J. Mourat Rose “Collection” Fiefs Vendeens 2020
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Until the 19th century, the Mourat family were winemakers and salt makers on the Île de Ré, an island off the Atlantic coast of France known for its salt ponds and picturesque beaches. For three generations, they were wine merchants in the seaside town of Sables d’Olonne. In 1974 Jean Mourat created Château Marie du Fou, their flagship winery with 237 acres of vines. His son Jéremie joined him in 1998. The pair added two properties: Clos Saint-André in 2006 and Moulin Blanc in 2011. In the last ten years, Jéremie has converted or is in the process of converting all of the agriculture to organics.
The Fiefs Vendéens is a relatively new AOC despite its long history of viticulture. As with most wine producing regions in Europe, it experienced a reversal of fortunes with the scourge of Phylloxera in the late 1800s. It bounced back somewhat in the 1950s and in 1963 under the designation Anciens Fiefs du Cardinal (named after Cardinal Richelieu, an early patron). In 1984 it achieved VDQS status as Fiefs Vendéens and slowly made the journey back to quality wine status receiving its AOC designation in 2011.
It is the southwestern-most Loire Valley wine appellation—located about an hour south of Nantes approximately 12 miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean. Its location next to the Atlantic Ocean results in an extremely sunny (2,300 hours of annual sunlight vs. 2,860 in Provence) maritime climate; its vineyards bathed by gentle ocean breezes. Eighteen wineries in the 1,000-acre appellation are spread out over five terroirs with discrete terrains and volcanic and schist soils. Historically, the vineyards of the region have been planted with grapes varieties from both the Loire and Southwest France. Organic practices are on the rise with 40% of the wineries (J. Mourat among them) practicing organic viticulture. Rosés account for 45% of the wines in the region while 38% are red and 17% are white.
Jéremie's Mourat Collection 2020 Rose is made from Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Negrette and Gamay and is pretty irresistible with nice acidity, and flavors of cherries, raspberries and strawberries—super quaffable and very fun! Now that fresh strawberries are coming into season, this would be wonderful with a bright salad with arugula, strawberries and crumbles of goat cheese.