Producer Profile: Just southeast of famous Bordelais names like Saint-Émilion lies the area of France commonly referred to as the Sud-Ouest, largely in the modern day department Dordogne (named after the area’s main waterway). The older name for this natural region of the country, however, is the Périgord. This ancient swath of land is dotted with paper mills, vineyards and very old châteaux, amidst some of France’s most beautifully preserved forests, which hints at some of the region’s more world-famous exports. This is the land of truffles and foie gras, not far from the medieval town of Bergerac where you could sit riverside enjoying midday sun with a Bergerac rosé while watching an old gabarre mosey down the Dordogne. It’s among this land of medieval history with a rich natural landscape, up-river from the headline-grabbing neighbors in Bordeaux, that Grégoire Rousseau of Domaine Coquelicot has, since 2012, been making quite fresh Périgourdine wines that evoke the best of the truffle-rich southern French forests in the Dordogne. The grape varieties are recognizable – Merlot, Cab Franc, Cab Sauv – but their collective lift in these bottlings show off a slightly less hedonistic and head-dizzying tannic structure that can sometimes overrun the grapes’ more subtle aspects. Near Bordeaux though distinctly and proudly not Bordeaux – this is the Périgord!
Vinification: 50% Cabernet Franc and 50% Merlot from clay and limestone soils. Grapes are hand-harvested. Merlot is vinified using native yeasts in tank, and the Cab Franc is vinified separately using carbonic maceration. The two wines are blended and put into used oak to rest for one year before bottling. Bottled unfined, unfiltered with no SO2.
Tasting: A brooding, lightly-tannic, medium-bodied red full of licorice, dark berry fruit and a spicy finish. A robust alternative to the glou-glou juice of Summer and a perfect accompaniment to a heartier stew or a roast.