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Vin de France "Poudre d'Escampette", Casot des Mailloles 2013


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With just 5 hectares of vines, Le Casot des Mailloles is most likely the smallest domaine in the Banyuls region of Southern France. It was started in 1994 by partners, Alain Castex and Ghislaine Magnier. Today, the domaine has the reputation of being the greatest producer in Banyuls. This is ironic since none of its wines carry the Banyuls AOC as they are humbly classified Vin de France. This despite all their vineyards are situated within the Banyuls appellation.

Work is done totally manually most of the year by just Alain Castex and Ghislaine. Their vineyards are planted with very old vines, close to 100 years old or more and have been fully organic since 1997. They vinify their wines using native yeasts and without any additives or addition of sulphites. The wines are bottled by hand without filtering. Production is an uneconomic less than 5,000 bottles a year. Clearly the domaine exists because they love what they do. There are certainly more than enough wine lovers in France and elsewhere in Europe who buy out the domaine's production every year. Its wines have rarely reached the US, and if ever just in dribs and drabs. Last year, a handful of cases, probably no more than 6 were imported to the US. I'm wishing this year we would see more.
 
This cuvee consists of almost equal parts Grenache, Carignan, and Mourvedre from vines that are about 100 years-old planted in schist soils and that have been farmed organically for the past two decades. The wine was vinified naturally without additives and without addition of sulfites, as well, then bottled unfiltered. It is a true natural wine. Darkly flavored and firm in structure, the wine has an adoring richness and complexity, and it would benefit from a few years of aging.