Clos du Mont Olivet 'La Sabonite'
A bargain medium bodied Grenache based Vin de France (VdF) made from declassified Châteauneuf and Côtes-du-Rhône grapes, and older wines held in foudre for long periods.
Unique blend of old and new.
The estate of Clos du Mont-Olivet can be traced back to 1547. The current owners, the Sabons, have been installed for many generations as custodians of this prestigious Châteauneuf domaine.
The domaine comprises 25 hectares spread over 30 different plots though the bulk of their Châteauneuf comes from 4 lieux dits: Montalivet, a walled vineyard (hence clos in the title) that surrounds the domaine and gives it its name; Le Pied-de-Baud, a cru with the famous galets roules (large oval stones); Bois Dauphin to the north; and Les Gallimades in the south. The average age of the domaine’s wines is over 60 years old.
The grape pickers sort in the vineyard, using two buckets to ensure any inferior grapes are not included in the best cuvées.
The blend for the Châteauneuf red is 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 6% Mourvèdre and 4% of the other permitted varieties but mainly Cinsault. All 13 permitted varieties are grown and used.
The winemaking here is ultra traditional but with the attention to detail of the younger generation of family now assuming responsibilities.
The grapes are fermented with predominantly whole bunches and natural yeast in concrete vat. They are then aged in large foudres. No new oak is used and the red wines are unfined and unfiltered.
The style of the Clos du Mont-Olivet reds differs from most in the appellation. Based around the Grenache, the wines are very Burgundian in their medium weight and long fine structures but have the fruit intensity and air of Châteauneuf savoury rusticity that drinkers love.
They also make some of the finest Côtes du Rhône in the area, again predominantly from old vines.
If you love a pure expression of Grenache, then Clos du Mont-Olivet IS a must-have producer.