Tannat wines from St. Mont in southwest France are traditionally full-bodied and rich in tannins. Appellation laws mandate that Tannat be blended to make them more approachable, and the permitted grapes are Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and a lesser known varietal called Pinenc. Les Vignes Retrouvées includes all four grapes but is 70% Tannat and 15% Pinenc. The wine has a full nose of smoked meat, mushroom, black fruit, menthol forest floor and spicy notes. On the palate the wine is powerful and jam-packed with flavors of dark fruits, black olives and dusty earth.
Black fruit, baked plum, raspberry, black tea, violets and mushroom.
The vineyards of St. Mont began in the 4th century BC when the first plants were imported by the Greeks. As such, the St. Mont vineyards are some of the oldest in France. Remarkably, the wines from St. Mont were prized by the Romans and exported to the Britain as early as the 14th century. The Plaimont cooperative includes over 1,000 growers who pool their resources to produce outstanding wines. The producers have pioneered and guaranteed the revival of the Tannat and Pinenc varieties, which had almost disappeared, and the name Les Vignes Retrouvées, which means “The Rediscovered Vines,” celebrates their success.
This is the most feminine expression of a Tannat that I have ever had. Still rich, yet wonderfully expressive, the St. Mont is a true native of southwest France. At this time of the year, I want something warm and comforting that will feed the few or the masses, and this red wine will stand up to a rich yet exhilarating food pairing. I think my Forever Roasted Pork is up to the challenge for this Gascony beauty—the braising with spices and orange deliver in a big way. Serve alongside a green salad and a good crusty loaf of bread.
Early French kings were known to accept Tannat wines from St. Mont in lieu of taxes. Perhaps the kings were onto something: today the wines are known to have the highest levels of healthy procyanidins than any red wine. Cheers to your health!
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