A wine made up of equal parts Grenache/Syrah can take on many shapes. Grown on a flat plain in irrigated soil by a large-volume winery, the blend will be a cheap, unremarkable Côtes du Rhône. Grown just miles away in the legendary soils of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and the wine can be an ageworthy gem.
Today’s wine is the same blend, but follows neither of these paths. The Mas Foulaquier’s “Orphée” cuvée is made from grapes grown in the untamed soils of the northern Languedoc. The winemakers practice biodynamics in the vineyards and the cellar, and the result is an entirely different take on the blend.
The grape makeup of this wine is important, but only as a vehicle to communicate the vignerons’ philosophy, and their rugged terroir.
Foulaquier is an excellent source in Pic-St-Loup, at the northern end of the sprawling Languedoc. Their wines are natural, wild, sometimes funky, and always delicious. They also exhibit a completeness often absent in low-intervention styles — where some offer a single, interesting, unusual note, Foulaquier’s wines are a harmonious symphony of nature — perhaps Philip Glass more than Beethoven, but charming nonetheless.
Foualquier’s 2019 Orphée is natural wine done to perfection. Foulaquier has added no sulfites to this cuvée, but the nose is sophisticated and clean – we’d put it squarely in the middle of the domaine’s typical natural character. It’s raised for 15 months in sandstone amphora and concrete tanks. The nose shows dark fruit, with violets and tapenade; the mouth is young and intense but with excellent intensity.
Pour this at your next backyard barbecue.
Foulaquier Orphée 2019
bottle price: $29
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