In 2001, Englishman Graham Nutter fulfilled a lifelong ambition by acquiring Château Saint Jacques d'Albas, in the Minervois region of the Languedoc, near the medieval city of Carcassonne. Investing heavily in the property and especially in the soil, using selected sprays and natural organic material to restore minerals and nutrients plus rearranging the vine trellising for better canopy management, he built up a wine business that previously had been selling most of its grapes to the local 'cave cooperative'. With an organic approach to viticulture and limiting yields, they continue to use the Cousinié protocol, a natural vine growing method, to increase the health of the vines. There are four red grape varieties planted over 21 hectares - Syrah, Grenache, Carignan and Mourvèdre, while five hectares of Viognier,Vermentino, Marsanne and Roussanne comprise the white varietals. They make three different ranges of wine - Le Domaine , Le Chateau and the top-of-the-range La Chapelle, which is named after the 11th century chapel located at the property.
La Chapelle en Rose AOC Minervois 2017, made from 85% Grenache and 15% Mourvèdre, is a crisp, dry, pale salmon pink rosé, perfect for summer. The nose is aromatic and herbal with a delightful strawberry freshness and the palate has a delicate savoury quality that complements the red fruit, herbs and touch of spice. A long finish just adds to the elegance of this delicious rosé, which at only 12.5% ABV punches well above its weight for depth of flavour.
Minervois wines may not have had the best reputation in the past. However, now with low yields and better attention to viticulture, often organic or biodynamic, this is certainly a region to look out for and Château Saint Jacques d'Albas is undoubtedly one of the most impressive producers, making wines with a definite wow factor!