label-appropriate wine to bring to a literary festival than Domaine de la Prose? (Not unless it’s Mas de l’Ecriture, but that’s another story.)
This wine was purchased in Aux Grands Vins de France wineshop in the southern French city of Montpellier. Domaine de la Prose is just 10 kilometres west of the city, within the much-prized Saint Georges d’Orques subregion of the appellation Coteaux du Languedoc. From the gentle hills of its 17 hectares can be seen the 13th century L’Abbaye du Vignogoul, and in the distance Montpellier and the Mediterranean. Wildflowers and other wild vegetation abound, some of which find a home between the vines.
The domaine was founded in 1990 by Alexander and Patricia de Mortillet, descendants of Henri Marès (friend of Louis Pasteur), the man who discovered the treatment of sulphur for powdery mildew on vines. One of the first projects of the new owners was the design and construction of an impressive new chais, set into the hills of Pignan. It allowed for winemaking and storage under cooler conditions, and marked a move away from selling grapes to the local cooperative.
Since 1995 the domaine has been operated by son BERTRAND de MORTILLET. Bertrand studied viticulture in Bordeaux, and then spent time on wine estates in Burgundy and Corsica, as well as South Africa. He is young and very much his own man, eager to experiment, to produce well-made wines with character. The choice of the white varietal vermentino (more common in Italy and Corsica) could be seen as an indication of this. Bertrand’s approach is somewhere between organic and biodynamic, and is very much terroir-driven. He is viewed as a name to keep an eye on, someone whose reputation will only grow stronger.
Domaine de la Prose Grand Cuvée blanc 2006
This wine makes an impression from the moment it takes to the glass. Its burnt apricot colour would seem to speak volumes. The expectation is of something new and different. The aromas are surprisingly of honey and subtle liqueur, a bit tamer than anticipated. It is in the mouth that it fills the page — lively and multi-layered, not at all sweet as the nose might suggest. Herbs aged in citrus until the two are blended into a rich compote, then gently infused into the fruit, teasing the mouth with its subtle complexity. The finish is long, textured and earthy. A promise fulfilled. $