Domaine de Courbissac, Les Traverses, 2019
Minervois AOC, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
he Languedoc-Roussillon region in the southwest of France is a powerhouse of production and the single biggest region for production in the whole world. This relentlessly warm area produces over a third of all French wine, no small feat considering the complexity and diversity of France’s famous wine regions like Champagne, Burgundy and Bordeaux.
Domaine de Courbissac is no stranger to the sustainable and biodynamic agricultural game, having established their philosophy and converted the winery fully in 2002. They also have access to some unbelievable vineyards with vines averaging over 40 years of age and with some of their Grenache vines over 90 years old. Brunnhilde Claux is the winemaker here and she brings a sterling resumé to the position, having worked at Domaine Gauby in the region and Terroir al Limit in the Priorat before officially accepting the position.
Low intervention winemaking is the key here. Grapes are hand-picked, hand-sorted and transported in small bins to ensure no fruit deterioration. After pressing, the grapes are fermented in concrete vats and open top wood casks; this technique is very important because it helps preserve the freshness of the varietals while building depth and character into the wine.
The results are a wine that has all the benefits of some wood aging without the overt wood flavours. The fruit takes center stage with generous flavours of sweet spices, Mediterranean herbs, minerals and garrigue. The tannins are ripe but the texture is supple and pleasant. A beautiful, harmonious finish makes this very pleasurable to enjoy through the course of an evening.