A profile from last month’s wine share began: “Sculpted by the famous Tramontane wine, where the Eastern-facing foothills of the Corbières Mountains run astride the Mediterranean in a sierra replete with garrigue and scrub, dotted by white rockrose, once represented a kind of dream to Carolin & Nikolaus Bantlin.” It’s a testament to the majesty of the setting that this exact same sentence could open this particular profile of Alban Michel, working not far from the Bantlins in here, the Maritime Corbières of France’s deep South. More specifically, Alban Michel operates out of the hamlet of Feuilla though he is also originally from somewhere much farther north. A native of Baccarat – a city in Northeast France’s Lorraine region – Michel grew up in the forested foothills & valleys associated with the Vosges Mountain range (what otherwist delimits Alsace to the West). After many careers throughout the seeming whole of France, Alban Michel settled into a small 5-hectare operation in Feuilla around 2005. Ever since, it’s been improvement upon improvement for this winegrower who operates in the lowest-interventionist style possible – he proudly calls himself a ‘pifculteur,’ as in somehow who ‘cultivates’ ‘pif’ which is French slang for simple, everyday wine. Having never utilized any sulfites at any point in his winemaking career, he is a talented, vastly experienced sans soufre winegrower ergo the wild-yet-not-ragged aspect of his otherwise epically vibrant bottlings of Syrah, Carignan, Grenache, & Cinsault.
Vinification & Tasting: Carignan, Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvèdre. Long macerations, unfined, unfiltered, no SO2. As the winemaker intended, this is a weekday slammer, but with body, depth and structure. Gorgeous blue fruits, smoke, peppery spice, snappy tannins and a chest-warming finish. Serve alongside a bolognese or your favorite comforting wintry dish.