Le Clos des Jarres Insouciance 2019

£16.75
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REGION:
Minervois, Languedoc, France
GRAPES:
Merlot & Caladoc
VINEYARD:
Organic & Biodynamic
CELLAR:
Fermented with native yeasts, unfiltered & unfined, no additional sulphites
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An unusual blend of of one third Merlot and two thirds Caladoc, this wine (whose name translates as 'carefree') has been specifically created by Vivien to go against expectations of a wine from the Minervois, and to put varietals that aren't favoured by the norms of the region in the spotlight, showing what is possible. So don't go expecting full-bodied, raisined fruit given a bashing with oak - this wine is full of energy, little red fruits, cracked black pepper and the bitters of dark chocolate in the back end. It's absolutely cracking value too.

As a teenager, Vivien Hemelsdael studied winemaking in the Alsace. Both during and after his studies he made ends meet working for a handful of winemakers throughout the region, most notably Domaine Léon Boesch, where he learnt some of his most important lessons in biodynamics. He then spent time working for winemakers in New Zealand and other parts of France, though it wasn’t long before his parents convinced him to move back to the Minervois and take over the family vineyard. Before then they had always sold their grapes to the local co-operative. So, at 23 years old, Le Clos des Jarres was born. His 13 hectares of vines, mostly red varietals, are farmed entirely organically and biodynamically. What is most notable when visiting Vivien’s estate is his impressive work ethic, a respect for the soil and the vine, and an uncompromising sensitivity and sensibility in the cellar. In a region that has fallen somewhat victim to its own status as a DO, becoming increasingly market influenced rather than following tradition and respecting terroirs, Vivien's wines are a beacon of light.

The majority of Vivien's plots are on clay and gravel, all of them over a bedrock of limestone. He farms organically and biodynamically, and Vivien says that the combination of biodynamic farming and a limestone bedrock are what help keep his wines fresh and balanced, rather than overly tannic or fruit heavy, the typical style of Minervois today. In terms of elevage, he opts for large format very old oak, amphora and fibreglass, vessels that he says help maintain terroirs and freshness in his wines.