My love affair with Chateau Maris started last spring at a lecture in Essex where Jacques Herviou, owner of Natural Selection Wines, the sole US agent of Chateau Maris, discussed the environmentally innovative construction of this winery in southern France. Brave stuff in a land of traditional wine making techniques! Their goal was to create a winery with a small carbon footprint, yet still be a practical winery that respected and responded to what was done in the vineyards, require minimal energy to run, retain a healthy atmosphere and, of course, make excellent wine.
Their new winery was built with organic hemp straw, which actually captures the CO2 that is lurking in the winery. The bricks are light, easy to transport and make a great building material. Hemp is a great insulator as well, so no air conditioning system is needed. The temperature stays between 54 and 63 degrees Fahrenheit year round. The soil-topped roof is planted with local vegetation and the winery collects and recycles its gray water by filtering it through a natural pond system.
The wines are made with native yeasts, left unfiltered, then bottled in, and labeled with, recycled glass and paper. Three of the wines produced help fund charities with a $1.50 donation from each bottle sold going to either the Jane Goodall Institute, Rainforest Foundation, or the International Polar Foundation.
Pretty impressive stuff! I would be a fan if the wines weren’t any good. But they are!
We currently carry their Old School red (90% Syrah &10% Grenache), which I awarded the best red wine value of 2012. I have not yet tired of drinking this wine. It continually reveals new layers of flavor and nuance. It combines New World fruit forward style with Old World structure.
We’ll be getting more of their line in the days ahead including Old School rosé, La Touge and Les Planels, all unbelievably good Syrah based wines. We’ll also be carrying Continuite de Nature, a blend composed almost entirely of the little known and under appreciated Carignan grape. These wines are all biodynamic, clean and pure expressions of the fruit and the land it grew in.
And if all that wasn’t enough, Jacques Herviou has a relative living right here in Warren. Jacques greeted me like an old friend when we got together two weeks ago. He promised that on his next family visit he will conduct a wine tasting here in the store. As soon as a date is confirmed we’ll post in on our events page.
It’s all good!