I first heard about the talents of Jean Francois Coutelou some 5 years ago but have, up until now, not been able to bring his brilliant wines to Australia.
He produces some of the finest quality and best value wines in the Languedoc and has lots of interest in his modest production which is no wonder as he makes wines full of brightness, freshness and vitality in a region where the vast majority of it's wines are prone to flatness and dulness
The domaine was established by his father in 1972 and has been run organically since 1987, "before this type of production became fashionable” says Jean Francois.
Mas Coutelou is located in Puimisson, a commune in the Hérault department of the Languedoc and to the east of Béziers. It's been a winemaking village for over 200 years and most of it's soils are a mix of red clays and limestone.
Today Jean Francois farms 14 hectares of vines, as well as a few hundred olive trees. His father planted the first vines back in 1966 and was one of the pioneers of organic viticulture in the Hérault, when there were just seven organic wine growers in the entire department, today the estate is registered with 'Nature et Progrès'.
The vines at Mas Coutelou are beautifully taken care of and all by hand. The estate is planted to Syrah, Grenache, Carignan, Mourvèdre & Cinsaut for red wines and Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat Blanc a Petite Grains & Viognier for the whites. He has recently planted some Grenache Gris, Macabeu, and grafted some Clairette musqué and Carignan blanc.
The vinification is meticulous and adapted every season; short or long maceration, carbonic maceration, punching down or pumping all depends on the vintage and variety. Selected yeasts have never been used and the use of SO2 is limited, or non-existent in some years when it is possible.The bottling is done at the estate, without filtration and by gravity, a final but very important mark of quality.
I adore these wines because they show the benefits of working naturally (terroir, freshness,vitality) and taste extraordinarily delicious. To avoid disappointment, please be quick to get these wines as at their modest prices they will go fast!