Corbières is the largest and one of the more complex appéllations in the Languedoc with over 13,000 hectares under vine extending from the Montagne Noir to the Mediterranean. Happily, qualitative improvements have been enormous in the 21st century with many wine-makers realising the benefits of investing in their vineyards, infrastructure and colleagues. Jean-Pierre Py left the confines of the local cave co-opérative in 2003 to establish Domaine Py as a standalone entity. One of his first decisions was to convert all of his 130 hectares of vines to organic viticulture producing wines of atypical character and finesse.
Located in Douzens – in the heart of Cathar country below the Montagne d'Alaric – Domaine Py benefits from a long ripening season and free-draining clay and limestone soils. Its red 'Cuvée Mondière' is made from a blend of 45% Carignan, 35% Syrah and 20% Grenache Noir that are hand-harvested and vinified separately in vat and barrel prior to blending and bottling. The finished wine has a deep purple robe, an inviting garrigue berry bouquet and sensuous palate of stewed plums and damsons supported by elegant tannins. It drinks well from release and makes a fine partner to stews or cassoulet.
We were delighted to discover that Jean-Pierre also makes some white Corbières: a relative rarity in these parts accounting for just 2% of production. His '3ème Cuvée' is made from a blend of 60% Grenache Blanc, 30% Roussanne and 10% Vermentino that are fermented on their lees to impart as mush flavour as possible. With a deep straw colour, wild herb and dried fruit scents and an expressive stone fruit and mineral palate, it doesn't demand food accompaniment but pairs well with seafood and substantial salads.