Domaine des 2 Anes Corbières "Fontanilles" 2019

$21.99

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Alcohol: 14,5%

Grape(s): Carignan, Grenache Noir, Syrah 

Localization: Corbières, Languedoc-Roussillon, France

Tasting Notes: A deep ruby in the glass with a light purple rim. The nose offers up pretty scents of crushed plums, Bing Cherry & a dusting of mineral-infused spice. The palate delivers many of the same fruits found on the nose with an added note of sweet herbs and bitter chocolate. Drinking beautifully upon release.

Notes: The vines are hand-harvested & destemmed before they are pressed. A pigeage occurs & fermentation lasts two or three weeks. Only natural yeasts are used, and the wine is fermented and aged in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. The wine is bottled without fining or filtration.

Food pairing: Grilled chicken dishes, pork loin, grilled beef & lamb chops.

The Domain: Magali is originally from Beaujolais and worked in diverse wine regions around France before starting her own endeavor in the Languedoc

“Deux anes” means “two donkeys”, after the real animals that live among the vines and help to prune and naturally fertilize them. (Now there’s actually three: Riquita, Pinocchio, and their mum Lolita).

The vineyard overlooks the Mediterranean sea and hence enjoys the perfect ratio of sun, fresh marine air, and benefactor wind. The plot was a love-at-first-sight for Magali, and a great discovery, with up to 75-year-old vines in healthy condition.

One of the many beautiful features of the natural wine world is its ability to recognize quality terroir beyond the traditionally established hierarchy, giving even the former underdogs a fair chance to shine. Take Languedoc, for example: usually perceived as that vast area in Southern France producing hectolitres of interchangeable wines (which, to be completely honest, it still conventionally does), this corner of the Mediterranean actually offers many spots where the combination of well-drained, rocky erosion soils and temperate sunny climate allow for unique concentrated wines. 

Magali Terrier’s Domaine des Deux Anes in Peyriac-de-Mer—a small commune in the coastal part of AOC Corbieres, roughly halfway between the city of Montpellier and the Spanish border—is one such “diamond in the rough”. Directly overlooking the Mediterranean sea, surrounded by the typical garrigues (shrubs of aromatic herbs and plants found throughout the region whose aromas are often mirrored in the wine), this land enjoys ample sun exposure, little rainfall, and the moderate maritime influence, which naturally balance the wines between power and freshness. Most importantly, there’s a steady supply of wind (the dry tramontane coming from the inland) that constantly blows through the vines and grapes, drying them out and keeping them healthy. Sounds like the perfect spot for respectful, chemical-free viticulture, right?

Very much so; this is exactly why Magali decided to settle here in 2000 after having previously worked for different estates in her native Beaujolais, Jura, or Macon. “I have always had this immense passion for wines made in harmony with nature, from healthy grapes, and Languedoc seemed like the perfect spot to express this,” recalls la vigneronne. The spot was love at first sight: a breathtaking view of the Mediterranean, with a vibe of freedom and wilderness, and most of all vines that are in great shape, including some old Carignan plantation (now up to 75 years of age) with perfect sun and sea exposure. 

Magali and her team of three amplify this natural bliss by organic and biodynamic methods (the estate is both Demeter- and Ecocert–certified) and careful vineyard management, aimed at very low yields, sometimes as little as 15 hectoliters per hectare. (To put this into context, the Corbieres AOC permits 48 hl/ha, and the wines produced under the “Vin de pays d’Oc” category can go as high as 90hl/ha.) She has some unusual helpers in these pruning efforts: the donkeys, who, besides giving a name and label to her estate (there’s actually three of them now), also nibble away some shoots of the vines they live among, providing both pre-pruning and fertilizer along the way.

“The Southern grapes we work with here, be it Mourvedre, Carignan or Syrah, really benefit from being tamed. Only then do they yield wines that have both generosity and body but also freshness, precision, and mainly a succulent and joyful fruit character that makes it irresistible to drink and share,” Magali explains: “It’s all about simplicity and convivialité, in the end. We live surrounded by beautiful nature, which brings us immense joy every day, and our wines are our medium to share this emotion and joy with other people.”