Let me start by reminding everyone that by the time we sat down with Vivien Roussignol to taste the seductive Carignan laced wines of Les Paissels, we were way past our lunch time. And we hadn’t eaten all day! We had spent most of the morning and a fair chunk of the afternoon in the vineyards. The infectious energy of the crush had made us forget that we were running on fumes. A meager breakfast and an absent lunch was all that was behind our day.

It was well into the evening that we finally got a chance to sit down on the back porch of Vivien’s parents’ home and taste some wines.  Without further ado.

A table on a porch

While Les Paissels does not make a white wine, they make a rosé of Cinsault. Very lucidly called Le Rosé. We tasted the 2017, a vintage we are familiar with. This was merely the 3rd time this winery has made this rosé.

Sourced from 65+ year old vines, this early ripening red grape delivers floral and ripe strawberry notes, plums as well as hints of dried fruit and a bite of white pepper. The wine has low tannins and alluring aromas that make it perfect for making a rosé. Keeping with the approach that these talented duo pursues, no chemical pesticides or fertilizers were used in the vineyards.

Bottle of wine, a rose of Cinsault from Les Paissels in Saint-Chinian.

For many wineries, a wine like Le Banel would be a front line wine. But here, Le Banel is an “introduction” wine. An introduction to the charms of schist driven Carignan.

This is almost equal parts Carignan and Grenache and sourced from 20-60 year old vines. The juice sees no oak and both Cargnan and Grenache are co-fermented in concrete tanks. This is a wine that is meant to be joyful, something you have over a casual meal.

The 2017s are arriving this fall. In the meantime enjoy the 2016s.

Bottle of wine on a table from Les Paissels in Saint-Chinian.

Les Paissels’ Saint-Chinian: Think of this as a GSM with a healthy dose of Carignan. Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre meet old vine Carignan.

While the Banel is your easy going friend who wants you to keep talking to them over some pizza and burgers, the Saint-Chinian is your serious, brainiac buddy. There is substance here far beyond what you thought you paid for college. Sourced from 30 to 60 years old vines, this blend is powerful and balanced.

Everything is handpicked. The bunches are sorted in the vineyard then de-stemed and crushed. Maceration is from three weeks to one month long. Extraction is achieved with punch down or with a light pump over. Grapes from different parcels are vinified separately and blended the following Spring. 30%  of the juice are aged in 300 L barrels and 70% in tank for 8 to 10 months.

The 2017 Saint-Chinian are expected to arrive this fall. In the meantime grab the much acclaimed 2014s.

A hand holding a bottle of wine from Les Paissels in Saint-Chinian

If you are wondering about the names of the wines. 

Païssels are the stakes that supports the goblet trained vines. They are traditionally made with chestnut wood

“Le Banel” is named after an old vineyard parcel. It literally means “with small horns”. In Occitan, the local language, this was a term used to refer to the small herds  of goats that pastured among the vineyards, in the mountains and  the garrigue.

Les Jalouses. This wine is Batman. Gordon might say that this is the wine you need, not the one you deserve! But we say, you deserve this wine. This is a wine born out of a vineyard that spans generations. This one is like that Van Gogh you find in a garage sale and stand on the sidewalk in disbelief. Les Jalouses deserves an entire write up of it’s own. And we will write about it. Stay tuned.

But first, we will tell you about pizza and Suze!

The 2017 Les Jalouses will be heading our way soon. It is expected to retail at $50.00. Email us to reserve your bottles.

Bottles of wine on a table including Les Jalouses from Les Paissels

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