2019 Terres Fidèles Soleilla AOP Maury Sec Rouge
February is a great month. It has a day dedicated to love, a day celebrating a big ol’ boat race (looking at you Hobart) and a day devoted to pancakes. Naturally, this great month deserves a great wine. Or should we say, un grand vin? Introducing Terres Fidèles Soleilla AOP Maury Sec Rouge 2019, from the wild, sun-drenched slopes of Languedoc-Roussillon in France. Inspired by the concept of l’esprit du lieu - the spirit of place - this glorious red gives layers of blackberry fruit, earth and spice, beautifully capturing the power and grace of the Maury region. Made from low-yielding 100-year-old vines from the historic Soleilla and Clos des Bosq vineyards, only 2,660 bottles were produced, making it not just delicious but rare too.
"80% old vine Grenache from the hillside Soleilla vineyard and 20% of century old Carignan from the Vallée d’Agly. Intense and powerful wine, though it manages to stay pretty light on its feet. Dark berries, scrub herb and lavender perfume, meaty and slightly malty. Plenty of flavour, distinct regional herb mouth-perfume, dark raspberries and a ‘mineral’ feel, especially pleasant crushed stone tannin, bitter almond and a long clean finish packed with tannin and bucolic fragrance. Excellent wine. Personality plus."
"Medium to deep ruby-red hue. Dark cherry, boudin noir and garrigue aromatics. The palate sits quite deep and rich, jammy fruits nestle amongst dried herbs and lavender complexities. A stony line of tannins tightens and focuses the very long finish. It handles the high alcohol remarkably well."
Vineyard of the Sun
In Occitan, the dialect of the Languedoc, Soleilla means sun. A fitting name for the sun-soaked vineyard that produced this wine. According to winemaker Fergal Tynan, it is a wine from “a magnificent yet challenging landscape [and is] ‘faithful’ to the spirit of place, land and people who shared their precious vines with us.” Located high on the hillside of the Coume del Rey in the Pyrenees foothills, the vineyards benefit from a warm Mediterranean climate, which is moderated by cool breezes from the nearby mountain range. The combination of black schist and limestone soils, arid climate and dramatic slopes creates an ideal environment for the Spanish varieties like grenache and carignan.
Faithful to the land
Traditional methods and modern vision come together seamlessly in Terres Fidèles Maury Sec Rouge. A classic blend of grenache (80%) and carignan (20%), the fruit is hand-harvested, carefully sorted and destemmed before undergoing a long, gentle fermentation, extracting as much flavour, colour and delicate tannins as possible while retaining a punchy freshness. The result is a dark, brooding bouquet with aromas of raspberry coulis, blackberry and Morello cherry that eventually flow on to the more savoury, wild character of the Soleilla site with notes of juniper, rosemary and fennel. The palate is rich and full-bodied, with the plush black fruit and spice from the grenache perfectly framed by the fresh acidity and fine, firm tannins from the centennial carignan. Given time in the glass, this wine will take you on a journey, revealing surprising delicacy to match the Soleilla’s impressive density and depth. It is at once heady and opulent, yet fresh and refined. In the glass it is yin and yang; darkness and light; power and grace; and wholly delicious.
Woo your guests with chic dinner party conversation as you pour your Feburary bottle.
- Formerly a part of Catalonia, Roussillon has a distinct cultural and geographical identity, with many of its inhabitants identifying as Catalan rather than French or Occitan. This rich iberian heritage can be seen in the style of wines and the varieties produced in the region, such as the Spanish varieties grenache and carignan, traditionally known as garnacha and cariñena.
- Roussillon is one of France's sunniest regions, with an average of 325 days’ sunshine a year. While most crops struggle to grow in such warm, arid climates, heat-loving wine grapes (and olives!) thrive in these conditions.
- The Maury appellation is best known for naturally sweet, high alcohol reds known as vins doux naturels, while dry red wines from the area were just called vin de Pays. Fortunately, the laws were changed in 2012 in recognition of the increasing importance of these less alcoholic, terroir-driven delights like the Soleilla.
- This is a masterful wine. In addition to being supremely tasty, the chief winemaker at Terres Fidèles, Fergal Tynan, also happens to be a Master of Wine or MW. This auspicious qualification is generally regarded as one of the highest standards of professional knowledge in the wine industry - only 498 people have passed the MW exam since 1953.
- Vieilles vignes - it’s French for old vines. But what does it mean? Well, like a lot of things in wine, ‘old’ is relative, but generally, we’re talking 30+ years. (At One Wine, we prefer to take a ‘you’re as old as you feel’ approach). For context, the Soleilla vineyard is over 100 years old, making these vines elite senior citizens. Not only do these hardy oldtimers have deep, well developed root systems that enable them to grow in typically inhospitable, drought-prone areas, they produce small bunches of quality fruit, resulting in wines with great concentration and complexity.