2017 Mas Champart Blanc, Saint-Chinian AOC, France
Wine of the Week with Annette Tomei
Mas Champart Saint-Chinian Blanc is from the largest wine region in France that may be least known to most of us. The Languedoc-Roussillon region is in southern France and is most known for inexpensive, hearty red wines. The Saint-Chinian AOC was founded for red and rosé wines in 1982. White wines were added in 2004. Saint-Chinian white wines must be made from Marsanne, Roussanne, and Grenache Blanc – a classic southern Rhône white blend.
The 2017 vintage of Mas Champart Blanc is a blend of 25% Marsanne, 25% Roussanne, 20% Grenache Blanc, 15% Bourboulenc, 10% Clairette, and 5% Viognier. This blend combines the traditional grapes of white Chateauneuf du Pape and the Cotes du Rhone. This style of blend does not have a “typical” flavor profile. It is more likely to reflect the terroir of the fruit as well as choices made by the winemakers and growers.
Owners Isabelle and Matthieu Champart collaborate on the creation of their wines. Matthieu works in the vineyards, Isabelle in the cellar. In making Mas Champart Blanc, they achieve the balance of ripeness and freshness by harvesting the different grape varieties at differing levels of ripeness, then fermenting them separately. After fermentation, the wines rest in barrels on their lees for several months before they are blended and subsequently bottled.
About this wine
When I first tasted the Mas Champart Blanc, I was completely unfamiliar with the appellation and had no idea what to expect. I am certain that I did not expect the lush aromas that greeted me from the glass. Layers of fragrant spring flowers and ripe stone fruits were alluring. On the palate, floral and fruity apricots and juicy fresh melon provided a generous round mouthfeel that drew to a clean minerally finish with a faint sea breeze of salinity at the end.
I enjoyed the 2017 Mas Champart Blanc at the start of an early spring dinner with an assortment of cheeses. It was delicious with triple creams and funky blues. There is enough body and complexity to pair this wine with a variety of flavorful foods and preparations. You could go traditional French and serve with rabbit braised in a creamy Dijon mustard sauce. Or – even better – try it with a recent Eat Something Sexy favorite, Aleppo Pepper and Apricot Glazed Chicken Thighs.
I love trying new wines, not knowing what to expect and then being delighted with a new favorite. The 2017 Mas Champart Blanc is a special treat that I recommend considering for your next dinner party with good friends. At just under $30/bottle, it falls outside my weekday wine price range, but certainly worth the splurge. You can find it, and other wines from Mas Champart, through Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant.
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