Domaine Cazes Ego Cotes du Roussillon Villages 2017  £18.95

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Domaine Cazes is situated in Rivesaltes in the Roussillon. With 220 hectares of vines planted, Domaine Cazes is the largest certified organic and biodynamic estate in France. It was founded in 1895 by Michel Cazes and the wines are made by the fourth generation of winemakers, headed up by Emmanuel Cazes. The family makes a range of interesting dry wines alongside the regional specialities, Vin Doux Naturels. They took the decision to move to organic and biodynamic viticulture in 1997. Based on their view that the natural environment needs natural preparation, they plough the soils and use only natural ingredients as treatments, arranging their work according to the lunar calendar.

Domaine Cazes is set in the sunniest French region. Since the family started farming biodynamically, they have found that the vineyards are healthier and the vines are stronger, with longer roots. Vines grow on clay and limestone soils, covered by 'galets roulés' (the 'pudding stones' also found in Châteauneuf-du-Pape). The low yielding vines are about 30 years old, and produce 30 hectolitres per hectare.

2017 was a very early vintage thanks to the good water reserves in the soil and the mild temperature from February. The warmer temperatures in July and August aided the vegetative cycle. The grapes were picked early, when the optimal sugar and acidity levels had been obtained.

The three varieties were 100% destemmed before being vinified separately in stainless steel vats using only naturally occurring yeasts. Fermentation was temperature controlled at 28°C with the cap being circulated using pump-overs and manual punching down twice a day for the best phenolic extraction. The wine was then macerated for four weeks prior to pressing, after which it underwent malolactic fermentation.

The palate is bright with ripe red and black fruit aromas with liquorice notes and hints of white pepper from the Syrah. This wine has a remarkable balance with fresh acidity, silky tannins and a long, peppery finish.

Organic Biodynamic

 (90 - 92)

 2018 - 2023

 Joe Czerwinski

 The Wine Advocate

For the less than $20 I expect to see this priced on shelves, this is a terrific bargain. The 2017 Ego (still aging in tank) is a blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Syrah and 20% Mourvèdre that combines notes of blueberries, raspberries and cracked pepper in a full-bodied, velvety format. It's a winter-weight wine that sells for the price of a summer quaffer.


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