Dear Friends of Good Wines at Fair Prices,
I had the occasion recently to taste a fascinating white wine from a region in the south of France known more for red than white wines: Maury. I usually ask where a wine comes from before tasting so that I have a useful context. If I like what I taste I go about gathering information. I loved what I tasted so I inquired further.
The beautiful label says “Bande de Gypse” which refers to a band of gypsum that runs through the soil in which the grapes are grown. The proprietor of the estate is Manuel Jorel, who has been farming his 15 acres bio-dynamically for a decade. He makes three reds and this one white wine. The wine is made from a field blend of seven local grapes. I will not bore you with their names. This is a hand-crafted labor-of-love wine, the likes of which you will not often encounter.
White wines from very warm regions are often high in alcohol, a bit flabby, and fail to hold one’s interest for very long. But not this amazing 12% alcohol beauty! The aroma and flavors are complex with nuances of jasmine, honey, lime and orange rind. But the most extraordinary aspect of the Bande de Gypse is its texture. The wine literally coats your palate, sinking into every taste bud and
persisting in a way one usually only finds in very expensive white wines. As an experienced taster, I increasingly find the texture--or as it is sometimes called, 'mouth-feel'--to be every bit as important
as the actual flavors of a wine. It is the third dimension of the tasting experience and can make the difference between an enjoyable and a memorable vinous experience. A wine cannot have a commanding texture unless it is made from grapes grown in soil of distinctive character. Mr. Jorel has done a wonderful job of letting the gypsum speak in a way that makes you want to listen intently, as it were. I must have tasted the wine seven or eight times, drawn back to it for
confirmation of the first experiences.
This is a wine you can easily drink all by itself. In thinking about food pairings, fish dishes with lots of flavor come immediately to mind: bouillabaisse, cioppino, paella with shellfish, anything with
saffron. Even curries--which can be murder on wine.
The price is almost amusing given the quality--as you will see. Yes, buy a case. You will want to experience Mr. Jorel’s exciting wine often.
Domaine Jorel Bande de Gypse 2011