Wine of the week: a sensational red from Minervois

2016 Château Maris This sensationally well-balanced wine not only challenges the greats from Minervois, but from the northern Rhône, too.

2016 Chateau Maris

2016 Chteau Maris, Les Planels, Cru La Livinire, Minervois, Languedoc, France

£17.99, 167 branches of Waitrose, waitrosecellar.com

It is often said that the La Livinire sub-region of Minervois is the finest of all. I certainly detect an energy and vibrancy to these wines that sets them apart. Of course, along with the more expressive fruit characters you often find that these wines are more structured, tannic and longer-lived. I live my wine life by the mantra that "balance is born" and so I expect the finest red wines in the world to have well-integrated tannins from the off, and they should be in perfect equilibrium with the fruit, oak, alcohol and minerality. It is a myth that tannins alone fade as a wine ages every element of the wine ages with these tannins so you rarely find that raucously tannic, young wines ever truly even out.

So let me introduce you to a sensationally well-balanced wine that not only challenges the greats from Minervois, but from the northern Rhne, too, it being made from 90% syrah and 10% grenache. Les Planels is a biodynamically grown, south-facing plot, the grapes are basket-pressed, and after a four-week maceration the must is fermented in wooden vats and then matured in 15% new oak for 12 months. This wine shows spectacular equilibrium in spite of its youth and you can drink it now or forget about it for five years! The epic clay, limestone and sandstone soils underpin an utterly thrilling pepper and blackberry-soaked palate. It is one of my wines of the year.

Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition's Communicator of the Year (matthewjukes.com)

Recommended

The top festive tipples
Wine

The top festive tipples

MoneyWeek wine columnist Matthew Jukes rounds up the best wines for your Christmas meals.
13 Dec 2019
Wine of the week: an out-of-body experience
Wine

Wine of the week: an out-of-body experience

This is one of the most grown-up and exacting Spanish white wines I have tasted in years, says Matthew Jukes.
25 Sep 2020
Wine of the week: an unnervingly serious Bojo
Wine

Wine of the week: an unnervingly serious Bojo

This stunning Beaujolais combines a cherry fruitiness with a stern backbone of minerality and rigidity.
22 Sep 2020
Wine of the week: load up on this stellar Beaujolais
Wine

Wine of the week: load up on this stellar Beaujolais

With wild, red-berry fruit and a dusting of earthiness and gaminess, this is one of the most thirst-quenching and yet classy wines I have tasted this …
11 Sep 2020

Most Popular

How the stamp duty holiday is pushing up house prices
Stamp duty

How the stamp duty holiday is pushing up house prices

Stamp duty is an awful tax and should be replaced by something better. But its temporary removal is driving up house prices, says Merryn Somerset Webb…
25 Sep 2020
The electric-car bubble could get an awful lot bigger from here
Renewables

The electric-car bubble could get an awful lot bigger from here

The switch to electric cars is driving a huge investment bubble. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, says John Stepek. Fortunes will be made and l…
24 Sep 2020
Can Rishi Sunak’s winter plan save the UK economy?
UK Economy

Can Rishi Sunak’s winter plan save the UK economy?

With his Winter Economic Plan, chancellor Rishi Sunak is hoping to support the economy through the dark months ahead as restrictions tighten again. Jo…
25 Sep 2020