Domaine de Majas L'Amourouse Rosé 2015
Wine: Domaine de Majas
Region: Côtes de Catalanes
Grapes: Merlot, Syrah
Price: $ 15-$17
Yesterday I listened to Kristin Tippett's latest "On Being" podcast with author Elizabeth Gilbert, which was titled "Choosing Curiosity Over Fear." That one line has been echoing in my ears since, even igniting a strong desire to have it tattooed onto my right forearm as a constant, inescapable reminder. It's a mantra to follow one's passion, heart, vision - whatever you want to call it - to let your curiosity for an idea lead the way, not the fear of failure. Alain and Agnès Carrère have done exactly that with their 30 hectare estate Domaine de Majas.
Alain comes from a winegrowing family in France's Côtes du Roussillon, the far west region of Languedoc-Roussillon that abuts the Pyrenees mountains, not far from the Spanish border. Historically the Carrères sold their wine in bulk, as was the regional custom, but cooperative fees grew prohibitive by the early 1990s and the family had to re-think the game plan in order to stay afloat. Alain started the Majas estate in 1992 with 2 hectares, but as he began to acquire and inherit vineyard land from his father, the pressure to sell off all the wine became a matter of staying in business or closing up shop. Then a major French supermarket chain offered to buy up everything Alain made, but that deal came with stringent guidelines that effectively erased any sense of place from the wines and any personal vision the Carrères might have had for themselves. Plus, they were losing money.
Then New Zealand-born Tom Lubbe, whose own domaine, Matassa, is nearby the Carrères', came into the picture and helped the Carrères take back their vision by converting all 30 hectares to organic viticulture and to focus on making wines without commercial yeasts and excessive additives. Today the Domaine de Majas wines express where they come from and what they truly are: delicious, natural gems. No more compromising. They've even taken to labeling their wines IGP Côtes Catalanes instead of AOC Côtes du Roussillon because the latter requires strict adherence to a set of winemaking rules they'd rather not follow. They're following their own curiosity and it's working.
I first tasted the Domaine de Majas rosé 2015 at Bacchanal, which was offered by the glass at the time. It was fruity and sumptuous and interesting. It quenched the thirst and invited me back for more. Naturally I bought a bottle to take home, and it was a perfect pairing with burrata over greens tossed with fresh basil and mint, and a few slices of buttery prosciutto from St. James Cheese Company. Bright summer berries and red fruits are generous on nose and palate, with balanced acidity and a long, congratulatory finish. It was a great companion for re-watching "Annie Hall". In fact, I'm dubbing this unusual yet completely approachable little merlot & syrah blended pink the imitable Diane Keaton of summer wines.