I have finally fallen in love, and with a southern French wine whose biggest component is Carignan – not even particularly old Carignan. This stunning young wine is just so full of life yet already has a wonderfully voluptuous texture. Dom Gauby, Les Calcinaires 2006 Côtes du Roussillon Villages Rouge positively glows in the mouth – not from alcohol which at 13.5% is not remarkably high by modern standards but with all that is going on the wine. The limestone and schist of the Agly Valley, abut which I have written ad nauseam as France’s most dynamic wine district, and the herby local character of biodynamically cultivated 50% Carignan, 20% Syrah, 20% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre vines, just 10 to 25 years old, ambient yeasts, hand picking and sorting, fermentation in simple concrete tanks, a year’s barrel ageing for less than two-thirds of the wine – all seem to have combined to hit my sweetest spot.
I am, I must admit, a longstanding Gauby fan. You can read a bit more about him and his domain here and here. But in the past I have tended to prefer his whites quite considerably over this reds. His old Muntada red was a wine you could admire but required a strong arm to lift. With the 2006 vintage that situation is reversed. Dom Gauby, Les Calcinaires 2006 Côtes du Roussillon Villages Blanc is certainly a pretty enough blend of the local Muscat and Maccabeu pale-skinned grapes, but it’s the red that seems really complex yet forward to me. I would drink it any time over the next three years or so, and can report that it lasts well in an opened bottle. Savour that length! Lose yourself in the already apparently fully formed bouquet. Yes, I like it.
You can read all the glorious technical details of how this wine was made here.
According to winesearcher.com it’s available in France, Austria and Denmark as well as from A&B Vintners in the UK, who also offer it by the case in bond. Gauby's wines are imported into the US by Weygandt-Metzler.