…spontaneously fermenting

A tasting note – 2007 Le Mazel Mias

This is not the first time I write about Le Mazel. The Cuvée Raoul (2006) was one of the most interesting wines I have tasted. And I wasn’t the only one who believed this. The wine was introduced to the Norwegian market with such rave reviews that the importers could not keep up with the demand.

The Mias vin de table  is a sparkling (pétillant) wine which never made into the Norwegian market, but lucky for me my friends payed a visit to Le Mazel this summer while celebrating their honeymoon and bought back with them a few bottles. Spontaneously fermented viognier grapes, most likely bottled before fermentation was complete and without additives, this funky-labeled wine was worth a quick write-up

Date tasted: Monday, September 3rd, 2012

Appearance:  A light and cloudy wine with tiny bubbles.

Nose:  smoke, yellow apples and volatile aromas highlight this wine. Hints of lemon and other yellow fruits. Green grapes. Minerality. Overripe (fermenting) pears. Pear cider.

Palate:  a very slight sparkle. Impression of sugar but not sweet. Refreshing ripe acidity. Yellow apples, pears and almond paste. Volatility give this wine a sweet, slightly balsamic aftertaste (without the sourness). Yummy! Like a grape cider – which of course is all this really is. Yeasty notes. Very Slightly oxidized, but a healthy oxidation, like a pear that falls to the ground.  14% alcohol (also probably contributing to the impression of sweetness)

Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Ardeche, France, natural wine (100% living wine), Southern Rhône


A tasting note: 2006 Le Mazel Cuvée Raoul

Ok, you can’t make a wine without the addition of sulfite’s right? I hear this over and over again.  If this comment came from your average everyday wine drinker, then okay, at least this person would probably be open to my opinion on this, and would very likely listen with interest. Unfortunately, this comment most often comes from “knowledgeable” wine persons. Wine persons who the minute you say that you can make wine without the addition of sulfur, get in your face and say that it “is impossible!”.  At this point they’re smirking and looking the other way and don’t even want to humor the discussion

The second comment I hear often is, wines made without the addition of sulfur cannot be stored and must be drunk up right away. Hmmmm. These two reasons are exactly why I have my blog. So that I can express myself about things I not only believe in, but have some experience with.  My more than 7 years experience working and selling wine.  My more than 4 years experience working and selling wines made without the addition of sulfur. Actually, without the addition of anything. Like I always say, nothing added, nothing taken.  So there…

The Cuvée Raoul is a wine I have tasted many many many times. In fact, about two years ago when i first started to sell this wine at Jacob’s, we sold lots of it.  And I mean lots of it.  100’s of bottles. Why?  Because it was good and we liked it.  In fact, our guests liked it and these are the reasons  we could not keep the wine on the shelves…

Cuvée Raoul is one of the most consistent and stable “natural” wine’s I have sold (Bressan being another). There was hardly any bottle variation and once opened, stayed drinkable (in fact improved) for up 18 days.   I once had a bottle opened for 21 days before I noticed any fade in the fruit. Of course I must disclose that the 21 days was deliberate. We drank a few glasses, put the cork back in and placed it in the wine cooler…..and waited..

Gérald & Jocelyne Oustric’s Domaine Le Mazel is located just south of Ardeche in the Southern Rhône (in France, of course).  They have been making wine without the addition of sulfur since 1998. This might explain why their Cuvée Raoul was so stable, so alive.  They don’t add anything to their grapes after hand-harvesting the grapes. No yeast. No enzymes. No acid. No sugar. Nada

The 2006 Cuvée Raoul is made up of about 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah grapes from soil dominated by calcarious clay (vineyards are in Valvigneres). Spontaneously fermented in steel where it stayed on the skins (maceration) for 40-60 days before being pressed and transferred into cement where it matured before being bottled without fining or filtering.

Date tasted:  Saturday May 28th, 2011  17:45

(I will preface this by saying I hadn’t tasted the wine since my birthday over a year ago and wasn’t sure what to expect when i opened the cork)

color: still a perfect medium bluish-red, no real development showing. Medium intense and clean. No visible sediment.

Nose: Very intense and very, very aromatic. Floral – Violets.  Sweet cherries and “amarena” cherries. Hints of farm and cough syrup-like notes. Some gorgeous volatile aromas to help carry those aromas out of the glass and into my nose without being sour or vinegary.  Cherry cough drops. No development noted and no oxidized aromas. Very fresh.

Palate: Fine focused fruit showing no development on the palate either. Very sweet fruit. Very, very slight hints of cured meats (think prosciutto here), which I remember also being there the last time I drank the wine. Medium high acidity with medium, sexy (fruit) tannins that gripped nicely. Very long finish. Alcohol is hardly noticeable at all at 12.5%, only helping give this wine some weight.

We were pleasantly surprised at how well this wine was drinking going on 5 years and the only ingredient besides passion and love was healthy, ripe grapes.  Listen up…. not only was this wine made without the addition of sulfite’s, I was lucky enough to have not drunk it up “right away”.  These two facts brought us a half hour of great pleasure a few days ago..



Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Ardeche, France, natural wine (100% living wine), Southern Rhône


A tasting note: 2004 Mas d'Andrum Andrumette

2009-09-13_1900Mas d’Andrum
Route de Meynes
30129 Redessan
0033- 4 66202335

Date tasted:  September 13th, 17:05 (5:05pm) – 12.5% Alcohol with synthetic cork

The 17 ha Mas d’Andrum estate is located in the Costières de Nîmes AOC, in the South East corner of the Languedoc in France.  The Costières de Nîmes AOC was once considered part of the Languedoc region until 2004 at which time the Costières de Nîmes AOC was attached to the Rhône region since the typicity of the wines was more like the wines of the Rhône.

Mas d’Andrum was established around year 2000 by Stephan and Carolina du Toit of Mont du Toit Wines of the Western Cape in South Africa.  They enlisted the help of the late Bernard Breuer (Weingut Georg Breuer, Rheingau) and Bernd Philippi (Weingut Koehler Ruprecht, Pfalz) to get the project off the ground and it is my understanding that Bernd Philippi still has some involvement.

This is the very first vintage (2004) of the Andrumette and is a blend of Syrah and Grenache in equal shares. The grapes come from vineyards that are up to 50 years old.  The terroir is characterized by big red stones down to a depth of up to 8 meters called “galets”, similar to those found in the Châteauneuf du Pape region. The grapes were harvested at optimum maturity, hand sorted and vinified with the skins  for about 30 days in cement vats where the wine was left for two years.  The wine was bottled in 2006 without filtration. The price is 89 Norwegian Kroner. Keep in mind that taxes alone account for more than half the price of this bottle, so that being considered, this is a rather inexpensive bottle of wine.

2009-09-13_1906Appearance: Clean.  Medium brick red with some browning of the edges in line with it’s  few years of age.  Medium  intensity.

Nose: Clean.  Medium to medium plus intensity.  Mature dark berries with hints of wild cherry.  Mineral and slightly oxidized.  Some rustic animal tones and cocoa emerging.  Very slight hints of olive and spice.   Medium to medium plus complexity.

Palate: Clean. Mature cherries and blackberries. Hints of wild raspberry lift the wine nicely. Medium minus tannins grip on the finish. Hints of spice and oxidation on the back end. Although this wine is quite light, fresh, and easy drinking, it has very good structure with medium complexity and a long, fresh finish.

Decanted and poured back in bottle at 17:20

17:50 (5:50pm)

Nose: Sour cherries really dominating with wild strawberries emerging – they weren’t there before.

Palate: Acidity has kicked up a bit while the tannins have softened..

2009-09-13_1904My overall impression is that this is serious value for the money. In Norway, you have to be very selective when choosing wines that cost less than 100 Norwegian Kroner. You have to be extremely selective at under 90 Norwegian Kroner.  There are very few wines available in Norway at this quality and price level.

Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Costières de Nîmes, France, Southern Rhône




Vinosseur is the company name of sommelier Joseph R. Di Blasi. is his web page where he writes about wine, food, restaurants and other gastronomic experiences.

Joseph has a special place in his heart for quality wines from the old world, especially France & Italy, with a strong focus on Organic, Biodynamic and Natural wines.

Joseph grew up in Italy and California, but left The States in 2002 and now resides in Poland.

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