Chateau de Brau (Languedoc, Villemoustaussou)
AOP Cabardes, IGP Vin des France
I was at first attracted to the wines of Chateau de Brau when I stumbled onto their website earlier in the year. Proprietor Gabriel Tari is pictured front and center with the caption "No, No, and No again!"prominently displayed. What follows is something of a diatribe on what working naturally means to him. "There are no prestigious ruins", "not every vintage is exceptional", and "organic farming isn't just a matter of doing nothing while the weeds grow."
Say it some more, brother!
I liked Gabriel and his wife Wenny before we even met. Then when we did finally meet, the like turned to admire, and since then the admire has turned to adore. I adore what the Tari' are doing in their little corner of the south of France. Carcassonne is only 30 minutes away, the Pyrenées and the Montagne Noir loom in the distance. Their home is equidistant from the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. In fact, their appellation, Cabardès (KAH-bahr-dez), lies on almost a continental divide, or fall line between the seas. Neat stuff, and more on that in the future.
Living here would not be a burden.
When I arrived for a visit in April Gabriel greeted me on the forklift, he was in the middle of bottling. He looked at me as if to say, "see, winemaking isn't all so romantic, eh?" Then Wenny found me and suggested he would put me to work if we didn't hightail it to the tasting room. I kind of actually wanted to help but once looking around at how clean the place was,viewing the garden-like vineyards, and sensing something special in the air, I wanted to try some wine.
There's a large range of wines here, yet I would call this a small winery. I was most excited by a lineup called Pure, and I could tell from Wenny that she and Gabriel favored these too. Typically in Cabardès it is required to blend a combination of Atlantic grapes (Franc, Sauvignon, Merlot) with Mediterranean (Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, and others). And at Brau they have them all, nearly 20 different grape varieties all told! But, each year Gabriel separates a handful of plots to bottle single grape varieties in this Pure range. I think I tasted 10 altogether, each no more than a few thousand bottles produced! This is exactly the kind of stuff we're looking for...