A childhood fascination with the vineyard – that it becomes the site of filial excitement, freedom, and inheritance – runs through the histories of so many natural winemakers it is hard to keep count. For Xavier Ledogar in Corbieres, Languedoc, France he was more than fascinated with this land of extended gardenia and grapes – he was working it, from the age of 12 onwards! Historically the Ledogar estate would sell their farmed grapes to the local co-op; however, with Xavier’s urging in 1997/98 the family would begin vinifying their own grapes and converting the 18 hectare, 3-generation-old estate into a practicing biodynamic operation, abiding by the lunar calendar, applying biodynamic treatments and preparations in the vineyard, and foregoing any machinery in the name of horse and donkey plough to temper weed growth (they eat the weeds). With some amazingly old-vines for this region of France (up to 120 years-old!), atop the prized Boutenac terroir amidst a sea of garrigue, the Pyrénées-Orientales, and the Mediterranean, here is one of the esteemed gems of New Corbieres.
Tasting: This is a light-red, deep-rosé homage to old-school Bordeaux Clairet (Claret) wines, often meant to be chilled and drunk quickly (the original glou-glou, if you will). The Roug e-Clair is a light bodied, chillable red meant for the hottest summer day. On the nose, blood orange and thyme. The acid sings and the fruit is all black cherry, currant and late July blueberries. A prickly spice lingers on the tongue like black pepper, and it ends on a delicately bitter, earthy note. Will satisfy the adventurous and non-adventurous wine drinkers alike. Recommended musical accompaniment: Paula Abdul’s “Forever Your Girl.”
Vinification: A blend of Carignan and Mourvedre hand-harvested from vines grown in wind-eroded sand and clay soils. Co-fermented and co-macerated for less than a day before pressing and a short élevage. Bottled unfined, unfiltered, with minimal SO2 added.