Country: France Region: Languedoc Appellation: Minervois La Liviniere
Varietal: Syrah /Grenache /Carignan
Vintage: 2017 Colour: Red Style: Dry
Producer: Chateau Mignan
Not actually a castle, but a long-established family winery currently run by Christian Mignard, his wife Carole and their three children in the little village of Siran, between La Livinière and Pépieux in France’s Languedoc.
Siran lies in the AOC Minervois-La Livinière, and so do just over half of the family’s 12 ha of vineyards, with the remaining 5 ha just outside in AOC Minervois. All are on the sought-after “high terrace” of Minervois, which skirts the southern foot of the Montagne Noir range.
Minervois lies in the Western Languedoc, the sunbaked heart of the Midi. It’s a large appellation with various climatic zones, but the best wines come from limestone terraces in the centre of the region, at the foot of the Montagne Noir range to the north, which is itself the southwestern end of France’s Massif Central. In 1999 this central region was granted its own appellation of Minervois-La Livinière, making it effectively a Premier Cru within Minervois.
Just a couple of kilometres east of the small village of La Livinière itself lies the even smaller village of Siran, home to Château Mignan, producers of this wine. Most of their vineyards lie within the Minervois-La Liviniére AOC, but 5 hectares fall just outside, though still on the “high terrace” that produces the best wines. These produce their entry-level red and white Minervois, both called Cuvée Pech Quisou.
This is the red, made from a blend of 73% Syrah and 27% Grenache, grown on the deep limestone and clay soils characteristic of the high terrace, with pebbly gravel on top. The top layer drains very well, keeping the grapes dry and free from rot, and forcing the vine roots deep in search of moisture. The deep clay subsoil acts as a reservoir for winter rains, allowing the vines to survive the hot dry summers.
All of the vineyards are farmed organically, and the estate’s wines have been certified organic since the 2012 vintage. The Syrah is machine-harvested, while the considerably older Grenache wines must be hand-picked since they are trained according to a different system.
Fermentation takes place in epoxy-lined cement vats at a fairly high 28°C. At this temperature it proceeds quite quickly, but the wine remains in contact with the grape skins for more than three weeks, with regular punching down of the cap of skins – a more traditional and gentler method of extraction than pumping over.
Part of the wine is aged in cement vats too, with the rest being aged in a mixture of second- and third-use oak barrels before blending and bottling. No new oak is used for this wine.Food Matches: Red Meat/ Game/ Strong Cheeses