Delicious Middle-Road Sweet Wine

Today’s Story: Coume del Mas

Coume del Mas was established in 2001 by Philippe and Nathalie Gard and today encompasses roughly 15 hectares of vines on the steep slopes of Banyuls sur Mer. Though the Gards work an incredibly challenging terroir, they work almost entirely by hand and in close contact with their vines to glean an understanding of the varying soil and nuances it can impart into wine. Coume del Mas cannot reach their vines by tractor and a majority cannot be reached by plough horse, while both the rocky soil and extreme climate keep yields low (around 20 hl/Ha). Coume del Mas produces wines in two categories: Banyuls which are sweet wines fortified during fermentation, and dry wines namely with Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Carignan. Banyuls is one of the older appellations dating to 1936, whereas the appellations that source Coume del Mas dry wines date to 1971 for the reds and 2002 for the whites.

Today’s Wine: 2015 Quintessence Banyuls

100% Grenache Noir; 16.5% ABV

The 2015 Quintessence is moderately opaque and pale to medium purple in color. On the nose, this Banyuls showcases aromas of muddled strawberry, prunes, baked plum, black licorice, damp earth, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and a touch of oak. Once in the mouth, I get notes of stewed black raspberry, candied strawberry, cranberry sauce, jammy blackberry, dates, fig, saturated soil, chocolate, and purple florals. This wine is full-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium (+) tannins, and a long finish dominated by inky black fruit. 250 cases produced.

Price: $50. This is what I paid for a 500ml bottle, though I am certain this is cheaper overseas if you can find it. This is a delicious sweet wine that is neither too sweet nor too syrupy to enjoy after a decadent meal, and an easy one to have multiple glasses of which can be difficult with something else like Port. Pair this with chocolate, raspberry tart, or mixed berries.

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