I’ve passed Terroirs in Donnybrook quite a few times, but always seemed to be rushing somewhere and therefore not had the time to stop in. The name itself has peaked my interest and I managed to get a moment to visit this week and have a look around.
I was greeted by Françoise, one of the owners, who asked for something unusual that she could recommend me and she picked out a bottle of Elian Da Ros Ce Vin est un Fête. This wine hit the nail on the head, both in terms of something different from anything I’d tried lately and also just the sort of red I like.
Ce Vin est un Fête translates as ‘this wine is a feast’. It comes from the Côtes du Marmandais, which is an appellation just outside the boundaries of Bordeaux. It is a blend of 40% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot and 40% Abouriou, the last of these grapes only being grown around this area of France and in small amounts in California. It is normally used as a blending grape and has low acid and big tannins.
This is a real hand crafted wine, with the Merlot and Cab Franc fermented in concrete vats and the Abouriou going through carbonic maceration, before being aged in used barrels for 10 months. All grapes are hand picked and meticulously sorted at the winery to make sure only the highest quality is used to make the wine. The wine has a beautiful drinkability about it, which comes from a slow and gentle extraction of the skins. It only has an alcohol content of 12.5%, which is a nice change from the high alcohol that seems to be a trend in recent years and has retained enough acidity to make it fresh and nicely rounded.
Ce Vin est un Fête has a lovely dark inky colour to it. The aromas hit you straight away with black fresh fruit, such as plums and damson layered with a beautiful scent of eucalyptus and violets. The flavours are just as delightful and that fruit from the nose appears in the mouth as well. There’s also a delicious oakiness to the wine that adds another dimension to it. The floral note of violets from the Cabernet Franc also jumps out at you and give a freshness that is reinforced by crunchy acidity. Think of sitting on the bank of a river on a sunny day, surrounded by the gentle perfume of flowers and eating a bag of nice ripe plums – that is this wine.
There are also some tannins here in the wine, but they are smooth and integrated. I actually drank this wine by itself, but if you wanted to match this with something I would recommend some beef cold cuts, a salad with a pomegranate dressing or some meat straight off the charcoal bbq.