If you’re at a wine tasting with a theme, say for instance a Washington State tasting or a Montalcino tasting, chances are the wine will share a similar theme. Is that fair to say? However, if you go to a portfolio tasting, say MMD or Waitrose, there’s going to be all sort of characters to try. What you notice when you have all these grapes up against each other is that to taste the purity of the fruit, it needs to be seriously good wine. Pretentious, pour moi? Maybe so, but with warmer weather comes cravings for those oak-virgin juicy wines that somehow quench your thirst. Instead of pairing with a hearty stew, they can delicately accompany a succulent lamb salad with pomegranate and fresh herbs. Purity is a hard thing to find, it’s brave to let the fruit speak for itself and once you set the bar that high, what do you do when you get a crap year?
Perhaps I’m not really making any sense, but I’ve recently come across Aubert et Mathieu wines and they have completely blown me away with their fruit-driven wines. They are totally unlike anything I’ve ever had before.
Aubert & Mathieu is a story about two friends making niche wines in the South of France focusing on only the best Terroirs. Aubert & Mathieu share the same desire to innovate while having fun. They respect traditions but giving it things a modern twist, with nature at the very heart of what they do. The grapes are sourced in Languedoc Roussillon, collaborating with passionate winemakers who produce wine in harmony & respect with nature. Wine DNA is: freshness, balance & complexity.
The team is made up of Jean-Charles MATHIEU & Anthony AUBERT. Jean-Charles is the financial manager. He is a graduate with a Master’s degree in finance, and after working for large scale organisations in Paris that allow limited creativity, he decided to throw all of this passion into this joint venture with his best friend Anthony. Anthony fell into the wine world by chance after talking with a passionate winemaker one fine day. Previously, Anthony studied wine-focused business studies before spending several years between New York City and Bangkok working for a wine importer. Frustrated with offering unoriginal & complicated wines and driven by his passion for his native region, he decided to pitch his project to his faithful childhood friend and so Aubert et Mathieu was born.
The boys choose vineyards which allow a slow maturation of grapes to result in a complex profile with a certain freshness. “We identify the best juices but especially those that will bring a special touch “un je ne sais quoi” to our future blend. We source from young, dynamic and ambitious wine growers, but also from the most recognized wineries,” says Aubert.
“Producers we source wines from adopt environmentally and socially responsible practices and making them an integral part of how we do business is our way of ensuring the health of our land, our communities and our industry for generations to come.” After recently catching up with these two chaps, they are thrilled that they are on their way to being fully organic certified by 2021. They’ve thought about everything from their packaging through to supporting local bee-keepers.
So how do they make their wine? Well, the harvest and sorting is done by hand, early in the morning to preserve the freshness of the grapes. For fermentation the key is to allow nature to do the work. “We have minimal manipulation, using preferred indigenous yeasts, and strict temperature control,” says Aubert. “We blend wines to find the complementarity between juices, convinced that this diversity of juice offers the greatest aromatic complexity. Once our blend is created we then taste it after a few weeks to follow its evolution and potential. Often friends join us at this stage, true to our goal of making wine that brings people together! There is no magic recipe for ageing, choices are made according to the wine and its characteristics.”
All sounds relatively straight-forward, oui? So why is fruit-driven wine so outstanding these days? Well… I have searched for a description I’m happy with, and I quite like this:
I think this unspoken accord has come about through the acceptance, wherever ambitious wine is made, that the pursuit of terroir is essential. Why so? Because terroir – a sensorial expression in wine of the personality of place, interpreted by appropriate varieties and sensitive winemaking — is the key to sustainability for high-quality fine wine. Everything else can be imitated or duplicated. Not, though, your place on earth.https://www.decanter.com/wine-news/opinion/jefford-on-monday/purity-in-wine-398703-398703/
It’s not arrogance, it’s not ‘organic for the sake of marketing’. Non, it is that strong, heart-breaking connection to the land that you grazed your knees on as a kid, the soil you dig out of your finger nails, the air that made you strong, it’s terroir, and it’s terrific. If you can’t breathe that in from the wine, then you have failed.
I have tried two of the Aubert et Mathieu wines, I couldn’t even hold myself back to get a photo with them full. They are just so honest, full of the purest fruit, completely unabashed bloody good winemaking. At the moment, only the House of Townend in Hull are importing these wines in the UK, I think they are looking for more importers. My understanding is that it has taken off in the US, I just hope we don’t miss out in this country…
House of Townend are continuing their UK wide delivery service, with all orders still despatched within 24 hours.
Web site is houseoftownend.com and the Aubert et Mathieu wines are all shown on https://www.houseoftownend.com/search?keywords=auber
Aubert & Mathieu, Côtes du Roussillon, Villages Caramany, 2016, 14.5%
Grapes Varieties: Syrah, Carignan & Grenache
Terroir: Gneiss and Granite in the municipality of Caramany. The high temperature amplitudes due to the altitude allow the grapes to ripen slowly.
Winemaking: Harvesting and sorting by hand. Slow vinification of 3 weeks and blends. Aged for 12 months in barrels already used for white wine ageing.
What did I think? Bloody fantastic. You know when it’s so pure that it almost tastes cold? That minty freshness, so silky but with length and oily notes of what is that, maybe sesame seeds too? Truffle? Bizarre, so delicious.
Aubert & Mathieu, Corbières, 2016, 14%
Grape Varieties: 60% Syrah , 30% Grenache, & 10% Old Carignan
Terroir: Clay and limestone. The typical Mediterranean climate allows a perfect maturity of the grapes.
Winemaking: The grapes are harvested at night. Total de-stemming followed by a maceration of 18 days. Carignan is vinified in carbonic maceration. Aged 12 months.
What did I think? Dominated by Syrah, but a puppy of a Syrah, so fresh again. Somehow these black fruits are delicate too, like those blackberries you find on a dewy September morning that come off with the gentlest pinch. Magnificent.
To get in touch with this fabulous pair, they’re on Instagram at @aubertetmathieu Also: C/ 22 rue courtejaire · 11000 · Carcassonne · France T. +33 (0)6 71 81 69 43 · firstname.lastname@example.org · aubertetmathieu.com