Benjamin Taillandier, Le Blanc VdF, 2021
Vin de France
Benjamin Taillandier is an unassuming man. His winery, and vineyards, are unassuming too. As is his start in the wine world, which might be the most unassuming part of this whole story. Benjamin came from a family with no history of winemaking, attended (and graduated) from winemaking school and worked brief stints at a few French wineries before settling in Caunes-Minervois to make wine under his own name. His story doesn't conjure any fantasies about grands chateaux or prestigious appellations. It is, however, much more direct and relatable. And it is the very essence of why Benjamin's wines are so damn good.
They are honest reflections of someone humble and hardworking. They speak to the earnestness and uneventful start to his career in winemaking. Benjamin wasn't appointed or designated to greatness because of a sterling resumé, nor was he trained under the watchful eye of the nth consecutive generation of familial winemaker, like other vignerons. His great challenge required commitment and dedication, the soul of a farmer and the spirit of a humble winemaker.
The Blanc Vin de France is a coming together of Grenache Gris, Grenache Blanc and Terret Gris. It is the culmination of organic viticultural practices and a 20 hectare vineyard resplendent in olive trees, fields and garrigue, that yields a great and pure fruit. Despite the practices of many of his counterparts in the region, Benjamin's bottles swim upstream against the current of great concentration and high alcohol wines. His wines are lively. Energized and energizing. They partake of the happy moniker "vin de soif".
Light citrus aromas lead the way through a somewhat smoky minerality. The citrus flavours open the door to a world of fresh fennel, fresh white pear and white florality. The wine is dry and zippy with a youthful energy balancing the tension on the palate. It's so like Benjamin - quiet and unassuming until you realize that the party started and he was the one to get it going.