Producer: Benjamin Taillandier works in his family’s longtime hometown of Caunes-Minervois in the Aude department of the south of France, a land of pristine red marble quarries at the foot of the Montaigne Noir, itself the southern extent of the Massif Central. The climate here is, as you can imagine, quite hot and dry which has historically lent the wines cultivated in the Minervois the kind of concentration, extraction, and alcoholic muscle that makes for difficult drinking. Which, if you’d like to drink a wine, feels like an inherent hurdle: difficulty drinking. And so, since 2007, Benjamin Taillandier – inspired by a 2-3 year apprenticeship at natural winemaker Jean-Baptiste Senat’s estate – has been trying to introduce people to the concept of another Minervois in the bottle, the one that he knows: light, fresh, thirst-quenching. The kinds of beverages that would only make too much sense in an environment of heat: you get thirsty! Lower ABV similarly makes for joyously drunk bottles of Taillandier. The kinds of grapes that he’s vinifying in this Vin de Soif style are typical of the region: Grenache Noir, Syrah, Cinsault, Terret Gris, and the like. Lively, plummy, contradictorily crushable and full-flavored natural wines re-casting a future of Minervois freshness since 2007!
Vinification: Cinsault, Syrah and Carignan from schist and sand soils. Grapes are hand-harvested and fermented use wild yeasts in open vats. Bottled unfined, unfiltered, with no SO2.
Tasting: This is a light but brooding red to pair with just about any Italian dish. Garnet-hued in the glass, with black cherry, red currant and violets on the nose. The palate is filled with bright cherry and blackberries up front, but slowly morphs into a moody, peppery, savory delight with some light tannins on the finish.