After quite prolonged and extensive searching (there are over 8,500 hectares under vine in the appellation), in 2015 we finally discovered a Corbières producer whose wines met with our buying remit and have been shipping them regularly ever since. Based in the village of Douzens below the Montagne d'Alaric between Carcassonne and Narbonne, Jean-Pierre Py is a former co-opérateur who decided to set out on his own in 2003 producing wines as a vigneron indépendent. Today, he has 140 hectares of vines which have largely been certified as organic since 2011.
Jean-Pierre's philosophy is to produce wines in harmony with the environment with a strong respect for the local terroir of free-draining, clay and limestone soils coupled with a long ripening season that benefits from plentiful sunshine and cooling sea breezes. Making a welcome debut in this list is a cutting-edge 'Pét Nat'- or pétillant naturel in its unabbreviated form - a gently-effervescent, bottle-fermented blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Colombard that has confit lemon scents, notes of fennel and rosemary and a palate-cleansing finish. Bottled as a 'Vin de France' with a label that channels Quentin Tarantino, it is the perfect pick-me-up. Jean-Pierre also makes a relatively rare white Corbières (white wines account for just 3% of the appellation's overall output) called '3ème Cuvée'. Made from a blend of 50% Grenache Blanc, 30% (barrel-fermented) Roussanne and 20% Vermentino, it has complex coconut and stone-fruit aromas and a rich, orchard fruit palate underscored by a touch of oak with a long, dry finish. It makes for an uplifting aperitif or partner to seafood. Not to be overlooked is a more plentiful red Corbières named 'Mondière'. It is blended from 45% Grenache Noir, 35% Carignan and 20% Syrah giving a bouquet of red fruit with spicy undertones and a core of rich, dark fruit offset by supple tannins. It makes a fine partner to cassoulet or slow-cooked daubes and can support 3 to 5 years bottle age.