So last week we asked the question “What is a boutique wine” and we had a number of fantastic comments… one of which was that a boutique wine should have a story. This week’s wine definitely has a story, a crazy shaped bottle and a family pouring its passion into it.
We sometimes scoff at picking a bottle based on how cool the label looks, but on a recent trip to our local wine shop we were equally intrigued by this wine’s unique, Hennessy-shaped, bottle. It comes from Provence, an area probably more well known for its extremely tasty rosés (it’s almost that time of year again!!!), but this bottle of red had completely won us over with its seductive curves and before we knew it, it was sitting comfortably – if not oddly – in the wine rack back at home.
It turns out the wine is produced by the Cartier family (no relation to the jewelry… we think). Nicolas Cartier, his two sons Luc, Frédéri, and Luc’s daughter Eve, produce olive oil as well as wine in the southeast of France. The vines were planted on the family estate, which used to be an abbey, in the 1950s and are 100% organic.
Sounding pretty good, right? We thought so too.
Well, to be honest, this is a wine that we simply could not agree on. It has a strong aroma of wet wood (in a sort of pleasant way), with great wafts of underlying dried fruit… almost like smelling an empty box of raisins. One of us liked that, the other not so much. The tannins were very pronounced, drying out the sides of your mouth and tongue a bit like a young Chianti might. However, one of us thought it had a silky smooth texture and the other thicker and richer. Just about the only thing we could agree on was this is NOT a sipping wine, but needed some food to shine – and stat! Fortunately, we had some truffle pÃ¢té on hand and pulled it out after a few sips. The butter of the pÃ¢té definitely chilled out the tannins, but it wasn’t the perfect partner.
We had planned to eat a pasta with broccoli rabe pesto that night (yes, again!) and although we were skeptical at first, once the wine had breathed for a while it did match the pesto in a pleasant, subtle way. The woodsiness combined with the bitter rabe created an almost nutty flavor. But if we were to do it over again, we would recommend that you experiment with something else – maybe a light meat dish like rabbit or a duck ragout like this one Amelia made recently. A cassoulet perhaps, if you wanted something a bit richer.
Mas de Gourgonnier is a funky, love-it-or-hate-it-but-nothing-in-between wine. But perhaps that’s another characteristic of a boutique wine… not boring.
Mas de Gourgonnier 2007, Nicholas Cartier et ses fils| $17 at Dandelion Wines, Greenpoint, Brooklyn NY