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30 January 2009

Roussillon: Château Monty

"Château" Monty: inverted commas as it's not really a Chateau but the name of writer, biodynamic consultant and now broadcaster-winemaker Monty Waldin's TV programme (shown autumn 2008 on Channel 4 in the UK) and book; as you can see from the picture I stole off his website: click on the link below. So, for those of you who watched and/or read it; you already know the 'trials & tribulations' story about Monty's dream to rent a vineyard (in the northern Roussillon, from friend and mentor Eric Laguerre), farm it and produce grapes using biodynamic principles and methods, make a red wine and sell it to a British wine merchant. All set to a rather nice backdrop, of course, giving you a good feel for what it's like to try to be as natural a winegrower as possible.
For more info on biodynamics etc., again have a look at his site as he knows more about it than me by a long way; also click here for a report I did on a biodynamic growers' tasting three years ago, with a few words from Nicolas Joly. Monty now lives in Tuscany most of the time, when he's not mixing up his witches' brews in St-Martin de Fenouillet. Anyway, I bumped into him at this year's Millésime Bio wine show (Jan 2009, Montpellier), where he had samples of his 2008 wines hidden underneath Eric's stand. He's made a white and rosé too this vintage, by the way; all three are available in the UK in Adnam's wine shops at £8.99. 
Here's my verdict for what it's worth:

2008 Monty's white (Macabeu) - aromatic and appley v light exotic fruit and a tad of creaminess; fresh and mineral mouth-feel v touch of weight and nice length. 87+
July 2009: I tried the bottled version of the white, blind in fact, and found it more appley and real cider like with nutty, verging on oxidising actually, peach stone edges; lost a bit of its zesty side although it's definitely quite wild and funky, if that's your thing. 85+
2008 Monty's rosé - steely crisp style with elegant rose petal and red fruit notes; again nice dry zesty finish. 87
2008 Monty's red (Carignan + a tad of Syrah) - delicious aromatic crunchy blueberry and cassis fruit; tasty palate turning more savoury on the finish, good mix of nice quaffer v substance and grip. 87+

Update: the 2009 vintage Chateau Monty wines are from and made in Tuscany, as that's where he lives now, so I'll report back if and when I get the chance to try them... And the new edition of Monty's book on biodynamic wines is now available, print-on-demand, from lulu.com. More info @ www.montywaldin.com

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Header image: Château de Flandry, Limoux, Languedoc. Background: Vineyard near Terrats in Les Aspres, Roussillon.