The label is rather impressive, but was it designed especially for what seems to be a one-off wine, I wonder? Or is it Domaine Montesquiou’s generic label for any wine not in its normal range? The official EU label with all the required information is of course on the back of the bottle: Vin de France (what used to be called table wine), 2014, and 14.5%, but still little clue about the contents.
According to Leon Stolarski’s website, where you can find more information and currently buy bottles of it, the wine is 65% Gros Manseng, 30% Petit Manseng, and 5% Camaralet. That is the same blend as Montesquiou’s Cuvade Préciouse – a Jurançon Sec – the difference being that for this wine the fermentation stuck with too much residual sugar to call it sec, and the decision was taken to bottle the wine as it was, rather than restart the fermentation.
It is not something that easily slots into a neat category, and as such it took be some time to figure out my reaction. But as I drank, I got to like it more and more. Here’s my tasting note: Medium pale amber gold colour. Big on the nose. Lime marmalade, or maybe a combination of lime fruit and “normal” marmalade. Possibly a hint of petrol, and some green vegetable, though not in a negative way. Sweet ripe fruit, apricot maybe. My wife thought honey. All in all, the evidence seems to suggest some botrytis. Certainly there was a lot of interest on the nose. On the palate, initially an impression of medium low acidity. Off dry and full bodied. Slightly bitter. Feels like it should be astringent, but isn’t. Excellent length. Seems more acidic on the finish, so now I’m confused a bit – probably actually higher acidity than I thought at first – medium high perhaps? Overall the effect is bracing, despite the sweetness. Weird but I think I like it. No, I do like it, a lot. Difficult to rate, but I think *****
Would I buy more? Possibly. My main reason for hesitation is wondering when I would like to drink it. I had my bottle with Middle-Eastern meze. It wasn’t bad in that context, but neither food nor wine particularly lifted the other. The overall profile reminds me a little of rich Alsace wines, so maybe pork would be the obvious match. It would stand up well to creamy sauces too.
So, well done Leon for importing this. Nearly forgot to mention it costs £11.95, and at that price it is certainly worth trying a bottle. I have enjoyed earlier vintages of the dry Cuvade Préciouse too, so you might like to get some of that at the same time.