Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Wine That Says "Let's Get Lost"


Poudre d'Escampette is an old French expression that loosely translates to "escape" or "take to your heels." I think in the context of this particular wine from Le Casot de Mailloles, the phrase is more like "let's get lost."

With just 5 hectares of vines, Le Casot des Mailloles is perhps the smallest domaine in the Banyuls region of Southern France. It was started in 1994 by partners, Alain Castex and Ghislaine Magnier. Today, the domaine has the reputation of being the greatest producer in Banyuls. Quite ironic since none of its wines carry the Banyuls AOC as they are humbly classified Vin de France--this despite all their vineyards being situated within the Banyuls appellation.

Work is done totally manually most of the year by just Alain Castex and Ghislaine. Their vineyards are planted with very old vines, close to 100 years old or more and have been fully organic since 1997. They vinify their wines using native yeasts and without any additives or addition of sulphites. The wines are bottled by hand without filtering. Production is an uneconomic less than 5,000 bottles a year. Clearly the domaine exists because they love what they do.

There are certainly more than enough wine lovers in France and elsewhere in Europe who buy out the domaine's production every year. Its wines have rarely reached the US, and if ever just in dribs and drabs. Last year, a handful of cases, probably no more than 6 cases were imported to the US. I'm wishing this year we would see more.

Meanwhile, I have a few bottles of their haunting 2013 Poudre d'Escampette. Let's get lost.




Vin de France "Poudre d'Escampette", Le Casot des Mailloles 2013 $28.00 (order here)



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