A Biodynamic Southern French Red To Try

Lipsmacking, versatile, pure… there’s everything to like about this biodynamic southern French red, says MARY DOWEY

Domaine des 2 Ânes Corbières Premiers Pas 2016

Corbières used to be known for rustic, rough-at-the-edges red wines. These days it’s one of the most promising regions of the Languedoc. The cleverest winemakers have found ways to tame tough tannins into silky elegance while persuading pure fruit flavours to take precedence over whiffy animal notes. Magali Roux-Terrier who makes this succulent red is one of them.

A native of Beaujolais, she was impressed enough by the potential of Corbières to move south in 2000, soon setting up her Estate of the 2 Donkeys with a fine new purpose-built cellar. When I dropped in to taste her wines two years ago while researching an article for Decanter magazine she had three donkeys and 40 sheep providing natural fertiliser.

Heaven knows what the animal count is now but one thing is certain. Magali has been committed to an organic approach from the start. ‘If you stop using weedkillers for two years the acidity in your wines will increase,’ she said. This helps to explain the juicy character of her own bottlings which have been fully biodynamic since 2010. Sea breezes help to seal in freshness too.

Made mainly from the Carignan grape with a small dash of Grenache fermented with wild yeasts, this Premiers Pas sits at the elegant, quaffable end of the Corbières spectrum.  With inviting aromas of autumn berries and a hint of liquorice, it’s the kind of red that should go with 90 per cent of the dishes you’re likely to cook up over the next few months. A built-in bonus is that it feels neither tiresomely heavy nor too alcoholic. Just tasty.

Alcohol: 13%

From Terroirs Donnybrook and www.terroirs.ie, €16.95.


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