Mas Coutelou 'Couleurs Réunies' VDF 2019
Producer: Mas Coutelou
Varietal: Castet, Carignan, Aramon Noir and Gris, Oeillade Noire, Oeillade Muscate, Clairettes Blanche, Grise and, Clairette, Musquée Terret Noir and Blanc, Ribeyrenc Noir and Gris, and Morastel (many of these grapes nearly extinct!)
Notes: 100% destemmed. This wine is unfined, unfiltered, with no added sulphites.
"Mas Coutelou was born of the meeting of 2 families: the Coutelou which were from St Chinian since the 17th century (Jeff’s dad side of the fam) and the Mas family who moved to Puimisson, Rue de la Pompe in 1876 with 3 year old Etienne & 2 cows (they sold milk in the village). Etienne is the one who started the domaine and he was the great grandfather of Jeff. Etienne’s son, Eugène, the grandfather of Jeff, had a company which sold agricultural products. Eugène never worked in the vineyard because he had a stiff leg but he was successful in business and was able to buy more land in order for his father to be able to solely devote his life to the domaine and no longer have to work on the side as an employee.
They always vinified their own grapes in their cellar and sold wine in barrels to the négoce. That is how the wines were sold in France throughout the 60’s. Bottling at the domaine came much later.
The total size is 20 hectares: 13 hectares planted to vines and 7 hectares of olive orchards, treese, bushes, wild flowers, resting parcels.
The domaine has been certified organic by Nature et Progres since 1987. More recently Jeff planted over a thousand trees and bushes to bring back more biodiversity to his land. These trees and bushes create buffer zones which form a barrier to run off waters, erosion and water pollution from neighboring parcels & it creates a habitat for animals which reduces the need for chemical treatments, and are beautiful to work in :) .
Puimisson is made up of a mosaic of soils and subsoils. The majority are clay-limestone with more or less clay, some veins of villafranchian gravel & marl.
Jeff came back to the domaine full time in the early 2000. He used to be a teacher in Hotel Management at the Ecole Hortelière de Paris & University Paris Dauphine (I was one of his students for 4 years from 1999 to 2003) and he would fly back to Béziers come Friday afternoon to hop on the tractor & work in the vineyard & the cellar. Come Monday he would fly back to Paris, when we had classes on Monday morning I would remember his farmer purple hands which always contrasted with his Marithé Francois Girbaud pants and Lacroix velour vest.
The first experiment “sans souffre” was in 2003; a white called Roberta and a red (cinsault). I have drunk them both, and they are so light and fresh that it’s hard to believe that they were pro- duced during a heat wave. In 2012 the sulfur exited the cellar, no wines have had any since. There is no fining or filtering either. The elevages are usually short, but 2019 was another story." -Camille Rivière