By Kay Pfaltz
The vineyard of Montirius deserves more than the few paragraphs I write here, but perhaps these scant words will be enough to peak your interest and you can, with Montirius wine, begin your own love affair.
Montirius sits a little north of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and southeast of Orange in the southern Rhône Valley. The warm, sensual, heady reds of the southern Rhône are easy to fall for, but Montirius is perhaps the benchmark by which all are, or should be, measured. Christine and Eric Saurel of Montirius are fifth generation vintners and they farm 100 % biodynamically, with many of their current vineyards dating back to 1925.
Biodynamics, the oldest organic agriculture movement dating from 1924, began when Rudolph Steiner linked poor quality food with poor health. Central European farmers felt that the industrialization of agriculture had rendered “their soils less healthy, their seeds less fertile, their crops less nourishing and their own health less certain.” (Monty Waldin) In short, bad farming had produced bad food. Biodynamy takes food back to its natural state and involves various practices such as planting with the phases of the moon. Yet when I look around to the vast majority of food, health food stores and farmers’ markets notwithstanding, it seems that bad farming is continuing to win. What we can do besides educating ourselves, is to buy organic food and wine and buy locally.
Montirius, Vacqueyras, “Le Clos” 2006 – It’s not hard for me to sing the praises of Vacqueyras. Those who know me know this is the wine I call “my heart wine.” Not as in good for the heart (although it is) which is an adequate enough reason to drink wine, if not ideal. But as in a wine I hold close to my heart. I can’t remember when or why my love for Vacqueyras began, but I do know it’s endured. The cuvée “Le Clos” is intense. An equal blend of Grenache and Syrah, it is dark, rich and complex. A wine for serious food and special occasions. You can drink it now or hold it for another five or ten years. $31.99
Montirius, Vacqueyras, “Garrigue” – The cuvée Garrigue is named for the soil on which its grown…that scruffy land of wild, windswept herbs, inhospitable to growing much save olive tress and vines, yet for some of us, as breathtakingly beautiful and as it is untamed. The average age of these vines (70% Grenache and 30% Syrah) is 55 years. The wine is aged without oak so you can taste the pure essence of the grapes. Rich and deeply-scented, with spice and finesse. $28.99
Montirius, Gigondas,Terre des Aînes – The weightiest of the gang, perhaps due to the addition of 20% Mourvèdre (the rest Grenache). The Gigondas is spicy, dense, peppery, with hints of coffee and anise, and again aged without oak.
No Portion may be copied or used in any other work.