Syrah, Grenache and Cinsault play well together in this textured red blend. I fell for the wine before I learned the interesting story behind Mas Conscience and the appellation within Languedoc that is home to the vineyards. Add to that organic and biodynamic viticultural practices and this wine ticks all the boxes.
Since 2014 Nathalie and Eric Ajorque have continued the organic and biodynamic viticultural principles first started by Laurent Vidal in 2003 on the 25-acre Mas Conscience estate located just east of Montpeyroux. Ten grape varieties are planted on hillsides and old riverbeds. Soils are silty and loamy and include pebbles, rolled rock, quartz and limestone.
Warm days during the growing season are balanced by cool nights and substantial wind, which reduces disease pressure from moisture and makes the region perfect for organic and biodynamic vineyard practices.
The name of the estate, Mas Conscience, comes from the legendary practice of monks traveling between Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert and Le Point du Diable (an 11th Century bridge crossing the nearby Herault River) collecting alms. Donations were often given in the form of wine or olive oil that were transported by the monks in clay jars carried by donkeys. Over time the jars became know as conscience.
In 2014 Terrasses du Larzac received AOC status on its own in recognition of quality winemaking in the region. Formerly known as Coteaux du Languedoc Terrasses du Larzac, the 4900-acre appellation located west and north of Montpellier is approved for red wines only. Grenache, Mourvedre, Carignan, Syrah and Cinsault are the only allowed varieties and wines must include at least three of them.
2016 Mas Conscience L’éveil, Terrasses du Larzac AOC — brilliant ruby in the glass with initial hints of earth that give way to red and dark fruit and dried herbs. Generous red and dark fruit blend seamlessly with green olive tapenade, berry bramble and hints of smoke. Tannins are drying and well integrated with the flavors and juicy acidity. The body is medium and the flavors last a very long time. 14.5% abv. $27. We purchased this wine through the Les Marchands Restaurant & Wine Shop wine club.
The longer this wine was opened, the more complex it became. Initial hints of earth yielded to red and dark fruit and an interesting and changing arrangement of fruit, herbs and olive tapenade. Delicious.
L’éveil is comprised of hand picked fruit from the oldest vines at Mas Conscience. Some are more than 50-years-old. The blend includes 45% Syrah, 45% Grenache, 10% Cinsault. Each variety is vinified separately using indigenous yeast fermentation followed by aging for 18 to 24 months in tronconic (short, cone shaped) foudre.
What’s not to love about this wine? We have a second bottle of Mas Conscience in our cellar, a 100% Cinsault, that I can hardly wait to try. Stay tuned.