Editor’s note: Mas Coutelou is one of the first French organic winemakers and is headed by Jeff Coutlou, a man whose love and passion for wine is evident in his work. Here’s one specialist’s take on the winery and why you should know about and become acquainted with it too.
Everyone who works in wine will know about the ‘life changing moments’, that really affirm love for your job and remind us why we do what we do.
One of mine was with Mas Coutelou – the wine was so different to anything I’d had before and so delicious, I remember just feeling complete happiness with each sip. Since then these wines have become a regular feature of my drinking life and I was keen to understand the story behind this producer.
HISTORY OF JEFF COUTELOU
Jeff Coutlou, the winemaker at Mas Coutelou, is based in the little village of Puimisson between Béziers and Faugères, an area that has been making wine for the past 200 years. His family has farmed vineyards for hundreds of years, but it was only in 1972 that the family managed to acquire some vineyards of their own, which they could farm the way they wanted. In 1987 they became one of the first producers in the region to go organic. As well as this, Jeff Coutelou is also a leading natural wine producer.
ORGANIC AND NATURAL WINES
He makes wine with as little interference as possible and completely listens to the grapes while he makes the wine, rather than dictating to them a certain style. Making wine with so little intervention gives it a great purity and fruit driven style. His wines still taste amazing and don’t have the taste that some people might associate with, and object to in, natural wines.
Jeff spends the majority of his time out in the vineyards, where he mainly grows Syrah, Grenache, Carignan, Mouvèdre and Cinsault for his red wines and Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat Blanc a Petite Grains and Viognier for his whites, as well as some other local varieties. People who have visited him say his vineyards are beautiful and have a happy air about them with wildlife all around.
He has some core wines in his range, but will change the blend depending on the year and also makes special one off cuvées if a parcel of grapes has turned out differently to other areas. These are usually outstanding and offer unique opportunities to taste something really different.
Every stage of the winemaking is meticulously seen to, with only natural yeasts used and the use of SO2 is limited or non-existent when possible. The bottling is done at the estate, without filtration and by gravity, a true mark of quality.
If you haven’t tried Jeff’s wines, I recommend you do. They show the difference when a bottle of wine is made naturally and with love behind it – pure, fresh interesting wines that are a complete joy to drink.
Anna Von Bertele is a wine specialist at Roberson Wine. She loves writing and discussing up and coming wine trends and is particularly interested in French and New World wines.More Like This: Food, News, Travel