The Côtes du Marmandais is one of those little known regions in France that rarely makes a splash in the world of wine. In fact, until recently, Marmande was more famous for tomatoes than its typically mediocre wines. But thanks to vigneron Elian da Ros, the reputation of this corner of Southwest France is turning around!
In 1998, Elian da Ros returned to his hometown to takeover his father’s vineyards and start producing wine under his own label. Since the Côtes du Marmandais is just east of Bordeaux, he grows many similar varietals to this neighboring region like Cabernet Franc and Merlot, alongside varietals native to Marmande like Abouriou. Elian is still relatively new to the wine scene, but is already making himself known for extremely well-crafted natural wines.
His focus is on producing wines that are, “twice as good at half the price,” compared to the wines coming out of neighboring Bordeaux – quite a bold mission! We think it’s safe to say he’s accomplished his goal. His dedication to biodynamic farming, independent vinification of all his parcels, and refusal to manipulate the fermentation in any way have produced wines of character that truly express the unique terroir of this corner of France.
2010 Elian da Ros Coucou Blanc – $31.99
Elian first started his training in winemaking by leaving his hometown of Marmande and working for Domaine Zind Humbrecht in the Alsace. It’s easy to see Elian’s Alsatian training and inspiration in this white wine. It’s a blend of mostly Sauvignon Blanc with some Semillon and Sauvignon Gris, the last a grape rarely seen outside of Bordeaux. The wine has bright floral aromas of apricot, lemon zest, and white flowers. The texture is extremely elegant and mouth-coatingly delicious with flavors of Asian pear, stone fruit, tart acidity, and a long minerally finish. It’s great with anything from seared prawns to saffron risotto!
2011 Elian da Ros ‘Ce vin est une fête’ – $16.99
Elian’s motto is that in Marmande, “Le Vin est une fête!” (Wine is a party!”). So it’s no surprise that he’s called this wine “Ce vin est une fête!” (“This wine is a party!”) It’s a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Abouriou that is fermented in concrete and aged in neutral oak for 12 months. As the name suggests, it’s light, fresh, fruity and bright; full of tart red fruit flavors as well as a solid backbone of herbal minerality and tannins. This red is tasty and versatile with a variety of dishes, even some summer grilling.
2011 Elian da Ros Abouriou – $19.99
Abouriou is a grape native to the Marmande and this is the first bottling we’ve seen where it’s the star grape. It’s generally used in blends and gives wines a bit a of a spicy and herbal grip. Blended with just 10% Merlot, this Abouriou is fermented with semi-carbonic-maceration – a technique that brings out more of the bright fruit qualities of the grapes while preserving the unique characteristics of the terroir and soils. The resulting wine is both bright with tart blackberry aromas, and full of herbal flavors. If you like Cahors Malbec or a dark earthy Cab Franc this wine will be right up your alley!
Upcoming Tastings at 18 Reasons:
18th Hour Cafe – Every Thursday, 6-10PM, Drop-In
Sour Beer Class with Master Cicerone Rich Higgins – Tuesday, June 25th, 7-9PM, Ticketed