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Bulletin Detail
Date December 8, 2015 
Title Marvellous Minervois From Château Saint Jacques D’Albas! 
Bulletin Untitled Page

Dear Arthur’s Cellar Wine Club Member:
Graham Nutter in his fine cellar
Our old friend Graham Nutter has declared that his prices must rise! While I will admit that his are among the lowest of our quality producers and his vines are getting older and producing better and better fruit, I hate price inflation. So, I held my breathe till my face turned purple and implored Graham to let us have just one more crack at his treasures before he commits the dastardly pecuniary deed. He graciously acquiested. Pushing my luck a bit further, I asked that, since he was in such a giving frame of mind, was there anything lurking in the far reaches of his cellar that we might also access at the old prices. No doubt you heard his moans and groans from this side of the Atlantic! But, in appreciation of his ten year association with Arthur’s Cellar Wine Club, he managed to dredge up some fine bottles and magnums for us from days of yore at yesterday’s rates. Thus it is with a great deal of enthusiasm that we make this special offering of the stellar wines from Château Saint-Jacques d’Albas in the Minervois region of the Languedoc.

Château Saint-Jacques d’Albas                                                                       

Marc and Graham with their treasures!
Graham Nutter acquired the gorgeous vineyards tucked away in the rolling countryside near the fairytale town of Carcassonne in 2001. Along with the absolutely invaluable assistance of Marc and Martine Bonnevenc, he set about to produce a truly world class winery from what had been merely a purveyor of grapes to the local co-op. They rejuvenated the original vineyards, purchased several new parcels of land, renovated and enlarged the main, historic stone buildings and created an ultra-modern wine-making facility. A key has been the application of the Cousinié method of soil management, via the addition of organic matter and restoration of mineral balance to give vines the ability to better resist semi-arid conditions and strengthen natural defences against disease. Weeding is mechanical, not chemical, and the harvest is de-stemmed 100%. Within a few short years it became evident that their ambitions were being realized. The wine press including Jancis Robinson heralded their wines and they began taking home gold medals from the most prestigious wine competitions. Better yet, their lively, generous, food-friendly charmers passed muster with our ever discriminating wine club Members.

Marc, Martine, Graham et moi
The Languedoc-Roussillon is the largest wine-growing area in the world (a third again more productive than all of Australia). The appellation has a well- deserved reputation for “vin ordinaire” but it also contains oases of high quality wines that are exceptional values. The Minervois is an appellation in the north-western section of the Languedoc and a source of particularly excellent red wines, a fact often proclaimed by contributors to the ‘Wine Spectator’ and ‘Decanter’ magazines. Attention to soil quality, low yields, hand-harvesting and temperature-controlled fermentation can produce wines that are truly exceptional – just like those at Château Saint-Jacques d’Albas.

The Wines

Because they are so good, we are bringing back the 2014 Le Petit Saint-Jacques Rosé and Blanc, the 2013 Clos de Garric, the 2012 Le Château (pay particular attention to this one!) and the 2010 premium La Chapelle. We are also offering the terrific 2013 Le Domaine along with two mixed case samplers to make it easier than ever for you to try all of Graham’s elixirs – Le Petit Saint-Jacques Sampler and Graham’s Luxe Minervois Red Sampler. Now then, from the bowels of Graham’s cave we are presenting his top-of-the-line 2004 La Chapelle in regular bottles as well as  a very special magnum three-pack that includes the 2007 Le Château along with the 2004 and 2005 La Chapelle.

We will be bringing your orders to the LCBO on Friday, December 18th.

2014 Le Petit Saint-Jacques Rosé – 13.0% Alc./Vol.                                  $16/$96 case of 6
This is an elegantly fruity and refreshing rosé made from 50% Syrah, 25% Grenache and 25% Mourvèdre. Yields were kept under 35 hl/ha. The grapes were all hand-picked and 100% destemmed. A beautiful salmon hue, this crisp, dry, surprisingly complex wine. It is showing more fruit and is a tad less acidic than the last time we offered it. Rosé is not just a summer sipper (although that is indeed a stellar time to drink it). It is a delightful companion for Asian cuisine, baked ham and salmon. This is a terroir-driven, genuine Rosé, not some concocted blush for mass distribution. Don’t let the screw top put you off – it helps you get to the inner goodness that much quicker! Order now and beat the rush for next summer!

2014 Le Petit Saint-Jacques Blanc – 12.5% Alc./Vol.                      $18/$108 case of 6
This is the sixth year that Ch. St-Jacques d’Albas has offered this wine and what a pleasure it is!! Made from 50% Vermentino (Rolle), 40% Viognier and 10% Roussanne, it is wonderfully complex and aromatic for a well-priced wine. Yields were kept under 35 hl/ha. The grapes were all hand-picked and 100% destemmed. Straw yellow, it exhibits aromas of peaches, wet pebbles and white flowers and finishes with a crisp, dry tang – perfect for shellfish or simply slurping whilst making supper. Order this white wine gem now.

2013 Clos de Garric Rouge – 13.5% Alc./Vol.                                  $17/$102 case of 6
This over-achieving little beauty is made from equal parts Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre. Basically, this wine is made from younger vines with all of the care and attention that goes into the more senior St-Jacques reds (no oak). Yields are about 35 ha/hl, with mechanical harvesting and 100% destemming. This is a very easy drinking red with good structure and balance. It has aromas of red and black berries, black currants, Provençal spices and a trace of mocha that carry through in the mouth. Of moderate length, it is a lot of wine for the money. It would be ideal with pizza, pasta dishes and roast chicken. Order this lovely, lively lip-smacker now.

Le Petit Saint-Jacques Sampler – 12.5 - 13.5% Alc./Vol.                $17/$102 case of 6
ImprimerTwo bottles each of the 2014 Le Petit Saint-Jacques Rosé and Blanc along with two bottles of the 2013 Clos de Garric - all for only $102. This is a vinous no-brainer if ever there was one!! Order your six-pack of pure fun now.

2013 Le Domaine – 14.0% Alc./Vol.                                                 $19/$114 case of 6
ImprimerThis has become THE favourite wine of a good number of our Members. This edition of Le Domaine AOC Minervois rouge from a very good vintage is made from 60% Syrah, 20% Grenache and 20% Mourvèdre and is as yummy as ever (maybe even more so). The yields were kept to 35 hectolitres/hectare. The grapes were all hand-picked and 100% destemmed. The wine has been traditionally fermented and the Syrah aged in oak barrels for more than six months. This beauty offers up a rich and complex bouquet of red fruits, savoury spices, wet pebbles and new leather. It is smooth and generous on the palate, underpinned by soft tannins. As a comparison, it has more fruit and more tannins than its 2012 counterpart.

Here’s what Johnny Goedhuis, a prominent London wine merchant wrote about it: “Dense, dark opaque colour. Full of ripe unctuous black fruits on the nose. In the mouth this balances succulence with easy depth, hints of spice and flavoursome wild bramble fruits. A lovely pleasurable wine.”

It will go wonderfully with grilled or roasted meats and spicy dishes. This is a very expressive, well balanced wine that is drinking well now and will keep quite happily for several years. Order your supply of our Members’ favourite now – excellent value.

2012 Le Château – 14.0% Alc./Vol.                                                  $24/$144 case of 6
This terrific wine is made from 60% Syrah and 40% Grenache that rested for 12 months in oak. Yields were kept under 35 hl/ha. The grapes were all hand-picked and 100% destemmed. It is a clear medium ruby with purple glints and offers up rich aromas of raspberries, strawberries, cherry jam, black currants, tobacco, spices and vanilla. In the mouth, it is elegant, generous and very well balanced. It too is medium-bodied with lovely soft tannins and a lingering aftertaste. It won a Gold Medal at the International Wine Challenge 2015. The tasting panel’s comments were, “luscious blackberry and vanilla aromas, leading into a superbly smooth and elegant palate. Very classy.”

Here’s what a couple of English sources had to say about this marvellous wine (sorry for the over-kill, but it really is marvellous stuff):
Graham’s modern barrel chais
 “Check out the syrah nose!” said Robin from Swig (the merchant) when he sent me this, but it’s not just inky, granitic, peppery syrah, there’s grenache and carignan in there too. I’m mad about this Minervois and not just because it’s made by an Englishman called Graham Nutter. The more time you spend with it, the more there is to notice and enjoy – reminiscent of wafts of garrigue and the rising petrichor that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather). Get out the rillettes and the patés and the saucisson sec. Griddle a rib-eye”. Drink deep. Victoria Moore – The Telegraph

“Deep and intense nose, with spiced fruits, black pepper, olive tapenade, wood spice and whispers of garrigue. The palate is extraordinary, with dark berry and stone fruits lifted by bright cherries, soft, polished tannins and a fantastic stony, mineral, undercurrent that runs all the way through. Blind, you may think it was top Chateauneuf-du-Pape, though it's darker; more structured. Seriously good.” SWIG (on-line distributor in London) last month

Order your magnificent Minervois now.   

2010 La Chapelle – 14.5% Alc./Vol.                                                  $39/$234 case of 6
This is definitely the king of Château Saint Jacques d’Albas wines. Made from 98% old vines Syrah (aged in oak casks for 12 to 18 months!) and 2% old vines Carignan, it is reminiscent of both a fine Côte Rôtie and a smashing Aussie Shiraz. Yields were under 35 hl/ha, the grapes hand-picked and 100% destemmed. An inky dark red colour, black currents dominate the nose with hints of red berries, new leather, pepper, mocha, tobacco, vanilla and just a hint of mint. It is a real mouthful of pleasure, well-balanced, long and satisfying. Best kept for at least a couple of years before slurping contentedly. Only 3,500 bottles made. Rated 91/100 by Gilbert et Gaillard. Order your case of hedonistic delights now.

Graham’s Luxe Red Sampler – 14 - 14.5% Alc./Vol.                        $25/$150 case of 6
A great way to try Graham’s senior reds – one bottle of the 2012 Le Domaine, two each of the 2011 and 2012 Le Château and a glorious bottle of the 2010 La Chapelle. Order your little collection of superb Minervois reds now.

2004 La Chapelle – 13.5% Alc./Vol.                                                  $39/$234 case of 6
This is a classic Minervois heavyweight, comprised of 96% Syrah (barrel-aged for 18 months) and 4% Grenache. Made from old vines, it is drinking beautifully now and will keep for many years. Jancis Robinson included the "La Chapelle" in her list of '50 Great Value Reds' in the Financial Times at the end of 2007. It will amaze and delight the most discerning collector. Gold Medal; Concours Mondial de Bruxelles 2007. This glorious wine remains remarkably fresh and is ready to drink. (Note: this wine was $42 the bottle when we offered it in 2008). Order some now.

Minervois Magnum Sampler – 13.9 - 14.5% Alc./Vol.                    $69/$207 case of 3
You get a magnum each of the 2004 and 2005 La Chapelle along with a magnum of the 2007 Le Château in this seriously succulent sampler. The 2004 La Chapelle is described above; the magnums too are ready to drink, but will keep nicely for another decade.

The 2005 La Chapelle, made from 98% old vines Syrah (aged in oak casks for 12 to 18 months!) and 2% Grenache, it is reminiscent of both a fine Côte Rôtie and a smashing Aussie Shiraz. An inky dark red colour, black currents dominate the nose with hints of red berries, new leather, pepper and vanilla. It is a real mouthful of pleasure, well-balanced, long and satisfying. My tasting notes show an underscored Superb! This is lovely stuff and I highly recommend it.

And, the 2007 Le Château, from an exceptional vintage is made from 35% Syrah, 55% Grenache and 10% Carignan. The Syrah rested for 12 months in oak. Yields were a miserly 35 hl/ha. This easy drinking, classy, medium-bodied wine is deep ruby with a taste of ripe raspberries, liquorice, Provençal spices, black pepper and a hint of vanilla. It exhibits a fine balance of fruit and lush, velvety tannins. It will pair superbly with roasts, poultry and casseroles. A lot of wine for the buck, it will cellar well for at least five to seven years. Order your triad of big boys now!

The LCBO is the only entity authorized to sell beverage alcohol in Ontario. Arthur Sellers & Company and Arthur’s Cellar Wine Club do not sell or markup beverage alcohol, but rather, arrange for customers to purchase it from the LCBO. Our prices indicated above and on our website include the LCBO sale price plus a fee to cover the cost of sourcing, handling and marketing the wine. The LCBO’s sale prices are available on request.

Please pass this note on to anyone you think might be interested in some great wines from the Minervois at very special prices.

Many thanks and cheers,

Jim, Hélène and Kate  |   |