Newsletter Montirius - 2010 July

Yet again, it is time for a new newsletter – Enjoy, and have a great summer!


Christine and Eric Saurel


The adding of SO2 : a useless debate


We are often asked if we add SO2 to our wines and if yes, how much. Many are of the opinion that Biodynamic means wine making without SO2. This is incorrect. Here at Montirius, we think that it would be wrong to not use it. There are two reasons.


Firstly, SO2 is an excellent product for conserving. Certainately, for wines for which a natural acidity is important (e.g. champagne which has a low PH) adding SO2 is over the top; the tartaric acid naturally present protects it from oxidation. However, for wines that have a lesser natural acidity (which is the case of the Montirius wines), they are more sensitive to the air. Also, some choose to add tartaric acid to protect their wines. We refuse to do this, as we consider it changes the nature of the wine. We prefer to add SO2 which does not alter the nature of the wine. It encourages effectively the selection of the ‘good natural’ yeasts (All sorts of natural yeasts are to be found on the skin of the grapes). These yeasts will transform sugar to alcohol. Once the wine is bottled, the systematic adding of SO2 allows the wine to continue to improve.

The second reason is by the time you drink one of our Montirius wines, the SO2 which we added systematically, will have, for the most part, disappeared. In fact, the official laboratory for AOC wines, that helps us with analysis and advice, did some research on a biological domain at Chateauneuf du Pape. The research showed that after only one year bottled, the ‘free’ SO2 (the added SO2, contrary to the combined SO2, the ‘total’ SO2) had dropped by 50%. After 3 years bottled, the free SO2 was ‘NIL’.

We had the Montirius wines analysed by the same laboratory and the results corroborate those of Chateauneuf du Pape :

Red Vacqueyras Montirius Le Clos 2006 :

Bottled in 2008 - Free SO2 on 18/07/08 = 73 mg/l

On the 1/07/10 (start of sale) = 9mg/l (very low)


Red Gigondas Montirius Terre des Ainés 2006 :

Bottled in 2008 – Free SO2 on 08/08/2008 = 69 mg/l

On the 1/07/10 (start of sale) = 6mg/l (very low)


Within the 2 years the free SO2 that we added has almost disappeared. In fact our wines are generally drunk a minimum of 3 years after bottling. At this date it is more than likely that the wine does not contain a trace of free SO2.



Flower abortion on the Grenache... of no consequence for our wines


The flowering happened between the 31st May and the 20th June 2010. All in all it went very well especially for the Syrah and the Mourvedre. There was in effect flower abortion on the Grenache. Flower abortion is a natural phenomenon that happens when, during the flowering period, the weather is either very cold or very wet. The pollination of the vine flower goes badly and the little grapes abort. In our region, the Grenache is particularly sensitive to abortion and this year during the flowering the violent wind and cold got the better of the Grenache pollination.

As luck would have it, the phenomenon of abortion on our domain was limited. It will not have any consequence on our wines in so far as we will have more than enough Grenache to do our blending.



A Staggering "vertical" wine tasting


MonsieurMr Endre Gaarder Holien, a Norwegian wine waiter working for the Norwegian wine import company Eurowine, came to visit us on the 10th July 2010. We proposed an ‘out of the ordinary’ wine tasting of our Vacqueyras wines; a ‘vertical’ wine tasting of white Vacqueyras Montirius ‘Minéral’ 2004 to 2009. For the French edition of this newsletter we did not translate his opinions which were given in English. The following are his general commentaries year by year.


To whom it may concern, tasting notes on Montirius “Mineral”. Sarrians July 10th 2010.


During a visit at the Montirius estate I had the privilege of a vertical tasting of their white wine “Mineral”, vintage 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005 and 2004. At first the wine appears as a fresh, crisp and well made white wine with good minerals, a.k. as a very nice wine, but hardly as unique. However, as the wines matures they develop some most extraordinary qualities that one would never expect from this wine growing part of France.


Vintage 2009 and 2008 appears as clean, crisp wines with clean citrus notes, some white flower and yellow fruit, with a sting of mineral and long finish. Young and delicate wines.


From vintage 2007 the wine changes character and reveal it self as something very different. Unique in a good way. The wine appear clean and with subtle fruit, but as it has begun to develop, it shows a greater dept and specter of lemon, some grape fruit and mature yellow apples. The minerals are more prone and the finish is very tight and long. In lack of a better comparison I could be tempted to say it remind of a two-three years very well made, non-oaked cru Chablis.


Vintage 2006 took me by storm, a marvelous wine where the secondary aromas defiantly are prone and the wine show extraordinary complexity, a rich yet subtle and straight forward elegant wine. It remind me of some very expensive central burgundy wines. Mature citrus, high and diverse in minerality, some nutty characters and fatness.


Vintage 2005 is more golden in colour. The nose is clean but very rich with mature citrus, some apple, zest and a sting of herbs together with lots of minerals. On the palate the wine is very rich with orange, subtle fruit, some white flowers, reglis and some very nice minerals which is completely direct and follow the long finish.


Vintage 2004 has come a long way and the wine is very mature to be only six years old. However it`s in a good way and I believethere`s still plenty acidity/fruit to let it age for further six years. The wine is slightly oxidysed in a way that remind me of Jura and gives some sherry notes. The oxydasation does not fell wrong, but rather makes the wine become more interesting. This wine has a very soft and rich palate where nectar, mature orange and marzipan is dominating before you are struck by the intense minerals and wonderful acidity. A very long finish makes it complete.


All the vintages appears as very well balanced with both alcohol, fruit and acidity. At some stages the wines also give some wonderful bitterness which helps to make the aroma specter complete.


As I have not had the chance to follow the wines over several years, I have to trust in Christine and Eric as they say that the actual difference in the vintages are not so great, however the great wines come with it`s natural evolution. The wines are most defiantly great wines for your average wine lover, however I suggest to leave the bottles for some years and drink with true connuseurs. Endre Gaarder Holien Sommelier, Eurowine, Norway.



Our white Vacqueyras wine : a rare wine appreciated amongst the finest in France !


In principle, the white Vacqueyras wines have a fairly short life because we are in a hot region where natural acidity is not very present. It is worth knowing that the factor for laying down and keeping wine is the tannins or the freshness (the natural acidity of the wine). In the white wines, there are no tannins unless oak barrels are used to bring tannins in the wood. We do not use barrels to make our white wines. Analytically the natural acidity of our wines is identical to that of the wines of the region – relatively low. Nonetheless in the opinion of the professionals, our white Vacqueyras wines maintain an exceptional freshness that is in constant progression while maturing in bottles. They are amongst the great white wines of France. It is for this reason they are of enormous interest to the top star restaurants and amateurs of great white wines. It is rare to find this type of wine in the southern Rhone valley.


Chant The song of the cicada and the harvest date for 2010


In 2009, the day the cicadas started to sing for the first time in the parcel of the ‘Clos en Vacqueyras’ remains a good indicator of when the harvest will begin at Montirius. For the year 2010, the cicada began to sing on the 25th June. Start of the harvest on the 16th September?




 Song of cicada Beginning of harvest
200421/06/2004 08/09/2004 2 months and 18 days
200517/06/200507/09/20052 months and 21 days
200613/06/200605/09/20062 months and 23 days
200711/06/200703/09/20072 months and 23 days
200824/06/200815/09/20082 months and 22 days
200915/06/2009 07/09/2009 2 months and 21 days
201025/06/2010 ??



In Brief

"Discovery workshop"

The discovery workshop that we propose presents as follows: A visit to the cellar and a detailed wine tasting presented by Christine Saurel. After your welcome to the cellar, Christine will speak about Biodynamic culture and then bring you on a visit of the cellar. She will present the philosophy of the vine and wine which both she and her husband developed and put into daily practice. After the visit, you will taste the blends of each of our range of wines, comparing the ‘terroirs’ or soils, the varieties and the classifications: Cotes du Rhone, Vacqueyras, Gigondas. All of the aforementioned are certified Ecocert and Biodyvin i.e. grapes grown by biological and biodynamic culture. The quality and excellence of this type of agriculture is recognised as being of the highest standard both nationally and internationally. Note that if we receive you around the first fortnight of October, you can taste the grapes, see the wine being ‘created’ in the vats and follow the various stages of fermentation in the cellar. You may also take part in the real time birth of a Montirius wine; an extraordinarily short-lived time during which the balance of tannins and alcohol is achieved. To participate in this learning/discovery workshop, you should count on approximately 2 hours in time and 25 euros (incl. tax) per person. (Reservations only).


Our wines won many medals since the beginning of 2010 :

14th competition of Biological wines

Of the 330 wines presented – 97 got medals – 3 medals for Montirius.

Gold medal for our Cotes du Rhone ‘Sérine’ 2008

Silver medal for our white Vacqueyras ‘Minéral’ 2007.

Bronze medal for our red Cotes du Rhone Montirius ‘Jardin Secret’ 2007.

56th competition of Great French Wines 2010

Silver medal for our red Gigondas Montirius ‘Confidentiel’ 2009.

Prizes of the 28th ‘Vinalies’ 2010 organised by the Union of Oenologues in France.

Vinalies Prize 2010 for our white Vacqueyras Montirius ‘Minéral’ 2007.


Decanter World Award 2010

Our red Gigondas Montirius ‘Confidentiel’ 2007

Red Vacqueyras Montirius ‘Le Clos’ 2007

PFor more information Check our web site Heading ‘Récompenses’.


Our red Vacqueyras Montirius ‘Le Clos’ chosen for the 4 official dinners of the Avignon ‘IN’ festival.

The dinners were held on the 9th 10th and 11th July 2010 in the ‘Cours d’Honneur’ of the ‘Maison des Vins’, 6 rue des Trois Faucons, Avignon (Vaucluse).
More info


Summer opening hours

This summer, we invite you to come and discover our range of Montirius white, rosé and red wines, from Monday to Friday 9.00-12.00 and 14.00-18.00. On Saturday mornings by appointment. If you wish to make an appointment, please call us on 33 (0)4 90 65 38 28, or contact us by mail. We would welcome you with pleasure.


The wine waiters of the island of Mauritius and our red Gigondas Montirius "Terre des Ainés" 2007

Inter–Rhône the group representing wine growers and traders for the Côtes du Rhône wines, chose Montirius to promote one of our wines amongst the wine waiters of the island of Mauritius during the month of August 2010. This move was requested in order to train 35 wine waiters from the hotel groups on the island. They will participate in the ‘Best Wine Waiter’ competition and of course propose a promotion of the Côtes du Rhône wines during a prestigious dinner with clients. We are delighted to have been chosen for the ‘Gigondas’ classification and it is our red Gigondas Montirius ‘Terre des Aînés’ 2007 which will be the driving force in promoting the Montirius image...destination the island of Mauritius!


Idea for a pre-dinner aperitif


To accompany one of our white Vacqueyras Montirius wines why not try tasting cheeses such as Cheddar, or Comté, Goats cheese perfumed with savoury or fig, or a Parmesan. Finally, to enchant your taste buds, we strongly advise the cheese shop creation of Mme Claudine Vigier, elected ‘Best Cheese producer in France 2009’. Le Colonel en Vadrouille. To be ‘discovered’ in Carpentras, Place de la Mairie.

Tél : 04 90 60 00 17.

As always ...

Discover a presentation of our domain on our website "domain on video", under the heading ‘Chosen moments’.


Any comments or suggestions are welcome for our future Newsletters!

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