WineWriting.com & French Mediterranean Wine
Richard Mark James' wine and travel blog

16 March 2009

Roussillon: Clos de l'Origine, Maury

New age Marc Barriot, who's working towards biodynamic certification, is a pleasure to talk to, always buzzing with ideas and opinions, which he doesn't hold back on! Click here for previous notes on his wines, and here's a little philosophical snippet translated from his website: "As wine should be and remain a living product, I don't aim to make perfect boring wines..." Way to go, Marc, as our transatlantic friends might say. As you'll see from the picture (right), he does sometimes use a mule to get rid of unwanted weeds and churn the soil on his vineyards' trickiest slopes. Marc has disparate parcels totalling 5 ha (12.5 acres) around Maury and in Calce, Estagel and Montner; so he must clock up quite a bit of "kilometre-age" knowing how much time he spends in the vineyard. He's also experimenting with low or no-sulphur winemaking and keeping things as natural as possible; a bit of a cliché, I know, but in his case it seems genuine (as long as you keep a close eye on everything). He's also something of a Greenpeace-type when it comes to environmental issues, local or global. Marc's experimented with a variety of arty and/or humorous labels; the current ones feature portraits of 'the big guy himself'.

I tasted these wines at the Fenouillèdes wine show in April 2007:
2005 L'Original blanc, Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes (Macabeu Muscat à petits grains) – attractive juicy apple fruit with intense mineral palate, crisp v concentrated. 85-87
2005 Soif de Plaisirs, Côtes du Roussillon red (60% Carignan, Grenache Syrah) – nice ripe black cherry and liquorice intensity tinged with a touch of VA complexity; quite concentrated and rich with subtle grip and length. 87-89

2004 Clos de l'Origine, Côtes du Roussillon red – pure aromas with more intense blackcurrant/cherry notes, again showing that hallmark intensity; subtle concentration with appealing fresh bite and length wrapped in liquorice fruit. 90

Update 2009: a comprehensive tasting tour around, and from, Marc's increasing collection of varying sizes of vats and barrels in March produced the following notes and comments.
2008 Grenache gris / Grenache blanc (already blended in a six year-old cask) - light apricot aromas & flavours vs appley and crisp; very dry yet honeyed and floral, nice style.
2008 Grenache gris / Grenache blanc (same blend, one year-old 400 litre barrel) - a bit fatter with yeast-less juiciness, pineapple fruit then turns crisp and fresh with good length. He'll blend the two probably.
2008 Macabeu / Muscat - attractive mix of juicy and spicy vs aromatic, grapey
and clean.
2008 Grenache rosé (from Maury, picked 25 August with 13.5%, run off quickly) - appealing juicy spicy light red fruit cocktail, crisp dry and tasty.
2008 Muscat ("petits grains" on schist) - picked on 18 August around 12% potential: lively aromatic grapey and citrus notes, clean "straight" and crisp palate.
2008 Syrah ("carbonic maceration") - perfumed spicy very-Syrah nose with rustic edges, juicy cherry fruit; quite easy although has a bit of grip though.
2008 Carignan (+ splash of Lladoner Pelut, from Montner & Estagel) - tangy and structured with elder/blueberry aromas / flavours, firm tannins vs quite delicate mineral frisson.
2008 Grenache (Maury, picked 30 September from north-facing clay-chalk slopes, 14%) - quite tautly textured actually with very solid framework vs delicious liquorice and spice flavours. Should be an excellent element in the blend.
2007 Soif (Carignan Grenache Syrah) - the only finished wine I tried this time: aromatic dark cherries with smoky tobacco notes and wild strawberries too; nice depth of fruit set on firm tannins and fresh bite, very tasty and, erm, thirst-quenching I guess (soif = thirst)! 87+
2007 Grenache - a bit volatile and/or dirty or
reduced; something odd on the nose for sure? But its powerful structured mouthfeel finishes with much nicer wild fruits and herbs.
2008 Muscat "Alexandrie" - a bit "fatter" than above with exotic curry (I can't read my notes very well but that's what it looks like!) and orange/lemon twang; nice cut with clean aromatic finish.

1 Route de Lesquerde, 66460 Maury
. Tel: 04 68 53 10 38, mobile 06 75 03 71 71; closdelorigine@gmail.com, closdelorigine.free.fr.

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