Fermented Grape

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Trois Terres Cuvée Moderne 2012, Languedoc, France

Drunk July 2015

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The winery

Trois Terres came about after London doctor, Graeme Angus gave up city life in 2000 aged 33, to go to Australia to learn winemaking and viticulture, and eventually settling in Octon in the French Languedoc, where he created the domaine in 2004, with his wife Alice.

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Trois Terres first developed on a very small scale, growing little by little to reach its current and probably definitive size of just under 4 hectares. So still a very small operation.

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Octon, with its red “ruffes” and basalt, is situated between the schist soils of Faugères and Cabrières in SW France west of Montpellier, and the limestone and chalk soils of the Larzac and its slopes. The winery is central in Octon, with the vineyards principally in Cabrières and Saint Jean de la Blaquière. The winery has been organic since the beginning, but only began the official certification process in 2009 with bottles having the organic logo (“Agriculture Biologique”) from 2012 onwards should they wish.

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All but one of the current vineyards are AOC and Organic cultivation methods allow for a balanced mix of plant, insect and animal life (unlike the bare earth monoculture of traditional chemical viticulture still found in so much of the Languedoc).  Graeme and Alice accept slightly lower yields for a minimal impact on the environment.

After the grapes have fermented and macerated they are gently pressed in a traditional vertical wooden caged hydraulic press. The wines are then aged in 2-to-4 year-old French oak barrels, for 8 to 16 months, depending on the wine.

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The wine

Cuvee Moderne 2012: contained 80% Syrah, 20% Grenache grapes. 1 week skin contact, 12 months' barrel ageing.Very cold February, warm end of spring and good August rains. To drink now or over the next 5 years.

The Trois Terres Cuvée Moderne 2012 was indeed powerful stuff with a big intensity of blackcurrant and plum fruit. As much as like the organic principles of the winery and Graeme's story is fantastic, the wine lacked a little finesse and the palate felt a little overpowered by fruit and even alcohol which may be a result of excessive ripening perhaps due to very hot weather. Pleasant to drink but only with food (meat or cheese) as in isolation the power of the wine was daunting. I shall continue my exploration of wines from the Languedoc-Roussillon region of SW France.