Mathieu Coste Coteaux du Giennois 2007
Wine: Mathieu Coste 'Biau!'
Region: Coteaux du Giennois, Loire Valley
Grapes: Gamay, Pinot Noir
I picked up a bottle of this last summer on a quick trip to Birmingham, Ala. That bottle came from Western Supermarket, but sadly it was corked. I held onto it for a couple of months, thinking I'd be back down to return the bottle, but ended up dumping it. So when I saw it again the other day at Bin 428 on Magazine Street in Nola, I thought I'd try it again. The young gentleman there explained the wine's natural disposition - very natural - and when I shared that a previous bottle had been corked, he explained that it's a funky wine, subject to brett (more on that later this week) and that a lot of people mistake brett for cork. I appreciated his confidence, but I'm more relieved to learn my ability to recognize cork is still strong. This bottle was nothing like the one I poured down the drain.
Coincidentally, I was texting with Jason at The Carriage this morning while he was tasting with a rep from Integrity Wines, the natural wine focused importer who brings this producer into the states. Evidently, their wines are no longer - or not for the moment - in Louisiana, so what I got might be the last of it, for a little while anyway. The bottle was on sale and I thought the 2007 must be an old vintage, but Jason relayed that indeed the 2007 and 2008 are current vintages and that Mathieu holds back his wine a few years before releasing.
Talk about an off the beaten path appellation, according to Integrity Wines, a mere 17% of Coteaux du Giennois production is exported, compared to 53% of Sancerre's production, the appellation's nearest neighbor. Coteaux du Giennois produces primarily sauvignon blancs, like Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé but also some red and rosé from pinot noir and gamay. Mathieu adheres to strict biodynamic practices; his philosophy is to nurture the soil so the soil may feed the vines. In more modern, mechanized vineyards, it's common to feed the plant directly, which ups yields and, debatably, drops quality.
The Mathieu Coste 'Biau' Coteaux du Giennois 2007 is an 80/20 gamay/pinot noir blend with deep cherry aromas and tertiary notes of mushroom and dry leaves, like hints of fall. It was definitely funky upon first opening, barnyard and earthy and wild, kinda like the Hervé Villemade Cheverny Rouge. It was beautifully balanced with good acidity, soft tannins, a respectable 12.5% alcohol, and a long finish. My how I love an old school, direct from the earth Frenchie. And so lovely with a stinky blue Camembert with a touch of ash.