I received an invitation from our friend Doug Strickland of Integrity Wines to attend a winemaker dinner at Brasserie Bazati with Mathieu Coste of Domaine Mathieu Coste. I was intrigued by the fact that Domaine Mathieu Coste is located within the sub appellation of the Coteaux du Giennois within the Loire. The name means “slopes of the Gien region.” This appellation on the eastern edge of the Loire Valley northeast of Sancerre produces almost equal amounts of light-bodied red and white wines, with a small portion of dry rosé as well.
Upon arrival, I was greeted by Doug, whose company specializes in Importing Fine natural wines, with a glass of the Manoire Tete De La Rouge, "Tete En L'Air Cremant De Loire. This 100% Chenin Blanc which comes from a Biodynamic vineyard was as balanced as it was elegant, with a fine mousse underlined by a linear acidity and punctuated by flavors of green apple. It was an absolutely delightful way to start off the evening.
We then got into the wines that Mathieu makes, which are both unique for where they're from, as well as for how they are made. He has been using organic methods since 1982 and full Biodynamic practices since 1998 on all of his wines. Mathieu’s philosophy is to nourish the soil and from there have the soil give food to the plants: not directly food to plants like intensive agriculture.
The varieties in the Coteaux du Giennois Appellation today are Gamay, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon, and the production is split roughly between reds and whites, with also some rosé. The soil of the area is of the same nature than Sancerre’s, but the actually-planted surface is much smaller, about 190 hectares of vineyards (compared with 2800 hectares in Sancerre) stretched among 14 villages. Another difference is that the Coteaux-du-Giennois wines are mostly sold inside France
We started off with the Les Tetes De Chats Coteaux De Giennois 2014, a Pinot Noir, Gamay blend that is fairly expressive on the nose with aromas of mushroom and earth. On the palate the wine had flavors of black pepper and plum balanced with a good acidity that went very well with the wild mushrooms paired with it. The finish was of black fruit and spice that was medium in length. We then moved on by comparison to the Les Tetes De Chats Coteaux De Giennois 2010, a more elegant version of the 2014 with a bit more stewed fruit on the nose, and more plum than pepper on the palate in a style reminiscent of a Touring Nacional from Portugal.
As we moved to the principal dish of the night, the Cassoulet of Flgeolet which was comprised of pork shank, garlic sausage and duck confit, some of the older wines of the Domaine were poured. We had the Biau, Coteaux Du Giennois 2010, a beautiful red blend of Gamay and Pinot Noir that had an aromatic berry filled nose that was framed in earth. On the palate I was greeted with flavors of piquant Cranberry and other redfruit that finished slightly tart, perfect for the flavors of pork and duck that this dish was showing. This was followed by the Biau, Coteaux Du Giennois 2008, another blend of the same varietals, this time with more Gamay than Pinot Noir. With the extra few years of bottle aging, this wine was much more expressive on the palate, with well evolved flavors of black fruit and stewed tomato that finished long with flavors of aged plum - a great pairing with this hearty dish, to me the most memorable in a night with many of them!
For the Fromage course, we tried two other wines, both of which were delightful contrasts in style and flavor profiles. The first was the MC2 Coteaux Du Giennois 2015, a big style of wine with a nose of Cranberry and vanilla a palate ridden with diffuse flavors of tobacco and plum. The finish was long and lingering. The next wine was even more of a show stopper, the MC2 Coteaux Du Giennois 2012. This wine showcases greater amounts of the same qualities in the 2015, but with more intensity and with the additional aromas of cola berry and flint - Unctious is the only way to properly describe it!
Pricing on the wines we are bringing in per our impressions at the dinner are as follows:
Mathieu Coste MC2 2012 = $32.99 / $29.69 full case discount
Mathieu Coste Biau 2008 = $28.99 / $26.09 full case discount
Mathieu Coste Tetes de Chats 2008 = $27.99 / $25.19 full case discount
These wines are perfect for the upcoming holidays as they will complement many diverse foods styles and particular palates. They extremely limited and our distributor has only small amounts available. Please make sure to place your orders now to insure that you have some on hand for the upcoming Holiday season!