2009 Saint Martin de la Garrigue Bronzinelle

Year: 2009
Appellation: Coteaux du Languedoc
Country: France
Red Wine
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43% Syrah, 18.5% Mourvèdre, 17.5% Grenache Noir, 21% Carignan

Winery Notes:
When Italian Umberto Guida and his American wife, Joëtta, bought the 62-hectare estate, St. Martin de la Garrigue, in the early nineties, they attached their names to several eras of history. The château is located in the Languedoc, near Pézenas, the hometown of Molière. Surrounded by pine forests and garrigue, it is situated overlooking the Hérault River. The building that stands today dates back to the Renaissance, yet its dazzling little chapel (which could turn the devil into a true believer) was constructed in the mid-ninth century. Records show that the property was gifted to the clergy throughout the Middle Ages by the kings of France. The story goes back even further though—the Romans were said to have built a villa and vineyards here after the conquest of Gaul. In recent years, primitive pottery shards and graves on the property were found, indicating that people have been living here even as far back as the Iron Age! So what is so special about this place? Its proximity to a water source and ideal terroir makes it the perfect spot for growing grapes. The microclimate here is different from St. Martin’s neighbors. It sits at a slightly higher altitude and is therefore cooler, allowing a one-to-two week delay of the harvest. This long, even ripening of the grapes is also attributed to the humidity and the cooling influences of the Mediterranean breezes, as well as bountiful rains in the fall and at the end of winter. Beautiful red and white limestone gravel covers the floor of the vineyards, lending aromatic depth and freshness to the grapes.

The Guidas have certainly left their mark on the property. In addition to extensive renovations in the château and the reconstruction of a new cellar and winery, the Guidas hired Jean-Claude Zabalia, one of the region’s most talented winemakers, to manage the vineyards and oversee the cellars. Together, they have brought this domaine to new heights, making wines that are sold in over twenty-eight different countries. They plant sixteen different varietals. While most of their vineyards are planted to red grapes, they are also known for their deliciously fresh white, Picpoul de Pinet. Andrew Jefford, author of The New France, raves, “Perhaps the best wine for me is an astonishing Picpoul de Pinet, picked very late from low-yielding vines: those who consider this an inarticulate if refreshing choice, the Muscadet of the Midi, should try this mint-and-verbena-scented, powerfully lemony wine.” KLWM Salesperson Lori Varsames has written of the domaine, “White or red, rosé or Cuvée Réservée, everything coming from Château St Martin de la Garrigue offers up incredible value.” Be sure to try Cuvée La Bronzinelle – it is the perfect wine for barbecue.