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Chateau Montus, Pacherenc Sec Madiran 2011
Petit Courbu 85%, Petit Manseng 15%
Alain Brumont & Fabrice Dubosc
A fruity, long-lasting, rich and well-balanced white wine with an attractive yellow colour and a medium-weight, highly complex bouquet of pineapple and mango with a little apple, quince and apricot. It is dry on the palate with an appealing acidity; soft, full-bodied and harmonious, with stone fruit and citrus aromas alongside exotic fruit, complemented by vegetal attributes and roasted notes of toast. The finish is of medium length.
The white Chateau Montus Pacherenc Sec is made from 85% Petit Courbu and15% Petit Manseng and barrel fermented in demi-muids.
Alain Brumont is a force to be reckoned with. This is evident from the moment he begins to speak; from his commanding tone to his broad Southwestern French accent. He has worked tirelessly through out his career to bring the wines of a little known vineyard to the world stage. His estate, Chateau Montus, is better known in many wine circles than Madiran, the appellation from which it hails.
Brumont left school at the tender age of 16 years-old and laboured in his fathers’ vines for a number of years before taking out a loan, on his own, to purchase Chateau Montus. Today, he crafts wines not only from his four properties in Madiran, but also from his negociant activities in the Cotes de Gascogne. Brumont believes strongly in sustainable agriculture, though he doesn’t feel the need to seek out certification. His flock of sheep fill the vineyards in winter and nearby pastures in summer, providing an abundant source of natural manure. ‘We use no other form of fertilizers in our vineyards’ states Brumont with pride.
The climate in Madiran, Mediterranean with Atlantic influences, is ideal for grape growing, providing mild springs, optimal sunshine and tempering, cool breezes. With such optimal weather conditions, Brumont asserts that it is a relatively easy thing to limit vineyard treatments and work with minimally invasive products. The same low interventionist methods are employed in the cellars. ‘Our wines are never acidified or chaptalised’ says Brumont. In fact, he is working towards a zero entrants policy for his wines. Stringent cellar hygiene is a major part of this. ‘Our equipement (pumps, hoses, etc.) are washed with 300c vapour before each use and inerted with nitrogen gas’. Lowering bacterial and oxidative risks allows sulphur levels to be sharply reduced. These practices in vineyard and cellar all stem from one overriding goal: to create the best quality wines possible, that reflect the best of their terroir and their grape.
The star variety of Madiran, Tannat, is often derided as yielding rustic, overly tannic reds. With his many years of experience, Brumont has learned how to harness this powerful nature, creating full-bodied, long-lived yet suave wines that delight critics world-wide. ‘I only use the free-run juice for my reds’ he explains. ‘The muscular tannins come from the pressed grapes”. Brumont’s ‘trash’ is another man’s treasure, as the dark, tannic press juice commands a good price on the negociant market, to beef up blends from other regions where the dominant grapes are lighter in body and structure. The desire to craft wines that, while still powerful, are approachable in their youth, stems from Brumont’s love of food and wine pairing. Every day, at Chateau Bouscasse, Alain and his team dine together at mid-day, often inviting visiting guests to join them. So great is his interest in all things gastronomic that Alain is currently investing in a project to raise Noir de Bigorre pigs famous in the region for their fine hams. – Jacky Blisson