Wine of the Week: Saint Mont, 2015

Sat amongst the renowned wine regions of France such as Bordeaux, Béarn and Bergerac little gets said of petit Saint Mont, but it really should.

With siliceous earth, clay and sand soils the region bears all the trademarks of its larger and more recognised counterparts, producing Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc red grapes as well as Petit Manseng, Courbu and Clairette Blanche white.

The town of Saint Mont has a population of just 350 people, and yet its surrounding lands have provided the perfect climate and terroir for growing grapes and making wines.

Officially, Saint Mont is part of the intriguing collection of far-flung wine islands grouped under the banner of “South West France.”

Benedictine monks grew vines in the 11th century and the Monastery can still be seen today. A cool, damp spring allows local grape varieties to reach full maturity during a hot, dry late-summer season.

In spite of its winegrowing heritage, Saint Mont as a defined wine appellation was a late bloomer. It was only recognised as a region of superior quality in 1981, and then largely as a result of the merging of three regional wine cooperatives in Plaisance, Aignan and Saint Mont.

This cuvee comes from clay-chalk soils and clay-silt soils, using a rare combination of Gros Manseng, Petit Courbu and Arrufiac grape varieties.

It has a brilliant light yellow pale colour with slight green tints and an intense bouquet with fresh aromas of citrus mineral notes. The palate is fresh and elegant with underlying hints of almonds and a refreshing finish, perfect as an aperitif or with a variety of dishes such as goat’s cheese tart, roast sea bass with lemon risotto or pan-fried scallops.

A case of 6 is £54.00 at M&S or £9.00 per bottle.

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