Domaine Anne Gros & Jean-Paul Tollot “Les Carretals” Minervois 2008

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Why does wine matter to us? Why is it exciting? There are many “delicious” wines in the world, but how many of them reignite the passion us geeks rely on with every sip?

Don Melchor is a delicious wine. In fact, after purchasing it at a very good price I rediscovered that Chile can, in fact, make very tasty Cabernet Sauvignon. It was elegant, structured for ageing but immediately delicious and good with food. Nonetheless, it left me feeling uninspired. Why is that?

Enter Domaine Anne Gros & Jean-Paul Tollot. There is something in the sous vide quality of great wines from the south of France that, for me, re-engages the drive and excitement I felt when I was first getting into wine. It’s not just the fact that these wines can be so compellingly delicious while also being elegant and ferral. There is something of the enigma of wine that the best of these creations never loses sight of – and it is this faithful adherence to the inexplicability of the grape that matters. The greatest, most compelling wines in the world somehow allow the base biology of the vine speak for itself. This is not just a question of terroir. Rather, it is a question of letting the most genetically complex fruit in the world, combined with the amazing chemistry of yeasts, show its full complexity (both expected and unexpected). The wines that matter are those that are true to the biological complexity of the grape and the environment in which it lives – they understand that the natural bonds are in many ways more profound than our manipulations (having had many 1000’s of years experience more than us) and somehow understand how to coax their expression into a form us humans can understand. That’s what is so profound about the weird discovery of fermented grapes. And that is what keeps us coming back again and again.

Burgundy in Minervois

Anne Gros and Jean-Paul Tollot are Burgundy producers with a considerable amount of respect in the Cote d’Or. I am a huge fan of Anne Gros’ red Burgundies. I am also a huge fan of the Languedoc Roussillon. Combine the two and you have an immediate buy for me.

This wine is made from 100% 100 year old Carignan vines grown on a single ha of chalky soils in Minervois. This is barrique aged with 1/3 new wood. Anne Gros makes a more elegant style of Minervois that is yet true to the terroir and the more garrigue laden style of wine from the south of France. However, Gros transcends the majority of wines being made in the Langeudoc-Roussillion and, having tasted a very large number of these wines, I’d put the Gros amongst the very best.

The Essence of Southern France

Why the Gros Minervois and not Don Melchor? Well, for the most-part it is the wild truth of flavour that a wine like Les Carretals manages to coax out of its grapes. The minerals, gravel, blackberry and underbrush that smells like an authentic whiff of southern French air. This wine is purity, elegance, balance and highly expressive aromatics spiralled around a core of faithfulness that has become all too uncommon in the modern world of wine. A real standout and very highly recommended.

$65 at North Berkeley Wine Merchants


  1. Domaine Anne Gros – Jean Paul Tollot La Ciaude Minervois 2008 | Just Grapes - […] Berkeley Wine Merchants. I was so excited with their top 100% Carignan wine Les Carretals that I gave it…

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