The Masochist

Posted on Mar, 08. 2012 by

Categories: Wine

The characters we come across in the travails of this vinous adventure are nearly as fundamental to what we do as their lands and the wines that they produce. Some are kind old souls, some are jokers, some are serious brick walls, and others care only for the business of it all. Each character has its place, each serves a purpose, but only the true masters of their craft produce magnificent wines yet still manage to not take it all too seriously. It’s just grape juice, after all, and we’re not long for this earth…

Enter Jean-Marie Rimbert of Domaine Rimbert in the might-be-unknown-if-not-for-him region of St. Chinian (Languedoc). I’ve been a personal fan of his for years…his basic red blend, mostly Carignan, is magical, and can often be found for under $10. The man treats Carignan like his own Pinot Noir…the artistry and love that find their way into this juice are palpable and not unlike that of the great terroir-varietal matchmakers in the Cote D’Or and Loire.

St. Chinian, a tiny appellation not terribly far from the Mediterranean, is the oldest winemaking region in the Languedoc, dating back to the days of Roman rule. Rimbert’s wines capture that classicity and old-world traditionalism so perfectly while always maintaining a liveliness, an awareness, that they exist on a separate plane of reality from much of the Languedoc. To wit: the 2009 Mas au Schiste. This is 40% Carignan, 30% Grenache and 30% Syrah, and the play on words here has to do with Jean-Marie’s propensity to dive into these abusive (schiste-heavy) terroirs headfirst:

The lightness of the wine (again, like Pinot) is tempered by a very brooding structure – one that keeps making me wonder whether drinking now is the best move, or waiting 10 years would bring out another level. Suffice it to say, I’ll be doing both. The schiste-ey minerality is draped over the fruit like a tarp-sized veil: covering everything, but never smothering it. Underneath that veil, there’s tobacco, and raisins, and cherries, and that distinct aroma of walking through a very old southern European village after a soft morning rain (seriously). Tremendous ambition goes into this bottle, along with firm tannins and an all-important punch of blunted acid that will help this stay electric for another decade. Honestly, it’s been years since a Languedoc wine has rocked my core like this, and fans of southern France (or, namely, anyone else who is into damn good red wine at a steal) should not pass this up!

Unfortunately, since being introduced to the industry, the wine’s already moving out of the warehouse at an alarming rate…but I’ve secured the last 9 cases for the Guild through the end of the week; please let us know how much you’d like as soon as possible and we’ll allocate accordingly.

2009 Domaine Rimbert, St. Chinian ‘Mas au Schiste’
Member Price: [private_member] Grand Cru: $15.76 • Premier Cru: $16.48 [/private_member]
Retail Price: $21.50
Buy Now!

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One Response to “The Masochist”

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