2019 La Croix Saint Jean, Lo Mainatge Minervois, Languedoc, France (750ml)

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La Croix St. Jean was established in 2004 by Michel Fabre, a grape grower and the winemaker at Villa Baulieu. Today, three generations of the family, including his father Robert and his son Alexis, participate in running the business. The Fabre family selected parcels on the slopes of the Black Mountain at different altitudes ranging from 80-300 meters in elevation to plant their vineyards. This north-east corner of the Minervois AOP, known as Les Causses, is slightly cooler, which encourages freshness and aromatics in the wines. The domaine is sustainably farmed and has a total of eighteen hectares planted with Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre.

A blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah, Lo Mainatge means ‘the child’ in Occitan and refers to the three generations involved in the domaine (they also produce a wine named Lo Paire, ‘the father’). The grapes were hand-picked. Both varietals were fermented in cement and stainless-steel tanks to retain the primary fruit characteristics. Maceration and fermentation took between 20 and 25 days, with two punch downs per day. The resulting wines were carefully blended, then aged in stainless-steel before bottling.

Dark garnet robe. Complex aromatics of dark fruit and violet mingled with meaty notes. The palate is bursting with brambly blackberry fruit and cassis, with hints of mint, garrigue and cured black olive. This wine shows great structure and balance, with a lovely fruit profile that persists on the finish.

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