In the spring of 2005 a trio of samples in curiously-shaped bottles with an owl on the label appeared on our tasting table.
They were a revelation; a crisp, aromatic white, a gentle lively rose and a juicy red.
They came from something of an unexpected source, a producer called Mourat
located on the edge of a small town in the Vendée called Mareuil-sur-Lay.
The Mourat family are passionate about their wines and it would be fair to say that they alone have been responsible for raising the wines of the Fiefs Vendéens from virtual obscurity. We first stocked their wines in 2004 and, after few years break, are delighted to welcome them back to our range.
|Jeremie & Jean Mourat
My own annual family holiday has frequently taken us to France and my crew have come to expect me to include a couple of vineyard visits. So it was that in 2007 we ventured to the Vendée (via Muscadet and back via Saumur in keeping with the holiday template) and paid a visit to the Mourat family in Mareuil-sur-Lay. I have never before hired a rowing boat from the local hairdresser (he had two to choose from, but one was full of holes) and we had a pleasant hour rowing up and down the River Lay getting sunburn before our appointment.
|Getting too much sun on the river
(with apologies to Ben & Lucy who, 6 years on,
don't look like this anymore and who will lynch me for using this photo).
We hooked up with Jeremie Mourat at their small shop by the bridge over the river who took us on a trip to his vineyards and then onto the winery to meet his father, Jean. Then it was back to Chateau Marie du Fou for a comprehensive tasting.
|In the vineyards with Jeremie Mourat
|Mourat's enchanting shop by the bridge over the River Lay
The wines from Chateau Marie du Fou and the small Clos Saint André vineyard nearby are their flagships, whilst the Collection range is their mainstay. Whilst the more expensive wines were super, it was the purity and freshness of the Collection range that proved to be the irresistible attraction. These are wines of modest alcohol levels and no oak, yet still with plenty of flavour, length and a delicacy of style which is becoming increasingly rare.
and the rose
are both blends of 40% Pinot Noir, 40% Cabernet Franc and 20% Negrette and the white
is 50/50 Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay.
We have debated long and hard about whether we should include these wines in our Loire
section or include them as part of our French Regional
We have, almost certainly incorrectly, opted for the latter, largely on the basis of geography.
A quick look at a map will show you why.
In any case we felt they deserved special treatment rather than being lumped in with other, more famous names, from further north.
All three Mourat Collection wines will be available to taste at our forthcoming tasting in Ipswich
on Thursday 6th
What we love about our new flexible buying regime at Wines of Interest is the opportunities it provides us with to tune into wines like these as we find them rather than having to wait to include them in our annual printed list. We can sniff out new discoveries and take advantage on suppliers' promotions as and when they appear by adding them to our website, where you can buy wine online and either have it delivered to your door, or collect it from our shop. You can buy these wines online now - click here
to start shopping!