Amethyste is one of my favorite wines, a tribute to old vine Cinsault by extraordinary vigneronne Dominique Hauvette. There, in her biodynamically farmed domaine, she shows how beautiful this grape can be... For me this is the closest wine in France to Emmanuel Reynaud's wines (Rayas, Pignan, Fonsalette, Tours), these Grenache tasting like Grands Crus Burgundy by the Mediterranean. But here you are, with her old Cinsault grown on limestone. Dominique reaches this level of harmony and balance! To go along the delicacy of that grape, she uses a little bit of Carignan for the tension, and a touch of Grenache, from the older vines she has. The result is a pure gem of bottle, in every vintage, with a consistency of quality remarkable since the late 00s. All the grapes are destemmed and the wine is aged in cement eggs. Unfortunately, as the old vines Cinsault are giving less and less, the cuvée will evole slowly towards less of this magical backbone. You still had some in 2015 and 2016!
2016 was a drier vintage than 2015, but the limestone and clay terroir of the cooler part of Les Baux where Dominique Hauvette is located preserved the freshness. It is also a vintage where you understand why Cinsault is such an interesting grape, with its delicacy : it is perfectly suited for the climate of the area! As usual, the nose has this beautiful balance between the crushed wild strawberry, the darjeeling tea and asian spices. It is really open now. On the palate, it is Burgundy meets the Mediterranean, with delicate, slightly sweet attack, picking up some tension in the mid-palate to finish with evanescent, chalky tannins. It is a bit more structured than the 2015, playing more the dark spices. A decade in you cellar would not be a problem, but if you want to enjoy it today, decant it gently for an hour or so, and pair it with a roasted bird glazed with Okinawa sugar and Marocan spices, some smoked duck carnitas or a hen of the woods farotto. 60% Cinsault, 30% Carignan, 10% Grenache. Pascaline Lepeltier.
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