Notes from owner Tom Hills.
The 2020 vintage was our first entirely indigenous fermentation, something I’ve been wanting to achieve since the outset so absolutely thrilling to have the result in bottle. The rosé this year is 67% Grenache, 26% Syrah and just 7% Cinsault, with just 3,200 bottles made – partly as we decided to put 400 litres into an acacia barrel and see what would happen, but largely because our Cinsault production has never recovered from the organic conversion combined with several years of drought, then downy mildew, together with it already being old and low yielding.
The rosé was mainly vinified in stainless steel, but about 7.5% was fermented in a beautiful, spherical ceramic vessel from Clayvef. It’s actually made from a highly consistent compact sandstone, uncoated, and similar to natural granite. Unlike terracotta it is very tough and easier to handle, and crucially, clean. It is micro-porous so allows a tiny and very slow gas exchange with the exterior. What struck me during the winemaking was how fresh, vibrant and vivacious the wine was.
Look for notes of white blossom on the nose, then on the palate tropical fruit, pineapple, white peach, apricot and a slight note of red fruit at the end. The acidity is high (3.03g) giving a fresh feeling but there is a little residual sugar (3.61 g/l)which together with the batonnage helps make the wine nicely rounded. I hope you will agree! In the interests of complete transparency, on sulphites, we have 11mg/l free SO2, with total at 47mg/l.
You’ll notice we changed the name of the cuvée to Corteza, the idea being to give the same name to the entry level wine in each colour. Simplicity is the idea, though I need to be careful when sending out orders! And we were kicked out of Saint Chinian for this cuvée, so it’s a plain old “Vin de France”, which necessitated changes to the label and capsule as we are no longer allowed to use the prefix “domaine”.
Reviews of previous vintages
Falstaff Jul-Aug 2019, Ulrich Sutter – 91
Pale cream, almost a Blanc-de-Noirs colour. Herbacious and berry, pepper, lilac, mint, on the palate juicy with fine acidity, a touch of tannin gives structure, tactile-mineral undertones and some carbonic acid increases the tension of the wine, finishing spicy and fresh, with very good length.
Jeb Dunnuck, July 2018 – 90
Sporting a light salmon color and made from Grenache and Cinsault, the 2017 Saint Chinian Rosé offers a rounded, salty, mineral-driven style as well as classic dried citrus, orange blossom, and spice aromas and flavors. It’s lightly colored yet not light in intensity and depth.
Jancis Robinson, August 2017 – 16.5
“Hand harvested. Very low sulphur additions. No malolactic conversion. Only just gris-salmon pink; Moroccan colour! This vintage smells in some slight way more of winery than vineyard but it’s a very racy, refreshing wine that’s absolutely bone dry and is well balanced with some schist element insisting on the finish. An agreeable saltiness about this. Very firm, assertive, extremely long finish with a suggestion of quinine. A much finer rosé than most with the schist playing a most intriguing part.”
Jancis Robinson on Jauzimen 2015 – 16.5
“Free sulphur just 13 mg/l! Pure as a mountain stream. Lovely smooth fruit and a certain light smokiness (hints of
Provence) but with the muscular tang of St-Chinian schist. Admirably long. Quite a find!”