Wine: Mas de Gourgonnier

by Chloé Mathieu Phillips & Dennis Phillips on March 24, 2010

in Drinks

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 pâté on hand and pulled it out after a few sips. The butter of the pâté 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

The photo above is by / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Chloé Mathieu Phillips & Dennis Phillips

Chloé and Dennis’ passion for unique, local food and wine started
years ago around a shared plate of churros in the south of Spain. Chloé followed Dennis to New York, Dennis caught up with her appreciation for wine and food and together they quickly started eating and drinking their way around the world and making amazing, passionate friends along the way. They recently lived in Europe and backpacked their way back across Asia and South America. Dennis and Chloé now live in Greenpoint,
Brooklyn and are happily plotting their next move in the world of
food, wine and travel. They share their wine experiences on Tag:Wine
and on the more personal (and often written in French) chloe blogue.

Latest posts by Chloé Mathieu Phillips & Dennis Phillips (see all)

  • danielb

    But where's a picture of the oddly shaped bottle?

  • Chloe

    Unfortunately, "someone" in the household recycled the bottle before "someone else" took the picture… the importance of communication

    However, it seems like this Flickr user had more luck than we did

    Thanks fro the comment!

  • Don Duwe, winemaster@whidbey.

    Mas de Gourgonnier is truely a great wine with more of a story than you mentioned. I visited this winery more than a decade ago, in fact had lunch with the owner. The grapes in this wine is more like those grown in Bourdeau. with cabernet the promadent grape. The secret of the success is the deep rich gravely soil in this particular vineyard. The climate here is also more friendly to these grapes than in Bourdeau, producing rich full flavors. It is the wine not the bottle that makes this an interesting wine. Don Duwe

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