Badens is a sleepy Minervois village situated in the Minervois, in a vast amphitheatre lined by the Canal du Midi to the South and the Montagne Noire to the North, stretching from Carcassonne to Narbonne. It is here that little else except the vine and olive trees struggle to grow in the intense heat of the Southern sun, and the loudest sound is the gentle buzz of the bees in the summer.
Pierre Cros, a passionate ex-rugby player is, is a self-taught viticulteur/vigneron, who regularly achieves marks in the high 90s in Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, as well as receiving frequent accolades in the French press. It is here that he cultivates a 20 hectare vineyard with the classic Southern grape varieties of Grenache, Carignan and Syrah, and his Carignan vines date back to 1905!
However, he is something of a maverick and a thorn in the side of the AOC authorities, as most unusually, he grows the non-permitted grape varieties of Nebiolo (Italy), Touriga Nacional (Portugal) and Pinot Noir (Burgundy). The label (opposite) of his Touriga Nacional, which by law can only be labelled as a Vin de Table without mentioning the all important grape variety encapsulates his philosophy! We revisited him in April this year, and discovered that many of his 2010s had already sold out on his reputation alone. Last year we shipped three of his wines, which sold out almost overnight, and so we have shipped six different wines, to give you the chance to discover some more of his amazing wines……..
Domaine Pierre Cros Rosé 2010
This is different to the previous year’s rosé from Pierre, and is a full appellation wine, made this time from predominantly Cinsault with the judicious addition of a little Syrah and Mourvèdre. It has a delicate, very pale rosé colour very much in the Provence style. There is a beguiling nose of summer fruits, while on the palate the same flavours abound with lovely concentration and intensity, and a crisp finish. Delicious!
Pierre Cros Les Costes 2010
This fabulous white is made from a carefully select mix of five grape varieties – Vermentino, Grenache Blanc, Picpoul, Muscat and Grenache Gris. It has an enticing floral nose with good concentration, stone fruit flavours and an underlying minerality, which finishes with a hint of lemon zest.
Domaine Cros Minervois Tradition 2010
This is made from old Carignan, Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault. It is very deep in colour, with a nose bursting of crushed black fruits and violets. On the palate it is soft, gorgeously fruity with flavours of blackberries and black cherries, some soft tannin and great length. Utterly quaffable and stylish.
La Liberté n’est pas de faire…. Nebbiolo 2010
Vin de Table
This is another of Pierre’s beautifully idiosyncratic wines, which is made from the Nebbiolo grape of the Italian, King of Wines, Barolo. As the grape variety is not allowed in Minervois it is also classified as a Vin de Table, but probably one of the most interesting you’ll ever enjoy! Pale in colour, as the Nebbiolo has thin skins, it has wonderful perfumed nose of damsons and violets. On the palate there are intense flavours of damsons, violets and dark chocolate. Extraordinary and delightful!
La Liberté n’est pas de faire…. Pinot Noir 2010
Vin de Table
Another illegal – and hence Vin de Table – wine, this time made from the Pinot Noir, far from its home in Burgundy. Once again this is pale in colour, due to the thin skins of Pinot Noir. It has a lovely Pinot nose of strawberries and raspberries, while on the palate it echoes the strawberries with some more complex Pinot flavours and good length. Another fascinating wine.
Domaine Cros Minervois Vieilles Vignes 2010
This is made from 100% Carignan vines of 100 years age. The yields are so low that each vine only produces one bottle of wine! This is very deep in colour with an intense nose of black fruits, which leads into a very concentrated mouthful of cherries and damsons, with a balanced structure of ripe tannins and very good length. Lovely now but will age for up to five years. A Rolls Royce wine!