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12 April 2010

Languedoc: Domaine Maria Fita, Fitou

Marie and Jean-Michel Schmitt describe themselves as a couple of "vieux bab's" (old hippies, I guess, especially as I've met them once), who landed in this savage neck of the woods to make "different wines..." in "higher" Fitou country (paraphrased from their website). Restaurant owners in a former life, their love of good wine led them to buying a dozen ha of vines (30 acres) and finally fulfilling their obsession in 2000 by putting their name on the bottle. The idea is not to make "standardised" wines at Maria Fita: no "carefully marketed" range here! I tasted the ones below, which are indeed a bit different verging on the wild side even, at the enigmatically named "Salon du X" - it's not that much of a mystery, actually, a tasting organised by their agent Xavier Peyrot des Gachons with a dozen Languedoc & Roussillon winegrowers present (there were originally 10 in his "gang", I think) hence the X - in April 2010 at Domaine Gayda's impressive winery & restaurant complex, found between Limoux and Castelnaudary. A visit "sur place" is definitely called for...

2009 Fitou red - reduced on the nose (a tank sample though), moving on to lively "inky" cassis and berry on the palate; tight finish with dark spicy fruit, could be good. 85+
2007 Le Schmitou red vin de pays - quite rustic with meaty leather notes; fairly rich "sweet/savoury" palate vs a tad reduced and bretty? Nice depth though with very firm and meaty finish, not sure!
2004 Fitou - again has that meaty maturing fruit with liquorice and leather edges vs dry grainy mouth-feel; attractive smoky depth of fruit though, still very firm / extracted but good in an old-fashioned way. 85+
2001 Fitou - lovely dried vs meaty fruit, mature with a touch of oak grain; delicious lush vs dry palate, leather vs sweet fruit plus a bit of oomph and grip too. Again old-fashioned, "natural" style but good with it. 87-89
2007 Le Schmitou white - nutty oxidised and toasty nose; very rounded yet still has fresh bite too, interesting. 87

12 Avenue du Pont-Neuf, 11360 Villeneuve-les-Corbières. Tel: 04 68 45 81 21, mariafita.com.

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